Neck pain is usually caused by injuries and sprains associated with the muscles, tendons and ligaments around the cervical spine (upper part of the spine).The head is supported by the lower neck and upper back, and it is these areas that commonly cause neck pain. The top three joints in the neck allow for most movement of the neck and head. The lower joints in the neck and those of the upper back create a supportive structure for the head to sit on. If this support system is affected adversely, then the muscles in the area will tighten, leading to neck pain.
You can use these tips to protect your neck from injury:
1. Sleep on your back
Sleeping on your back is the best position to let your entire spine rest comfortably. If you prefer to sleep on your side or on your stomach, make sure your pillow is not too high-around 4 to 6 inches thick. This will prevent your head and neck from turning unnaturally to either side.
2. Position your computer screen at eye level
Sit comfortably in your office chair in front of your computer and close your eyes. When you open them, your gaze should be directly in the middle of your computer screen. If it is not, use books or other items to adjust the screen height.
Do not allow your head to drift forward over your shoulders. Take frequent breaks: get up and move around at least every 30 minutes.
You can read more about a correct sitting posture here.
3. Use a telephone headset
Be careful not to hold your phone between your ear and shoulder. A hands-free device is a great way to talk on the phone without being tempted to hold your phone incorrectly.
4. Exercise your neck muscles
Keep your neck muscles strong and supple by doing strengthening and stretching exercises frequently throughout the day. One of the simplest exercises to do often is the chin tuck exercise. This exercise helps strengthen the muscles that pull the head into alignment over the shoulders. It also stretches the scalene and suboccipital muscles.
Pilates is also a great way to strengthen the muscles – read more about the benefits of pilates and strengthening of muscles here.
5. Carry weight evenly
A common mistake people make is carrying a heavy purse or a brief case on one side of their body. This causes the shoulders to become uneven, straining the muscles and causing pain.
Take only your essentials in your purse or briefcase, and make an effort to keep your shoulders level at all times when you carry it. Consider using a backpack that distributes weight evenly across the shoulders.
6. Maintain proper posture
Poor posture can cause neck pain, by straining muscles and ligaments that support the neck, resulting in injury over time.
The “head -and -shoulders -forward -posture” is the most common poor posture that contributes to neck pain. This occurs when the neck slants forward, placing the head in front of the shoulders. This posture causes the upper back to slump forward as well, placing a strain on the entire spine. Pilates is a great way to improve your posture – feel free to contact us for more detail regarding Pilates classes.
7. Relieve trigger point pain
Irritation to the facet joints of the lower cervical vertebrae can result in muscle trigger point pains. Trigger points are small knots in the muscle or fascia that can lead to pain. A physiotherapist can help you too relieve the pain caused by trigger points. Feel free to contact us if you would like to make a booking for a physiotherapy session.