Why is neck prone to get frequent pains and discomfort?
• Neck is made up of vertebral bones that extend from the head to the upper back.
• Cervical discs absorb shock between the bones.
• The bones, ligaments, and muscles of your neck support your head and allow for motion.
• Any abnormalities, inflammation, or injury can cause neck pain or stiffness.
• Our present day to day activities put more strain on neck making it more prone to frequent pain and stiffness.
What can cause neck pain or stiffness ?
• Poor posture
• Working at a desk for too long without changing position
• Sleeping with your neck in a bad position
• Carrying a heavy shoulder bag or purse
• Muscular pull/strain
• Injury (The neck is particularly vulnerable to injury, especially in falls, car accidents, and sports)
What are the symptoms?
• Pain that is often worsened by holding your head in one place for long periods, such as when driving or working at a computer
• Muscle tightness and spasms
• Decreased ability to move your head
What can be done to relieve neck pain
• Ice and heat therapy
Ice is good for acute conditions i.e within 24 hours of onset of symptoms. After 24 hours, heat is more helpful.
• Exercise and stretching
• Physical therapy
• Medications such as anti-inflammatory pain killers and muscle relaxants may help
• Consult a doctor to evaluate the exact cause and start specific treatment
Can neck pain be prevented?
To help prevent neck pain, keep your head centred over your spine. Some simple changes in your daily routine may help.
When standing and sitting, be sure your shoulders are in a straight line over your hips and your ears are directly over your shoulders.
Adjust your desk, chair and computer so that the monitor is at eye level. Knees should be slightly lower than hips. Use your chair’s armrests.
• Frequent breaks:
If you travel long distances or work long hours at your computer, get up, move around and stretch your neck and shoulders.
Our head and neck should be aligned with your body. Use a small pillow under your neck. Try sleeping on your back with your thighs elevated on pillows, which will flatten your spinal muscles.
• Phone usage:
Avoid tucking the phone between your ear and shoulder when you talk. Use a headset or speakerphone instead.
• No smoking:
Smoking can put you at higher risk of developing neck pain.
• Avoid excess weight:
Avoid carrying heavy bags with straps over your shoulder. The weight can strain your neck.