Neck pain can be very painful and can interfere with your day to day activities. Neck pain can also interfere with your sleep. More and more people have been reporting to suffer from neck pain and neck stiffness. The rising number of people complaining of neck pain correlates with the increased use of computers and mobile devices. This leads to people keeping their neck at awkward angles more than they used to. 

Looking down on your phone, your laptop or other devices can all lead to neck pain and today, are the most common cause of neck pain and stiffness. This position is what puts a strain on the muscles and the soft tissues of your neck. 

Other causes of neck pain

  • having a poor posture
  • stress
  • a clenched jaw
  • repetitive neck motion
  • osteoarthritis
  • neck or spinal injury.  

Can neck pain be prevented?

There are ways of preventing neck pain and a stiff neck. Sometimes all it takes is some lifestyle changes and ergonomic tools at the workplace. Preventing neck pain can mean that you work on some poor habits, such as poor posture. It is also important that you add regular exercise, as this can strengthen your muscles and prevent your muscles from getting strained or injured.   

Quit smoking

Smoking can also lead to neck pain and quitting smoking might help prevent neck pain. It might be difficult to quit smoking, but you can speak to your doctor about it and find the best plan on quitting, individually adjusted to your own lifestyle and needs.  

Ergonomic workspace

An ergonomic workspace is also very important, especially if you’re working at an office for eight hours every day. Working at a computer desk is very likely to lead to neck pain and you should do your best towards preventing this. Some ways of preventing neck pain are by adjusting your chair into a comfortable position. Your feet should be flat on the floor at all times and your knees should be a bit lower than your hips. 

Proper posture

An ergonomic posture when sitting is crucial at all times. It might take some time for you to adjust to it and you might need to keep reminding yourself to pay attention to your posture. There are ergonomic keyboards and computer mouse, that you should start using. Also, when working at an office, you should make sure to stand up and stretch and move around every hour.  

Change habits

Looking down on your phone constantly is also a habit that you should pay attention to. While it might not be possible for you to completely start doing it, you should try to limit looking down on your phone as much as possible.  

Take breaks

Driving for long periods of time, just like sitting at the office all day, can directly affect your neck. If you’re going on a long drive, you should take breaks and stand up and stretch during these breaks. You should put your seat in a position that best allows you to have good posture. You can also set an alarm that will remind you to check your posture when you are driving.  

Stretch

Stretching is a habit that you should do not only when working or driving. Periodically stopping to stretch, no matter what you are doing, will help you from preventing neck pain and a stiff neck.   

Sleeping position

Another great way of preventing neck pain, is by adjusting your sleeping position, as this can also affect your neck. You should sleep on your side, as this puts less strain on your neck, rather than sleeping on the stomach. If you’re sleeping on the stomach, your neck is strained for longer periods of time which can lead to neck pain and stiffness. There are pillows with neck support that can help you sleep on your side better.  

How to get rid of neck pain?  

There are several remedies that can reduce neck pain and lessen neck stiffness. Some of these remedies include:   

Heat or ice

By applying ice for 20 minutes a few times a day can help you relieve neck inflammation. You can also switch between ice and heat. Take a warm bath or shower, or use a heating pad for heat therapy.  

Over-the-counter pain relievers

If you are dealing with great pain, it might be best to use over the counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, and acetaminophen.  

Stretch

Stretching can help to relieve neck pain and neck stiffness. This will also help you prevent neck pain in the future. It is important to stretch gently and stretch slowly. If you do sudden movements when dealing with neck pain, you can cause more severe inflammation and a more serious neck injury. Before stretching, it is recommended to take a warm shower or apply a heating pad.  

Reduce stress

Stress reduction can relieve your neck pain and neck stiffness. There are different ways in which you can reduce stress, such as meditation, listening to music, taking a break or a vacation or simply finding things that you enjoy and doing them more often!  

Exercise regularly

Exercising regularly helps you to strengthen your muscles. This is what prevents injuries. They can not only relieve your neck pain, prevent future neck pain, but they can also help you to improve your posture. Exercising is another great way of reducing stress.  

Adjust your sleep environment

Your sleep environment might be what you need to change to get rid of your neck pain. Some ways of changing your sleep environment include: using a neck pillow, sleeping only on your side or back, getting a firmer mattress, relaxing before going to sleep or wearing a mouth guard, if you grind your teeth at night.   

The outlook   

Neck pain that interferes with your daily life is a reason to go see a neck pain doctor. It is especially important to seek medical attention, if you’ve been experiencing the pain due to an injury, or if the pain spreads down your arms or your legs. It is also important to seek medical attention if you experience weakness in your arms, hands or legs. If alongside neck pain, you also have headaches, it is best to consult your doctor. 

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