Everyday life isn’t kind to the neck. You may be all too familiar with that crick you get when you cradle the phone between your shoulder and ear, or the strain you feel after working at your computer.
CAUSES OF NECK PAIN
Neck pain rarely starts overnight. It usually evolves over time. And it may be spurred by arthritis or degenerative disc disease, and accentuated by poor posture, declining muscle strength, stress, and even a lack of sleep
Poor posture: constant strain on your head and neck due to incorrect positions, movements and permanent stress at work, in your daily life or when exercising
Mental stress: psychological strain
Weak immune system: for example, due to a cold
Accidents and injuries: for example, whiplash or a pulled muscle
The main reason for neck tension and pain is often a lack of mobility of the thoracic spine. The thoracic spine is designed to move in the form of rotations (turning), flexions (bending) and extensions (straightening). However, the opposite is often the case in daily life.
Many of us spend our workdays sitting at our desk, which limits the functional mobility of the spine. This especially happens when we work from home; our movement might be limited to walking from our chair to the couch or from the kitchen to the bathroom.
But don’t worry, in the case of acute neck tension, there are a number of methods you can use to relieve the pain. The few exercises improve the mobility and the flexibility of your thoracic spine.
Giving yourself a myofascial massage with the help of tennis balls or fascia (foam) rollers is another good way to release muscle tension. And the best part is, you can do these neck exercises anytime, anywhere.
Don’t stay in one position for too long. It’s hard to reverse bad posture, but if you get up and move around often enough, you’ll avoid getting your neck stuck in an unhealthy position.
Make some ergonomic adjustments. Position your computer monitor at eye level so you can see it easily. Use the hands-free function on your phone or wear a headset. Prop your tablet on a pillow so that it sits at a 45° angle, instead of lying flat on your lap.
If you wear glasses, keep your prescription up to date. When your eyewear prescription is not up to date, you tend to lean your head back to see better.
Don’t use too many pillows. Sleeping with several pillows under your head can stifle your neck’s range of motion.
Know your limits. For example, before you move a big armoire across the room, consider what it might do to your neck and back, and ask for help.
Get a good night’s sleep. Sleep problems increase the risk for several different conditions, including musculoskeletal pain.