The neck is a pretty amazing part of your body, but it has a tough job. It holds up the weight of a bowling ball all day long. The bones at the top of your spine, along with your muscles and ligaments, support your head, which weighs about 11 pounds. It can be a delicate balance. Anything from sleeping wrong to bad posture can cause neck pain.
Here are 7 habits which if continued will cause you neck pain in near future:
1. Phone texting:
Bad posture is one of the leading causes of neck pain. The more time you spend with your head pulled forward or down—the very position your neck takes when you’re glued to your phone—means more work for the vertebrae of the lower neck. This also stresses the muscles of the upper back as they balance out the movement of your head.
Solution: Try to keep your phone as close to eye level as possible to avoid this neck strain. The same goes for desk jockeys: When sitting at your desk, look straight ahead. Your eyes should stare at the top of your computer screen. If you need more leverage, use a few hardcover books to make your screen sit higher than you.
2. You Slept Funny:
Have you woken up in the morning with a stiff painful neck? This is because your neck was in a stressful position throughout the night.
Solution: Keep your neck as neutral as possible at night. Avoid positions where your head bends excessively forward, backward, or to the side. Stomach sleepers are particularly vulnerable to this kind of neck pain because their heads turn to the side by default. If you’re prone to neck pain, sleep on your back, which allows your pillow to support your head and neck. Try a memory foam pillow, which molds to your neck and helps maintain proper alignment with your spine. Make sure your pillow ends above your shoulders.
3. Too Heavy Purse:
Most women don’t realize the toll their filled-to-the-brim purses have on shoulder and neck muscles. The body adapts to the extra weight by compromising its natural step. The arm supporting your bag isn’t moving naturally, which means the other arm is swinging more to compensate. This imbalance can strain your neck and back.
Solution: Pack Lite. Try Bags with wider straps and alternating which shoulder carries the weight to keep your body balanced.
4. You Pushing too Hard at the Gym:
Neck strain during weight lifting usually occurs toward the end of a set, when you’re determined to pound out a few more reps. Forget “no pain, no gain.” You can easily damage the tissue around your neck ligaments and cause a muscle spasm.
Solution: Stretching your shoulder blades before a workout can help ease the tension on your upper back, but the best advice is to listen to your body, and rest when you need to.
5. You are Stressed:
Stress is a pain in the neck. Muscle tension is one of your body’s default reactions to every day stressors.
Solution: Sharpen your awareness of how stress is affecting you and take measures to relax—for the sake of your neck (if not your sanity). Take up a yoga class or practice meditation. Inhale positivity and exhale stress.
6. You Smoke:
If your neck is giving you problems, consider this one more reason (among too many to count) to quit smoking. Smoking accelerates degenerative disc disease. Chemicals in cigarettes harden your arteries and decrease blood supply to bones and discs, which starves the bones of your neck for nutrients.
Solution: Quit Smoking
7. You area Gum Chewer:
While blowing bubbles might relieve stress, constant strenuous jaw movement can lead to neck pain and headaches. Gum chewing causes stress to the area where the jaw meets the skull and can strain the muscles in your head and neck.
Solution: Alternate which side of the mouth is doing the chewing. Like any other muscle, your jaw requires an even workout. Reduce the frequency.
Dr. Mansi Parikh, (PT),
Co-founder EndoRush App.