Prevention Techniques to Abide by for a Healthy Neck
Intense or chronic neck pain is one of the primary reasons people seek out the help of an orthopedics specialist. As anyone who has suffered with neck pain before knows, it can be a great hindrance to one’s daily routine and the cause of immense suffering. The best way to avoid neck pain is by prevention. In the following post, we’ve outlined ten tips to keep your neck healthy and pain-free that anyone can use.
#1 – Exercise and Stretch
There’s no better way to strengthen your neck muscles and promote blood flow than stretching and exercising. Try to take 10 minutes in the morning to stretch your neck by rolling it slowly all the way around, both counterclockwise and clockwise. Tilt your head to one side and pull gently; you should feel the side of your neck stretch when doing this. Also, make sure to tilt forward and backwards. Go slowly to ensure you don’t strain or injure yourself.
#2 – Maintain Good Posture
Poor posture can cause a variety of neck and spinal issues, so it’s important to get in the habit of sitting correctly. This applies to working at a desk or sitting on the couch when you’re watching TV. Ideally, you want your spine and neck to run perfectly perpendicular to what you’re seated on. This sort of good posture ensures that you’re not putting any unnecessary strain on your body.
#3 – Drink Plenty of Water
Proper hydration improves sleep, mental cognition, and mood. It’s also key in keeping joints properly lubricated, including the ones found in your neck. It’s recommended that men get at least 3.7 liters of water per day. For women, they should drink at least 2.7 liters per day.
#4 – Avoid Stress
People often forget that stress is one of the leading causes of physical ailments, and that includes neck and back pain. If you find that certain situations are stressing you out, give yourself a break by employing relaxation techniques. This could be yoga, focused breathing, meditation, or any activity you find lowers your stress levels.
#5 – Make Sure Your Workstation Is Set Up Correctly
Improper workstation set-up is one of the leading causes of neck pain for employees. Most of the time, the problem is brought on without them realizing how. The trick to avoiding this is making sure that your computer monitor is stationed right at eye level. If you use a laptop on a regular basis, consider getting an external monitor so that you don’t have to angle your head down to look at the screen.
#6 – Avoid Looking Down and/or Tilting for Long Periods of Time
To build off of our previous tip, you should try to avoid looking down or tilting your head for long periods of time as this can be very hard on the neck. Try to keep electronic devices such as computers, TVs, and cell phones at a level to avoid putting unnecessary strain on your neck.
#7 – Avoid Carrying Weight on Your Neck
The neck is not made to carry excessive amounts of weight, so you should be careful about items that put unnecessary strain on it. A good example of this are laptop bags and shoulder strap purses, which can easily put a strain on the neck if they’re overloaded. If you’re dealing with a load that’s particularly heavy, use your arms to carry it rather than your neck and/or shoulders.
#8 – Choose the Correct Pillow
If you find yourself dealing with neck pain first thing in the morning, the cause might be a low-quality pillow that isn’t offering the proper support your neck needs. Your first order of business should be to buy one or two brand new pillows that will keep your neck neutrally aligned while you sleep. During your search process, use the search term “orthopedic pillow” as these are custom-designed to deal with neck pain.
#9 – Sleep on Your Back
Sleeping on your back is the most ideal way to sleep in order for your spine to rest comfortably. We know this may be difficult for some people who have been sleeping on their side or stomach for their entire lives, but sometimes retraining yourself to sleep this way is best for your neck in the long run.
#10 – Get Professional Care
Keeping your neck healthy and pain-free sometimes can’t be done alone. If you find that you’re dealing with chronic neck or back pain that no at-home technique can relieve, your next course of action should be to reach out to an orthopedic doctor so they can examine the area. It may be necessary to order X-rays or an MRI to get to the bottom of the issue, but once they do, they can put you on an effective treatment plan in order to relieve your symptoms of pain and discomfort.