In today’s digital age where everyone spends a lot of time hunching over smartphones, computers, and tablets, neck pain complaints are common. Doctors say more people are developing neck strain due to long hours of gazing down at mobile devices. If you happen to be lucky, neck pain just presents as a little soreness and goes away with rest. But if not, your situation could be an indication of chronic neck pain that lasts for several weeks or even longer and may spread to the head and upper back region of the body.
Common Root Causes of Neck Pain
Your neck does a tough job. It supports your head and carries the bones at the top of your spine, along with your muscles and ligaments, which weighs 11-14 pounds or as heavy as a bowling ball. With all that labor, it makes sense why neck issues like pain, stiffness, and weakness are so prevalent. Anything from sleeping in an awkward position or slouching with poor posture can lead to neck pain. Since the neck can move in all sorts of directions, it’s also fragile and prone to misalignment or injury.
Neck pain can be triggered by many different things and vary from person to person. While we all have experienced neck pain at some point in our lives, not every one of us can pinpoint what brings about our neck pain. To save you the hassle, here’s a list of the common sources of chronic neck pain.
- Muscle strain – this is the overuse of the neck’s muscles, which can happen when the head is held too far forward or tilted at an angle for too long. Examples include sitting in front of the computer for several hours, lifting something too heavy, or other activities that require too much work for the muscles.
- Injury – whiplash is one type of neck injury. Whiplash occurs when a person’s head moves backward and then forward suddenly with great force, causing strain on the muscles and ligaments in the neck. This injury is most common following a car accident, sports injuries, or amusement park rides.
- Osteoarthritis – this is the wearing down of the joints, vertebrae, and discs in your neck area and can lead to pain, swelling, and even impaired function. It usually occurs in middle-aged and elderly people.
- Nerve compression – also called “pinched nerve,” this happens when a nerve in the neck is compressed or irritated where it branches away from the spinal cord. It may cause aching that radiates into the shoulder. Neck muscles may also feel weak and numb down in the arm and into the hand.
All-Natural Solutions to Get Relief from Neck Pain
Neck pain can be hard to shake. While prescription and over-the-counter medications can minimize neck pain and discomfort, painkillers offer only a band-aid solution for relief and don’t resolve the underlying cause of the issue. Even when they do the job, they come with side effects that may be unpleasant or too much to handle. Nothing beats natural solutions that provide long-lasting benefits for your neck and overall health.
Reduce your neck pain effectively and naturally. Follow these easy ways to help relieve your persistent neck pain. Most of these tips require making some changes in your habits and lifestyle.
- Be aware of your sleeping position – sleeping on your side or your back is the most comfortable sleeping position for your neck. Make sure you use a feather pillow or any pillow with “memory foam” that efficiently supports the natural curve of your head and neck. Avoid using a too high or stiff pillow as they support the neck at an extreme angle, which can result in morning pain and stiffness.
- Avoid the smartphone slump – spending long hours glued to your mobile devices puts your neck and health at risk. As your head looks down and tilts forward while browsing social media or checking emails, the force exerted by your neck increases, which results in excessive stress and strain on the muscles and spine. It may look funny, but holding your phone at eye level when you’re using it can help you avoid neck discomfort.
- Arrange your workstation properly – with correct workstation arrangements and good posture, it’s possible to wave goodbye to neck strains. Place the computer screen directly in front of you, ideally at eye-level. Your neck should be in a neutral position. An ache at the top of your neck means the screen is too high; an ache at the bottom means it’s too low.
- Perform stress-relieving workouts – stress also has a physical impact on the muscles in your neck. As you tense up, the tension in your neck muscles contributes to neck pain. Performing regular mindfulness workouts to relieve stress can help ease your neck pain. Meditation, yoga, and walking are good options to start.
- Stay well hydrated – be sure you’re drinking adequate water throughout the day to care for your spine naturally. Your intervertebral discs, which provide cushion and protection for your spine, need water to stay pliable and strong. The discs are made up of about 80% water. Ensure that you’re staying sufficiently hydrated to help your discs stay healthy.
- Stay as active as you can – resting your neck for too long will make it harder for you to get moving again. Do regular weight-bearing exercises, like dancing or walking, to ease the stiffness and pain in your neck. A program of stretching and aerobic exercises can also improve your overall neck health.
- Be sure your spine is aligned – keeping your spine in alignment is the best thing you can do for your neck. Not only does it reduce the stress and strain on the spine and soft tissues of the neck, but it also alleviates nerve compression and helps the body to heal naturally. Spinal imbalances can cause more severe health problems if they are ignored.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care Gives Effective and Long-term Relief to Neck Pain
Upper cervical chiropractic care targets the topmost vertebrae in the neck. The top two bones, your atlas (C1) and axis (C2), are accountable for most of your head’s movement and carry the weight of your head. A misalignment of the atlas or axis can impact how the central nervous system functions. Proper alignment in this area of the spine is critical for the rest of the body to normally function.
Unlike medicines and other neck pain relief alternatives, upper cervical chiropractic care offers effective and long-term relief to chronic neck pain. With our chiropractic practice, we aim to ease your pain with the very first adjustment. Our treatments are based on our patient’s diagnosis and health history, and thus vary from person to person. The techniques that we use are gentle and precise.
Until the misalignment in your spine is corrected, your neck may not be able to recover completely from chronic pain. Schedule a consultation with us and be on your road to healing.