Living with Neck Pain

Consider the following if you are currently living with neck pain.

  1. Looking down

Whether angling your head forward while driving, tilting your head down to view your laptop screen, or using your smartphone throughout the day, you’re putting a great deal of pressure on your neck. These actions may seem small, but the frequency with which we engage in them adds up. This can amount to damage for your neck over time.

Constantly tilting your neck forward can lead to a range of problems including ongoing neck pain and soreness, upper back muscle spasms, even premature degeneration in the spinal joints, leading to arthritis. This phenomenon is referred to as text neck overuse syndrome, or simply ‘text neck’ for short.

Your likelihood of developing text neck can be reduced by spending less time in a posture with your head angled down:

Hold your smartphone higher to decrease the angle of your neck.

When using your smartphone or laptop, take frequent breaks to lift your head up and stretch your neck.

If you have a job where you have to be on a computer for long periods of time, setting up your desk or workstation ergonomically can reduce the impact on your back and neck.

  1. Smoking

Smoking has been shown to increase the risk for degenerative disc disease, and experts believe this is because nicotine causes the blood vessels that surround the spinal discs to constrict, cutting off needed nutrients to the discs. Nicotine also seems to slow down the growth rate of disc cells.

  1. Sleeping on your stomach

Sleeping on your stomach places the most stress on your neck, as this position will usually require you to turn your neck and head sharply to the side, and may place your neck at an awkward angle. This is especially true if you use a firm pillow.

If at all possible, it is better to sleep on your side or your back. If you must sleep on your stomach, using a flat pillow (or simply no pillow) can help your neck and back remain in a better position.

Although the cause of neck pain can be any number of different things, the few points mentioned above are some basic suggestions to help avoid this very common condition.