Neck pain is a common problem among adults. It occurs when the ligaments, muscles and tendons around your cervical spine (the vertebrae in your neck) experience strain or a spasm. While there’s no quick relief from these afflictions, there are certain steps you can take to prevent them from occurring in the future.
Change Your Sleeping Habits
We spend as much time in our beds as we do at our desks at work, and so improving your sleeping posture contributes greatly to maintaining a pain-free neck.First and foremost, make a concerted effort to adjust your sleeping position. When lying on your back, keep your knees elevated to prevent your back from arching and putting excessive pressure on your spine. Lying on your side helps to naturally keep your spine in a neutral posture, as long as you don’t curl up.You should also reconsider your pillow. The ideal pillow will hold your neck in a neutral position, not allow it to curve or bend upward or downward. Over time, pillows will sag and deform, so it’s important to be aware of your neck’s curvature while lying down and to replace a pillow that no longer provides adequate support. Since we all toss and turn during the night, it’s important to have a pillow—or more than one—that can accommodate your changes in position.
Elevate Your Tech
Grab your phone and pretend you’re getting ready to send a text message. Now, stop and note your posture. Are you holding the phone up in front of your face without looking down at it? If you are, good job—you’re already practicing one of the most important habits of spinal health.In addition to cell phones, televisions and computer monitors should also be situated at eye level. If you’re staring up or down at the screen for extended periods of time, you’re holding your neck in a position that could lead to soft tissue degeneration. Whatever you’re looking at, it should be situated directly in front of you, at eye level, at a comfortable distance that won’t force you to lean forward. All you need is a shoebox or a few sturdy books to save yourself pain in the future.
Practice and Maintain Good Posture
Many people tend to slouch or lean forward when walking, which puts additional pressure and strain on the neck. To avoid this, keep your head up and your shoulders back. This will help you to keep your head and neck straight and their weight pressing down onto your shoulders rather than hanging forward over your chest.Many of us tote around purses, briefcases, satchels and a variety of other bags. Unfortunately, many of these are meant to be carried in one hand or over one shoulder, and when their weight gets excessive, it can throw off your posture and your spinal alignment. Try to travel light and, whenever possible, use a backpack that distributes weight more evenly across your body.
In the gap between each of your vertebrae there sits a soft, spongy disk that acts as a cushion and allows a range of motion. These spinal disks are composed of mostly water, so you need to keep yourself hydrated if you want them to remain pliant and durable. Drinking eight glasses of water each day will help to keep these discs in good working order and your neck free of pain.By implementing these simple strategies in your everyday life, you’re already on the road to better health and less neck pain. While chronic pain may be the sign of an underlying affliction, these quick and easy habits will drastically reduce your chances of suffering incidental injury and discomfort.