Neck Pain — What is it?

Constrained motion and lack of comfortability can make your day to day almost unbearable. Symptoms of neck pain can vary in length from a day to months or even years, based on what the initial cause is. Characteristics of neck pain are:

–       Stiffness or soreness in the neck and shoulders

–       Tension Headaches

–       Tingling or Weakness in the Shoulders, Arms or Hands


Causes of Neck Pain

The cervical spine consists of 7 vertebral segments that run from the base of the head to the shoulders. The cervical spine carries quite the load, bearing the weight of the head for any individual which can weigh up to 13 pounds1. The cervical spine is responsible for much of the neck’s movement and mobility, because of this it is important to take care of it. 

Some causes of neck pain include:

–       Poor Posture 

–       Talking on the phone

–      Working on a computer

–       Over weighted luggage (purses, or backpacks)

–       Previous injuries

–       Stress

–       Poor sleeping positions

–       Whiplash

–       Lack of exercise

10 Tips to Relieve Neck Pain

1.     StretchStretching allows muscles to build a healthy and flexible foundation in order to decrease muscles tightening and unneeded tension. Side rotation, shoulder rolling and forward/backward tilt 3are some you can try.  

2.     Fix Your PostureThe spine has a natural S-curve that your body should maintain in order to keep muscles from tightening or straining. Poor posture puts unnecessary tension on your neck and shoulders that can be a hinderance or source of pain.  

3.     ExerciseExercise helps fight tension, anxiety and stress4 which are all correlated with pain in the neck. Exercise promotes better sleep and muscle strength which can help in keeping away neck pain and other types of tension as well. Research indicates that about 150 minutes of exercise each week can improve one’s health4.

4.     Fix Your Sleeping PositionSleeping on your back allows your body to rest in the most neutral position. So while about 48% of people sleep in the fetal position or on their stomach these can lead to back and neck pain, and can also restrict breathing. Changing a sleeping habit can be tough, but it may be the fix you need for neck pain. 

5.     Try Dry NeedlingDry needling is explained by using fine needles to target myofascial trigger points6  to relieve pain. Research explains that dry needling in conjunction with another form of treatment can help in the short term for neck and shoulder pain7 .

6.     Try Heat or IceHeat and Ice aid in different ways. When applying heat to an area it relieves tension and helps with muscle relaxation8. Ice however, is thought to be most useful in the first day after an injury and can help with reducing swelling8.

7.     Get a Massage. Two common types of massage are Swedish and Deep tissue, focusing on long steady strokes and deeper strokes, respectively. Massage is said to offer some relief with neck pain if implemented by a trainer professional a few times per week for several weeks10.

8.     Take IbuprofenIbuprofen is used to reduce muscle strain, tenderness and pain, among other symptoms10. Ibuprofen can be found in MotrinAdvil, and some others that can be found over-the-counter, but be sure to take as advised on the bottle or speak to a doctor about whether or not this would be a good choice for you. 

9.     Stand UpAccording to Harvard Medical School you can burn up 30% more calories being on your feet rather than sitting13. If you spend a lot of your day siting at a desk, a good rule of thumb is to get up every half hour and take a lap around the office 11. Maybe set an alarm or get an app that helps you keep track of this! 

10.  Visit A Physical TherapistWhen it comes to neck pain, a PT is one of the most common resources you have to help. Their aim is to reduce the problem and improve range of motion and strengthen the areas that may be contributing to your neck pain so that you can rid yourself from it entirely12!

While neck pain can be a pain in the rear there are plenty of steps that you can take to prevent or resolve the issue. So try any one of these 10 and let us know how they went! 

–       Rehab Solutions


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