Neck pain and tightness is a common phenomenon seen in our practice. It can occur to average desk-based worker, working long hours in front of the computer or in that one instant while you’re trying to move a heavy piece of furniture or item around the house. Here are 10 tips to relieve and prevent neck pain from reoccurring:
- Good posture. This is one of the most important things you can do to prevent and relieve neck pain. When you have good posture, your neck muscles are not under as much strain. To maintain good posture, keep your shoulders relaxed and down, your chin tucked in slightly and your ears in line with your shoulders.
- Take breaks. If you work at a desk, get up and move around every 20-30 minutes. This will help to keep your neck muscles loose and prevent them from getting stiff.
- Adjust your workstation. Make sure your computer monitor is at eye level and that your keyboard is at a comfortable height.
- Stretch your neck. There are a few simple stretches that you can do to help relieve neck pain. One simple stretch is to tilt your head to the right and hold for 30 seconds. Then, tilt your head to the left and hold for 30 seconds. You can also try rolling your head in a clockwise direction and then in a counterclockwise direction.
- Apply heat. Applying heat to the affected area can help to reduce pain and relax the neck muscles. Heat can be applied with a heating pad, hot water bottle or warm compress.
- Massage. A gentle massage can help to relax the neck muscles and relieve pain. You can either massage your own neck or have someone else do it for you.
- Exercise. Some gentle exercises can help to strengthen the neck muscles and improve flexibility. These exercises should be done under the supervision of a physiotherapist or other healthcare professional.
- Get enough sleep. When you’re well-rested, your body is better able to heal itself. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
- Manage stress. Stress can contribute to neck pain. Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as exercise, relaxation techniques or spending time with loved ones.
- See a physiotherapist. If you have severe neck pain or pain that does not improve with home treatment, see a physiotherapist. A physiotherapist is able to diagnose the source of your pain and give you targeted treatment.
Here are some additional tips that you may find helpful:
- Use a supportive pillow. A pillow that supports your neck in a neutral position can help to relieve neck pain.
- Avoid looking down at your phone or tablet for long periods of time. If you do need to look down at your phone or tablet, take breaks every 20-30 minutes to look up and focus on a distant object.
- Don’t carry heavy bags over one shoulder. This can put strain on your neck muscles. Instead, carry bags evenly distributed on both shoulders.
By following these tips, you can help relieve neck pain and improve your overall health.