Neck pain is one of the most common minor pains that seems to plague modern adults. Our heavy use of computers and smartphones makes poor posture a real issue. Aside from poor posture while using electronic devices, disease and aging can cause neck pain.
Minor neck pain can be prevented or cured with some simple exercise combined with improved habits. You can try some of the exercises at home or at work in only a few minutes a day. Prevention is usually easier than treatment, so you might want to adopt some daily practices that protect your neck and shoulders. First, it might be useful to know more about the neck and how it becomes injured by bad posture to understand the exercises better.
Causes of Neck Pain
Bad habits cause neck pain in many patients. If you tend to hold your phone between head and shoulder, your neck is in an unnatural position. If your neck hurts or your shoulders get a little sore after sitting at a computer, then bad posture might be an issue.
Overuse of the neck muscles might be the single most common cause of neck pain today. People spend so much time looking at screens, often hunched over rather than sitting correctly, that neck pain often results. Injuries and diseases, including meningitis, osteoarthritis, and cancer, can also cause chronic or acute neck pain. Worn joints caused by age can also produce chronic neck pain.
Most neck pain improves with treatment at home. If you are experiencing severe neck pain or do not go away with simple treatments at home, you should see a doctor.
Exercises for Neck Pain
Prevention is always easier than treatment, but if you do have neck pain or neck stiffness, you can try a variety of exercises. The simplest exercise for neck pain is simply practicing sitting up straight with the shoulders, back, and neck in life with the spine. This posture minimizes stress on neck muscles.
Try one or more of the exercises outlined below if you want to prevent future neck problems. You can run through five to eight repetitions of all four exercises in a few minutes. Try doing a few of these exercises twice a day at your desk. You can easily find photos or video clips online.
While sitting straight up in your chair, pull your chin back and then go forward. Do not look down or tilt your chin toward the ground. Repeat several times.
Chin Raise & Stretch
Look left and raise your chin. Hold for a few seconds, then turn your head and repeat. Do this several times once per day.
Stand up and put your arms behind your head. Pull your elbows back while stretching your spine. Keep your eyes focused straight ahead. Repeat several times.
This exercise you can do while standing or sitting. Begin by looking straight ahead. Look down, then turn your head to one side. Hold there and then turn to face the opposite direction. Sit up straight and slowly bend your head to the right, then repeat on the left. Repeat this neck stretch several times.
A variation of this exercise simulates having one ear pulled upwards. Imagine someone slowly pulling your left ear upwards. Then do the same with the other ear. You should focus on “pulling” the ear versus scrunching the neck. Do this several times on each side.
This might be harder to do at the office. You can learn some of the moves from free online videos and practice at work during lunchtime, on a break, or at the end of the day. A short tai chi session will take a little more time, but you can do a simple routine in 10 to 15 minutes. Some additional exercises that you can do at work will help prevent neck pain as well as manage a stiff neck.
Preventing Neck Pain
Monitoring your posture is the single most important thing you can do to head off future neck pain. Check yourself when you read things on your phone or work on your laptop. Are you slouching or stretching your neck? Are your arms at a 90-degree angle? If not, adjust your posture and move your computer or keyboard so you can maintain good posture and work.
You can do several exercises that protect your neck and shoulders, in addition to those specific neck exercises described above.
Sit up straight. Hunching over a desk for hours at a time puts strain on the neck and shoulders. While sitting up straight, roll your shoulders forward several times, then back. You can also reinforce good posture by locking your hands behind you, close to your body. While holding that pose, squeeze your shoulder blades together and hold for a few seconds. Repeat this exercise several times.
Get up and walk around the office periodically. Walking for three minutes every hour or so will help counteract the effect of poor posture, which can be hard to avoid during long periods sitting in a chair in front of a laptop.
Finally, acupuncture may prove helpful. Acupuncture is an old Chinese medical treatment wherein a medical practitioner inserts ultrathin needles into the selected neck, back, or arms points. Some patients have gotten a little relief from a series of acupuncture treatments. Neck pain also responds to several exercises.
You can manage your neck pain in a couple of ways. Some neck pains resolve with rest, improved habits, and some over-the-counter pain medicine. A hot/cold pack or over-the-counter pain medication might also be helpful for neck pain symptoms in the short term. Pain treatments are not a substitute for medical care, though. Severe neck pain or prolonged pain needs to be evaluated by a physician.
If you seek professional treatment for neck pain, your doctor may try one of several things to correct the problem. Physical therapy, over-the-counter pain medicine, and prescription muscle relaxants may be part of your treatment regimen.
Find a Workers Comp Doctor Near You
If you have a neck injury connected with your work, it’s imperative to see one of the available workers comp doctors in your area as soon as possible. You deserve the best medical care you can get for your neck injury. That’s why we want to offer our professional services as an option for pain relief and recovery. If you think that a workers comp doctor in your area will help with your work-related injuries, give us a call at Workers Comp Doctor (888) 590-4030 today so we can set up an appointment time that works best for you!