Neck pain is common, affecting an estimated one-third of people. Sometimes neck pain is short-lived. Maybe you slept in an awkward position, but your pain eased up with rest and heat therapy. Or maybe your neck is sore after a long day cradling your phone between your ear and shoulder. Regardless of what contributes to your neck pain, it’s never fun when your neck hurts.
Here at Wynn Over Pain, Brenton Wynn, MD, offers neck pain treatment in Chula Vista and National City, California, but he also wants to help you avoid the factors that lead to neck pain.
In this article, Dr. Wynn recommends paying attention to these three factors to prevent neck pain:
When many people think about poor posture, they imagine themselves slouched over while sitting in a chair, but the reality is that posture isn’t just about how you sit. It’s how you position yourself when you walk, stand, lie, and sit. Good posture promotes good spinal alignment, decreases strain on the ligaments in your spine, helps your muscles work more effectively, and prevents muscle fatigue from abnormal posture.
Unfortunately, many people experience neck pain as a result of poor posture. Hunching over a computer, sitting with poor posture, and craning your neck while using your phone can strain your neck and shoulder muscles. The added neck and shoulder strain puts pressure on the vertebrae in your neck. This condition 一 more commonly called “tech neck” 一 causes pain and stiffness in your neck as well as your upper back.
Tech neck isn’t the only type of neck pain caused by poor posture. Sleeping on your stomach or using the wrong pillow can contribute to poor spinal alignment and neck pain.
To prevent posture-related neck pain, keep these tips in mind:
Even small adjustments to your posture can make a big difference. The average human head weighs 10-12 pounds, but when you’re thrusting your head and neck forward 60 degrees (such as when craning over a phone), the relative weight of your head increases to 60 pounds 一 no wonder tech neck can cause so much pain!
How you carry your purse or backpack can contribute to neck pain. Avoid carrying a purse, backpack, or messenger-style bag over one shoulder. The uneven distribution of weight can cause neck pain. Instead, try carrying a backpack-style purse or, if you carry a traditional backpack, use both straps.
There’s no denying that stress isn’t good for your mind or your body, and unfortunately, high levels of stress can also contribute to neck pain. Here’s how stress and your neck are connected:
Feeling stressed? Take frequent breaks, practice calming techniques such as deep breathing, exercise, listen to relaxing music, and gently stretch your neck and shoulder muscles. If possible, use a foam roller to ease tense muscles, reduce muscle pain, and alleviate tender spots.
Even if you improve your posture, carry your bag correctly, and manage stress, it’s possible that you still struggle with neck pain. Neck pain that doesn’t resolve after making these changes could be related to neuropathy, herniated discs, cervical spinal stenosis, facet joint degeneration, or degenerative disc disease.
If you have neck pain, Dr. Wynn first performs a comprehensive medical evaluation to determine the cause. He then devises a personalized treatment plan that may include:
Don’t let neck pain keep you from living life on your terms. Contact one of our offices today and explore your options for treating chronic neck pain. You can also book an appointment online.