Problems with neck pain are hugely common, but are normally unlikely to be a sign of anything serious. Sleeping awkwardly, bad posture, and even stress and anxiety can cause tension in your upper back and neck which can leave you in discomfort, and can affect your work and leisure time.
There are plenty of ways you can help relieve your neck pain at home or with expert medical help – sometimes no amount of self-remedying can get rid of deep muscle pain without seeing a qualified practitioner. Here are some ideas to try both by yourself and with the help of the experts.
- Take Paracetamol or Ibuprofen Regularly
In order to get on with your day, painkillers are useful to ease your pain so you can run your errands and get work done. Remember this will only temporarily relieve your pain, not remedy the real problem or injury, which you will still need to address later.
- Switch Your Pillows
Sleeping with too many pillows is a leading cause of back and neck pain. It’s tempting to pile your bed with soft pillows and think this is best for comfort, but that’s not the case. Sleeping with one low, firm pillow is the best way to rest your head without bending your neck unnaturally.
- Seek Chiropractic Care
If your neck pain is causing migraines, is the result of a car accident, or has been bothering you for a long time, you should seek upper cervical chiropractic care. Neck pain specialists can assess your unique situation and come up with a specialized plan dedicated to your recovery.
They can also advise you on any exercise, lifestyle and aftercare changes you can make to keep the pain at bay in the future, and can diagnose and pinpoint exactly what is causing your pain. Rather than attempting to self-medicate from the start, getting expert help as soon as possible will mean your neck pain won’t impact your life in the long term.
- Watch Your Posture
Modern life and technology can play havoc with our postures: many of us have to work long hours with computers as part of our jobs. Hunching your back while sitting at your desk can lead to terrible neck and back problems, as can tilting your neck down while texting.
Ensure you have a proper computer chair designed for neck and back comfort if your job involves computers or you spend a lot of time on them, and have your chair set at the correct height (your eyes should be in line with the centre of the screen, and your forearms should lay flat on your desk while typing). It’s also a good idea to have your feet flat on the floor and not cross your legs, as this can contribute to posture-related muscle and joint problems.
Try to minimize time spent with your laptop on your lap and not on a desk. If necessary, to get your laptop to the correct height for your back and neck alignment, consider getting a laptop platform for your desk.
If your work involves telephones, or you spend a lot of time making calls, invest in a headset rather than using a handheld phone. Cradling the phone by resting it between your shoulder and ear can cause neck strain.
- Devise A Daily Exercise Routine
This only needs to be a short 10-minute routine, but can greatly improve your posture, relieve your muscles and increase your overall fitness and wellbeing. You can make one up yourself, or a chiropractor or doctor can help you make a specialized plan. Planks, bridges, and pull-ups are all simple exercises that can strengthen your back and neck muscles.
To specifically exercise your neck, lowering your ear towards your shoulder and holding for 10 deep breaths is a great way to stretch your muscles. Doing neck rotations (turning your head gently from side to side) and turning your head by drawing large, slow circles with your nose is also a good way to do this. Focusing exercises on your shoulders can contribute towards relieving neck pain: try rolling each shoulder in slow circles for 2 minutes.