5 Quick Easy Ways to Treat Your Neck Pain
Do you experience daily neck pain or frequent headaches? We often tell ourselves that this is something that we just need to live with. Don’t believe the myth that this is just factor of “getting older.” There are simple ways to reduce neck pain every day—things that you can do when you are working or driving and even things that you can do when you are sleeping. Remember, small hinges swing big doors! Here are some tips to reduce neck pain:
1. Use ICE not heat when you have pain at the end of a day. Ice can help to reduce inflammation and decrease pain from overuse/strain. You can use it for 10 minutes at a time and you can use it several times/day. If you wake up in the morning feeling stiff, this is a good time to use a warm water bottle or take a warm shower. It will get stiff muscles and joints moving more easily after they have been still throughout the night.
2. Take a look around your office at your work bag. Is your bag big, heavy or both? Try taking out unnecessary items that are not daily necessities. Men and women might be surprised that when you sort through old receipts, paper piles, pens, and change, you can lighten the load by up to 50%! When carrying your bag, try to avoid using the same side each time. This contributes to lateral curvature of the spine and puts excess pressure on one side of the neck and back.
3. Avoid reading for more than 20 minutes in bed. If you enjoy reading in bed, try to rest your neck at neutral angle without propping your head on too many pillows. Your ears should not rest far in front of your shoulders. Instead raise/prop your book/device at a level that doesn’t cause you to extend or bend your neck at strenuous angles.
4. Ensure that your laptop is set to the correct height. Whether you are working on your lap or you are sitting at your kitchen counter, the top of your computer should be set just below eye level. This will minimize muscle strain in the neck. Try to follow the 20-30 minute rule and take breaks often. Muscles fatigue even when you are in a good position. Take short rests and you will be glad you did!
5. Get physical with a Physical Therapist. The therapists at Rebalance can devise a plan including postural recommendations and exercise tailored to fit your specific needs and work space demands. Contact Katie to find out more!
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