People across the world experience different types of neck pain. Depending on your job, you may be required to look down at your computer for hours at a time. Others experience aches in their necks from playing on their smart devices all day.
A quick route that many people take is visiting a chiropractor for neck pain. While visits to healthcare professionals can help, what are things that we can do in the meantime to decrease the discomfort we are experiencing?
In this article, we are going to discuss 4 different habits that you can incorporate into your daily life to reduce pain and experience relief.
1. Improve Your Posture
First and foremost, nobody can deny that bad posture results in problems – a leading problem being back and neck pain. This can be a difficult habit to get rid of. It is something we have a tendency to do automatically when bored, not thinking about it. Poor posture also occurs when we’ve been sitting for too long, or even when we’re trying to relax. The more you incorporate good posture into your daily routine, the more natural it will become.
Sleeping on your stomach can put pressure on your spine, contributing to neck pain. Sleeping on your back or side with a comfortable pillow can help. Our habits, both when awake and when asleep, can contribute to how we feel physically.
Another time when people experience neck pain is also while driving. Of course, driving can’t be eliminated completely. When driving for long periods of time, the posture of drivers tends to decrease. Whenever you need to drive prolonged distances, stop and stretch when needed. Take a short walk and consistently check your posture. If it helps, adjust your seat to a position that forces you into a good position.
As a rule of thumb, you can pretend that there is a pencil between your shoulder blades that you don’t want to drop. If you often forget about your posture, set a regular alarm to remind you.
2. Limit Usage of Technology
Every time you look down at your laptop or your smartphone, you’re putting strain on your neck. People in today’s society are experiencing major neck pain, which is now called ‘text neck’. If you picture your neck as a golf tee and your head as a bowling ball, that will roughly reflect the pressure on your spine when you try to lift your head back up again after looking down for a while. Our heads are very heavy! If we look down for too long, it can damage our necks.
It can all seem harmless when you’re texting a friend, playing a game, or responding to an email, but it all adds up. Try to be conscious of your neck’s position when using technology and where possible keep things at head height.
3. Stretch Regularly
Long hours of work can lead to things like neck and back pain. If you find yourself sitting for long periods at a time, whether at home or in an office, your posture and positions throughout the day can lead to pains throughout your neck. Sitting all day is not natural for our bodies. We are meant to move and stay active. Movement is key to maintaining strong health.
On the flip side, people who spend the majority of their day on their feet are also susceptible to stiffness and aches. Regardless of what you do for work, you should take time out of your day to stretch out your body to keep your neck and back loose.
Here are some recommended stretches that you can try:
- Rolling your shoulders backward and forwards;
- Lower your ear down to your shoulder on each side;
- Bend your hips forward, back, and side to side;
- Press your shoulder blades together and hold;
- Rotate your head side to side, up to the sky, and down to the floor.
4. Revamp Your Workplace
The majority of workplaces don’t provide the ideal ‘S’ shaped office chairs. Instead, they have ‘C’ shaped chairs, which are cheaper and easier to come by. The downside is that ‘C’ doesn’t follow the natural shape of our spine and forces it into an uncomfortable position. Not to mention, office chairs don’t always have armrests, which can encourage slouching.
The height of office desks ranges from very low to extremely high. The standard office desk is normally sitting between 5.8 and 5.10 inches in height from where the chair rests. Unfortunately, most people using desks within this height range tend to be looking down slightly at their desks. When at your computer, you shouldn’t need to strain your neck downwards to use your keyboard. People that are shorter or taller will have increased issues over time.
You could benefit from asking your employer to supply you with an “S’ shaped office chair and a desk or chair that can adjust in height. If they aren’t open to paying for that themselves, it might be worth investing in one for yourself if you’re having chronic back or neck issues. In the meantime, do your best to stand up every 30 to 40 minutes to stretch your spine throughout your workday. This will help it to keep things loose and aligned.
It’s not easy to treat neck pain. Many people from all different walks of life experience this discomfort. Take advantage of these 4 tips that can help you alter your lifestyle and decrease neck pain. If you have tried all of these above methods and you’re still suffering from chronic back pain, consider seeing a healthcare professional that can give you medical advice on what to do.