Neck pain could be caused by a number of reasons. Sports-related overuse injury could result in pain without proper icing and rest; minor car accidents can cause whiplash and strains due to the sudden braking of the car. It could also be caused by daily activities such as prolonged periods of looking down into the phone, stretching forward to the computer screen or bad sitting posture in the office. After some time, the neck muscles would stiffen up and feel sore.
It is important to adopt methods that will not worsen the condition or the shoulders and back may be affected as well. Here are a few simple lifestyle changes you can make to reduce neck pain and prevent from aggravating it.
- Sleep on the back
The sleeping position is crucial when dealing with neck pain. People who sleep on their stomachs usually have more complains about neck and back pain. Sleeping on the back with a pillow that is not too thick – just enough to keep the head level with the body – would be most ideal for people suffering from neck pain.
- Get the right pillow
To avoid morning stiff necks, side sleepers should get a moderately soft pillow that will not tilt the head towards the body. The pillow should also reach down to the shoulders to support the neck. If you have to sleep facedown, place a thin pillow under the stomach to prevent aches. Otherwise, strategically placing a few pillows at your sides would stop you from rolling over in your sleep. There are contoured and cervical pillows designed to give better support to the neck if sleeping on the back does not relief the pain.
- Bring up the computer screen to eye level
Spending long sedentary hours at the computer could be damaging for the physique, especially when you have to look down into the screen. Use a laptop stand to prop it up to eye level and keep a comfortable distance away from you so that you do not have to strain your neck forward or downward.
- Do neck and shoulder exercises
Take intervals to stand up and stretch or take a walk to prevent muscles from getting stiff. Doing the chin tuck and neck rotations regularly would strengthen the neck muscles and keep the head aligned with the shoulders.
- Spread out the weight
Often times, carrying a heavy bag on one shoulder could lead to neck pain. Switch to a backpack with wide straps to even out the weight across the shoulders and prevent from asserting the neck to assist in lifting the load.