Neck pain is such a pain in the neck- literally! It is no wonder that safe and effective ways to relieve neck pain and becoming more popular. Neck pain is unfortunately becoming increasingly more prevalent as people are sitting, having sustained bad posture and using computers all day for work. Approximately 15% of people in the United States suffer from neck pain, which equates to about 48.9 million people, according to the National Institute of Health Statistics. It only makes sense that more and more people are searching out effective ways for neck pain relief without the nasty side effects of drugs or surgery. So you may now be thinking "am I doomed to have neck pain too?" Or if you already have neck pain, "am I doomed to have it forever?' The short answer: NO! The long answer: maybe, if you don’t do anything for yourself!
The following are five neck pain hacks that will help you get rid of your neck pain and help it say away. So test out these tips and do them often!
1. MAINTAIN GOOD POSTURE.
This may seem obvious, but poor posture is the most common reason why people have neck pain that come into my office. Sure, there are other reasons for neck pain. But the MOST COMMON reason is from poor posture either at work or on the computer, or poor sleeping habits, or other poor posture while doing other activities such as reading.
2. GET ADJUSTED.
Neck and upper back adjustments are extremely effective in eliminating neck pain and keeping it at bay. Chiropractic adjustments are also very helpful for treating tension headaches, which often are the result of dysfunction in the neck. Regular chiropractic adjustments help to restore and maintain good neck range of motion, keep muscles relaxed, and improve your posture.
3. GET A GOOD PILLOW.
Pillows are everything! So is sleep position! Your pillow should support your head and neck properly and not push your head out of alignment. In general, if you are sleeping on your back your pillow should be relatively flat and allow your head to stay in alignment with your shoulders without it flexing toward your chest when resting on the pillow. Additionally, when sleeping on your side your head should again stay in alignment with your shoulders and stay at a 90 degree angle, not bent up at an angle. Lastly, I do not recommend sleeping on your stomach as it typically forces your neck to rotate to one side, and if you add a pillow to the mix you are now bending your head back and to the side. This is a very difficult posture for the neck and upper back to maintain and should be avoided. My favorite pillow is The Pillowise pillow, which gives you a custom pillow based on certain measurements ensuring you are properly supported.
Exercise is necessary for every person, but especially if you happen to sit most of the day. Regular exercise improves blood flow to tight muscles, keeps joints moving and healthy, restores balance to restricted and tight areas of the body and helps keep us healthy in general.
5. DIAPHRAGM BREATHING.
Your diaphragm is a powerful muscle that sits underneath the ribs in the front of your chest and connects to the lower back. It is a muscle, like any muscle, that wants to do work! The diaphragm is meant to function as the body's primary muscle for breathing, but unfortunately it is vastly underused. Most people present in my office using their accessory muscles to breathe, such as the Upper Traps, front of the neck and side of the ribcage. These muscles become overworked over time and can become tight and painful. Breathing exercise: place on hand on your chest and one hand on your stomach while lying down. Practice taking a slow breath in through your nose for a count of four seconds watching the hand on your stomach rise. As you exhale the hand on your stomach should return to normal. The hand on your chest should stay perfectly still throughout the entire exercise.
Make sure to check out our next blog going over specific neck exercises and stretches to help manage and prevent reoccurring neck pain. You can read that blog here.
And if you missed our last blog about lower back pain, make sure to check that out here.
With all things, consistency is key. The more you practice good habits the more you will get out of them.