After a long day, you get up from your desk and walk to your car, when you drive the long commute home. When you get there, you sit on the couch to relax and peruse Twitter and Instagram on your phone. Waking up the next morning, your neck is super stiff and painful. How did it get this way? What can you do to get function back? What can you do to avoid this again in the future? Read on to find out!
Preventing Stiff Neck
Fortunately, you don’t have to experience stiff neck. You can prevent it from happening altogether through these actions.
Reduce Smartphone Use
Looking down at your phone or laptop for long periods of time puts tremendous stress on your neck. Try to limit the time you spend with your head forward. If you must work on your phone, try holding it at eye level.
Create an Ergonomic Work Area
Even if you’re stuck working at a desk all day, there are ways you can make your workspace more friendly on your body. For instance, you can request a standing desk or use a computer stand to raise the monitors on your desk to eye level. You can also raise your chair to be comfortable for both your head and back position.
Stand Up and Stretch
Whether you’re driving all day or working at your desk, it’s not good for the body to remain stationary for long periods of time. About every hour, stand up and at least stretch your upper back and neck.
Don’t Sleep on Your Stomach
Even if sleeping on your stomach feels more comfortable to you initially, it strains your neck for hours. Try sleeping on your side or back to avoid pain and stiffness during the day.
Treating Stiff Neck
These preventive measures are fine to stop pain before it starts, but what should you do if you have a stiff neck already? Try these simple remedies.
Apply Ice or Heat
Putting ice on a hurting area for about 20 minutes can reduce inflammation and provide a numbing effect. It may also be beneficial to alternate between ice and heat to help keep the muscles loose and mobile.
Although it may be difficult at first, try to stretch your stiff neck. Avoid sudden movements, and be gentle in your movements. Stretches to use include rolling your shoulders backward and forward, pressing your shoulder blades together, and turning your head from side to side.
Take Pain Relievers
In most cases, over-the-counter pain medications can manage and reduce neck discomfort. If your neck is causing significant pain, it could be a sign of something more serious and could necessitate a doctor visit.
Visit a Chiropractor
No one said you have to try to fix the problem all on your own. A chiropractor is an expert in spinal and joint alignment and can help you regain mobility. They can also show you stretches or exercises you can do to loosen the neck and upper back muscles.
You may not be able to avoid neck pain and stiffness entirely, but by using these techniques, you can lower your discomfort and live a healthier, more pain-free lifestyle.
About the Author
With many years of experience, Dr. Zinovy Chukhman is trained in the most advanced techniques in chiropractic care. He is certified with the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners and is proficient in Gonstead, Graston, and Thompson techniques. His main focus is to relieve pain and help patients live their best lives! If you would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Z, you can contact AlignRight Chiropractic through the website here.