What a Pain in the Neck!

You have neck pain, you know it, and we know it.  You need to read this…

Everyone experiences neck pain from time to time.  Neck pain is rarely the result of a traumatic event but rather an accumulation of stress to the muscles and the joints of the neck and back.  Chronic neck pain is more of an overuse injury than anything else.  It is an overuse injury in the sense that spending time in positions of poor posture can lead to pain and discomfort. Consider this…the average American spends roughly 10 hours, each day, in front of a screenof some kind.  The crazy thing…roughly 4 of those 10 hours is considered leisure time.  In addition to the screen time, consider the time you spend driving, reading and sitting at the dinner table. These are all positions that can lead to increased pain and discomfort.

Why is neck pain so common?  We noted before that prolonged positions, especially in front of a screen are a recipe for disaster.  Use of computers, cell phones, tablets and T.V.s has increased the likelihood of a forward head, rounded shoulders posture. There is some research that shows these positions can lead to pain.  The same is true of driving, reading and sitting at the dinner table.  In fact, if you are in any one position for too long, eventually you will get lazy and adopt poor posture.  The more time you spend in these positions of poor posture, the greater the likelihood that you will be in pain.  The relative weight of the head increases, when in a forward position, and causes additional strain on the neck muscles.  Even 15 degrees of forwarding head posture will double the weight of the head acting on the neck.Additionally, rounded shoulders are not the most stable position for the neck. The prolonged and increased strain on the neck and back muscles can lead to an overuse injury related to poor posture.  Having good posture and strong muscles of the neck, back and shoulders will create a more stable base for your neck and will improve your neck pain. This is what we do best, make an appointment today!

We get asked all the time…which posture or position is best? Should we stand or sit while working? The answer is, both! Any one position, if prolonged, will become difficult to hold and can result in pain. Try to change positions as often as possible taking mini-breaks every hour throughout the day! Sitting for longer than 5 hours increased the likelihood of a laundry list of health issues. We encourage you to change positions frequently throughout the day and reinforce good stable postures. Tired of standing…SIT!  Feeling lazy while sitting…STAND!  Going for short walks around the office or house is a great way to reset a position and re-establish good posture as well.  When seated, don’t slump or slouch. Watch this video on how to find a good stable posture.  When standing you want to engage your hips and core to assist with good posture.  You want to pull your shoulders back and keep your head from jutting forward. When driving you to want the seat to be positioned upright and your head should be in contact with the headrest (funny that it is named so appropriately).  One final note, if you’re a stomach sleeper changing positions to sleeping either on your back or on your side with a pillow between your knees can eliminate some stress on the neck and improve your pain!

Here are the top 3 exercisesto get you started. Incorporate today in order to get relief and protect against neck pain:

  1. Upper Trap Stretch– Hold for 20-:30 seconds on each side, repeat several times daily
  2. Levator Stretch– Hold for 20-:30 seconds on each side, repeat several times daily
  3. Chin Tucks– 10-15 repetitions 1-2 times daily, I like to complete these when stopped at a light in traffic

If you try these exercises and you still have discomfort after 2 weeks it is time to make an appointmentright meeeowwww!  We have the tools necessary to help relieve your pain and to get to the root cause.  We will reduce the pain and return you to functioning through dry needling, electrical stimulation, other manual therapies, and various soft tissue techniques. Additionally, we will work with you to identify the appropriate exercises needed to get stronger and prevent future neck pain.

Remember, neck pain is common.  Neck pain is, most often, an overuse injury associated with poor posture.  You can find relief by changing positions frequentlythroughout the day and by being aware of and improving your posture.  You can also take action by completing the 3 exercises listed above. Finally get a full ergonomic and functional evaluation where we spend an entire hour 1on1 helping you get to the root cause and getting back to doing the things you love.Let us help you with your neck pain. Make an appointment with us today!

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