Neck Pain and Getting to the Root of the Problem
Neck pain can be very painful and even debilitating. Your neck is a very important part of the body. It supports the weight of your head and is connected to your spine. That said, it can be very vulnerable to injuries and conditions that can cause pain or restrict motion. There are a few common causes and solutions to neck pain that we will discuss that are simple things to keep in mind that may alleviate your pain. Let’s get to the roof of the problem!
Causes of Neck Pain
You can strain your neck a few different ways. Neck strains may happen from overuse. This can result from poor posture or looking down constantly. Being hunched over a computer or constantly looking at a smartphone can cause the neck to stiffen and strain.
Just as your knees and knuckles can wear down with age, your neck joints can also wear down with age. Osteoarthritis can cause the cartilage between your bones to break down. Your body may form bone spurs here that affect joint motion which can result in pain.
Herniated disks or bone spurs are commonly talked about in the back and spine, but they can also happen in the neck. Herniated disks and bone spurs can press on nerves in your neck that come from your spinal cord. This may also result in pain.
Your neck, just like any other part of your body, is susceptible to injury. Things like roller coasters, contact sports, and automobile accidents can all cause whiplash injuries in certain cases. Whiplash happens when the head is jerked backward and then forward. This strains the tissues of the neck and can cause pain.
Certain diseases can cause neck pain. Diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis, or cancer can cause neck pain.
Preventing Neck Pain
Using good posture is a good way to help alleviate neck pain. Being cognizant of your posture as much as possible can alleviate neck pain because you will be making sure your neck is more properly aligned with the rest of your body. Your shoulders should be in a straight line over your hips and your ears should be over your shoulders. Good posture that focuses on proper neck alignment can help alleviate neck pain.
Take frequent breaks
In many cases, it is not great for the body to be in the same position for long periods of time. Taking frequent breaks from activities that keep your neck in the same position can help give your body a break from certain positions and alleviate neck pain. Specifically for long travels, or long periods of time working at a desk, it can be helpful to get up, move around, and stretch.
Look at your setup
It may be important to evaluate your setup. If you sit at a desk, check and make sure your monitor is at eye level. Your knees should be lower than your hops. Make sure your armrests are in the right position. For long trips, make sure your seat in the car is adjusted properly with the right height of the headrest and ensure you are the distance from the steering wheel when applicable.
Be aware of phone use
Our phones can provide many opportunities, but they can also put our necks in bad positions. From balancing your phone between your shoulder and your face and craning your neck in weird ways to text or type on the phone, you are not often in good posture when using phones. If possible, use a headset or speakerphone. Avoid balancing the phone between your shoulder and ear. Be conscious of your neck positions when texting or scrolling through the internet.
Avoid heavy bags
Avoid heavy one-shouldered bags. These can drag down your shoulder and put your neck in a weird position. When possible, use a backpack with two straps. Bags with one shoulder that are too heavy can cause neck strain.
Check your sleep position
When sleeping, your head and neck should be aligned with the rest of your body. Try not to sleep with too many pillows or with your head propped up at a weird angle. Sleeping on your back with your thighs propped up on pillows can flatten your spinal muscles and put your neck in a better position.
These causes and preventions are not an extensive list covering all possibilities and solutions for neck pain. If neck pain persists, contact a doctor. For further medical treatment or to get information on other things we can do for your neck pain, contact the Pain Management Center of Houston. Our institute has experts who specialize in chronic pain. We work with technology to do minimally-invasive procedures, prescribe medications, and conduct physical therapy. Request an appointment with us today and we can further discuss your options for treating your neck pain.