3 Common Causes of Neck Pain… (And How You Can Ease It Quick!)

People may be suffering neck pain with many reasons. The most common form of neck pain is caused by overstretching of muscles and spine due to bad posture.

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This bad posture may occur in the following:

– Sleeping on your stomach or reading in bed with the head in an awkward position

– Sitting in front of computer with the head protruded for a long time

– Carrying your bag on one shoulder or holding your heavy briefcase in one hand.

So it’s no surprise that one of the most common injuries that we see in our clinic is ‘Neck Pain’.

Let’s take a look at 3 of the most common everyday mistakes that I’ve found my patients doing that cause their ‘neck pain’…

1. Sitting poorly behind a computer

When we sit and relax in a chair, the head and neck slowly protrude because the muscles that support them gradually get tired. As the muscles tire they relax, and so we lose the main support for a proper posture. This results in a protruded head posture and rounded shoulders.

A lot of people may spend more than 10 to 12 hours daily to sit at work and commuting as well as watching TV or checking emails while relaxing at home.

Poor sitting habits for prolonged periods will cause neck pain, muscle tension, headaches and even eye trouble.

So how to fix it? It is necessary to first correct the posture of your lower back. Keeping a slightly inward arch in your lower back with a ‘lumbar roll’ is very helpful to maintain a proper sitting posture. Now your head and shoulders will align better and the neck posture is much improved.

You can make a lumbar roll yourself. Simply roll up a bath towel and wrap tape or string around the towel to help maintain the shape. The roll should be no more than 5 to 6 inches in diameter before being compressed. It is also essential to take frequent breaks to interrupt the protruded head posture if spending long periods of time in sitting.

2. Your Bag

Did you know that carrying your bag on one shoulder or holding a heavy briefcase with your laptop in one hand can also cause aches and pains in your neck and shoulders?

The weight of your bag on one shoulder or on one side of your body can throw your muscles and posture off balance. This may also be why some people have one shoulder higher than the other. Also, the way we carry our bags can cause our muscles to become stiff.

So the way to solve this problem is to reduce the weight of your bag, and to switch around the side you carry it on frequently. Switching your bag over to the opposite side will help to balance out the way your body carries the weight, reducing any tension built up in your muscles and correcting any posture problems as well. Switch it up every 10 to 15 minutes or every time you walk past two or three blocks.

3. How we sleep

The next most frequent cause of neck pain is the way we sleep. If you sleep with your head propped up on more than 1 pillow, your neck and upper back are not going to be correctly aligned which may add more pressure on your muscles and spine.

If you find yourself sleeping on your stomach, your head is most likely to be turned to its side which means your body is in an awkward position all night.

Now can you see why you might wake up with a bit of a sore neck?… Your neck is not designed to stay in a twisted position all night for hours. So if you choose to sleep on your side, use a pillow that doesn’t prop your head up too high, but aligned with your shoulder properly. And if you choose to sleep on your back, sleep with one thin pillow so your neck and spine are nicely aligned. The edge of the pillow may also be bunched up to form a firm support for your neck.

Philip Chan
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