Neck Pain Relief

Everyday life isn’t kind to the neck. You may be very familiar with that crick you get when you cradle the phone between your shoulder and ear, or the strain you feel after working at your computer. With the rise of smart phones, tablets, and desktops, it’s no wonder that neck stiffness is on the rise.

Causes of Neck Pain

Neck pain rarely starts overnight. It usually evolves over time. It may be spurred by arthritis or degenerative disc disease, and accentuated by poor posture, declining muscle strength, stress, and even a lack of sleep.

Most often the result of muscles that weaken over time due to poor posture and misuse, result in a rigid neck affecting work performance, sleep, driving, and more. Tightness and constant aches are usually associated with muscle strain and soft tissue fatigue.

The neck doesn’t react properly with weakened and rigid muscles. Looking at the computer and smart phone for extended lengths, as many of us do, strains the muscles surrounding the neck joint. When you go to turn your head, it may no longer turn smoothly, lacking range of motion. The levator scapulae muscle, which runs along the back and side of the neck, is the most susceptible to straining. Common activities such as sleeping in an awkward position, slouching, tension from stress, can all burden the levator scapulae muscle.

Tips for Relieving Neck Pain

Harvard Medical School published the following tips for relieving neck pain relief (https://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/6-ways-to-ease-neck-pain):

  1. Don’t stay in one position for too long. It’s hard to reverse bad posture, but if you get up and move around often enough, you’ll avoid getting your neck stuck in an unhealthy position. Sit up straight, with good posture: Shoulders pulled back and down, chest high, back straight.
  2. Make some ergonomic adjustments. Position your computer monitor at eye level so you can see it easily. Use the hands-free function on your phone or wear a headset. Prop your tablet on a pillow so that it sits at a 45° angle, instead of lying flat on your lap.
  3. If you wear glasses, keep your prescription up to date. When your eyewear prescription is not up to date, you tend to lean your head back to see better.
  4. Don’t use too many pillows when you sleep. Sleeping with several pillows under your head can stifle your neck’s range of motion.
  5. Know your limits. For example, before you move a big armoire across the room, consider what it might do to your neck and back, and ask for help.
  6. Get a good night’s sleep. Sleep problems increase the risk for several different conditions, including musculoskeletal pain.

Tight muscles can contribute to poor posture and cause neck and back pain. Using the GenerationFit Lacrosse Trigger Point Massage Ball (https://generationfit.net/product/lacrosse-ball-for-therapy/) can help to release tight muscles that lead to a stiff neck. This also allows for better posture and mobility.

Please see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-BtbOLfoj4 for more details on using a lacrosse ball to reduce neck pain.

Our previous blog, “Pain in the Neck? 5 Simple Exercises to Ease Your Neck Nuance” (https://generationfit.net/pain-in-the-neck-5-simple-exercises-to-ease-your-neck-nuance/) provides you with other exercises to stretch your neck. These include:

  • Open up chest: Sit up straight, bend elbows and place hands behind head. Pull elbows back towards wall behind you. Pause. Do 10 total.
  • Shoulder rolls, rolling shoulders down and back, then down and forward. Do 20 total, alternating back/forward.
  • Ear to shoulder stretch. Sit up straight. Tilt head sideways, bringing ear towards shoulder, pause. Alternate sides, doing 20 total.
  • Look side to side, alternate for 20 total.
  • Squeeze shoulder blades together. Be sure to keep shoulders “down”. Do 10 total.

 

Generally, neck pain is nothing to worry about, but if it’s occurring with other, more serious symptoms, such as radiating pain, weakness, or numbness of an arm or leg, make sure to see your doctor.

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