Best Practices to Prevent Neck Pain and Relieve Your Neck
Everyone looks forward to bedtime — the time of the day you can free your mind of the day’s activities. It becomes a problem when you don’t look forward to sleeping out of fear that you’ll wake up with neck pain.
Neck pain is described as “pain in the neck with or without pain referred to one or both upper limbs that last for at least one day” according to Global Burden of Health 2010 Study.
Neck pain is characterized by pain or stiffness in the neck. You experience pain when there is inflammation, injuries, or any abnormalities on the neck. Contrary to belief, neck pain is not only a problem for the aged. Many young people may also experience severe neck pain.
You might go out of your way to seek neck pain relief with medication, but more often than not, the pain may go away on its own after a few days. However, in some cases, it can indicate a more serious condition.
Fortunately, most of the causes can be avoided. So what exactly causes neck pain and how can you steer clear of it?
Common causes of neck pain
- Sleeping Posture. This is the most common cause of neck pain because most people are unaware of the most ideal posture to keep while sleeping. Most individuals, especially the younger generation, tend to sleep while pressing on their phones or watching a movie. This is the leading cause of avoidable neck pain that we have today.
- Choice of pillow. There are different pillow manufacturers, but not everyone is good for you. Some of the pillows that we rest our heads on while sleeping will only harm our neck muscles and cause them to strain or become stiff, hence causing pain when we wake up.
- Sleeping problems. Research says that up to 5% of the people in a particular population experience pain in their bodies because of different sleeping problems. For some, it is a problem of finding it hard to sleep, for some other ones, they complain of waking up at intervals, having unsettled minds, or bad dreams while sleeping. All these do not help the body to achieve the purpose of relaxation while sleeping, which can lead to muscular pain, including neck pain.
- Day posture. This is another problem that is common to almost everyone; the way you posture your body while you are carrying out all the activities during the day is essential. Careless body carriage or neck positioning while pressing your phone, watching the TV, or even taking a walk can cause neck pain, which might not manifest until after you wake up from your sleep.
Other systemic problems can cause neck pain, such as osteoarthritis and neck compression syndrome.
How to avoid neck pain
There are various steps you can take to avoid neck pain and enjoy better sleep, some of which include:
- Sleep on your side or back instead of lying on your stomach while sleeping. When you lie on your stomach, you will stress your neck muscles because you have to position your neck to a particular side all through the night, and this can cause neck pain. You also stress your backbone, and you can damage your spinal cord if you keep this posture consistently for years.
- Choose a feather or memory foam pillow and avoid a pillow that is too hard or firm. A feather pillow will help keep your head in a good position all night as your head can sink into the pillow without affecting your neck muscles. A memory foam pillow also follows the contour of your head and neck region, making sleeping easier. The feather pillow should be changed annually because it would have lost its strength by then.
- While sleeping on your side, you can place a pillow in-between your legs as this helps to keep your body in a straight profile while you are sleeping. You should also use a pillow that is designed in such a way that the neck region is higher than the head region. This way, your head will not bend to any side while you are sleeping.
- During the day, ensure you keep a straight walking profile and avoid bending your back. You should also keep your phone at face level while using it; it is wrong to bend the neck while operating your phone as this can cause neck pain.
- For those with underlying systemic diseases, it is essential to see a doctor for treatment.
Related: How to Get Rid of Severe Neck Pain
How to get neck pain relief
If you happen to experience neck pain, don’t panic. In most cases, the pain may go away on its own, but you might want to see a physician if the pain is accompanied by fever or a headache, or if the home remedies you’ve tried don’t work.
Here are some things you can do to get neck pain relief:
- Stretch. Stretches are simple exercises you can do to relieve your neck of pain and stiffness. If you are able to, apply a warm pad or hot compress on the neck before stretching. This will help reduce tension in the neck muscles.
Turn your head on one side for a couple of seconds, then repeat on the other side. Do this slowly and carefully.
- Take time to relax. Stress can cause tension in the muscles. Avoid high levels of stress by meditating, taking a break, or doing something you like to keep you calm.
- Avoid lifting heavy objects. Lifting weights or heavy items may add tension to your neck. If your neck pain was caused by exercising, give yourself a few days of rest from lifting to let the pain in your neck subside.
- Visit a Gonstead chiropractor. Gonstead chiropractic doctors conduct a careful analysis of your spine to pinpoint any verbal subluxation or the exact cause of neck pain before proceeding with spinal adjustments to give you lasting neck pain relief.
Neck pain is not a good experience. It can go away on its own, but there are also instances where pain and stiffness can last for a longer period of time.
Following the tips above will help prevent pain and stiffness around the neck.
If you are looking for long-term neck pain relief methods, you can visit Intero Chiropractic. Our doctors have developed a scientific and systematic approach to pinpoint the root cause of your neck pain. Using the right tools and technique, our team will design a custom care plan for patients so you can experience healing and break free from neck pain.