Everyone can occasionally experience neck pain after a rough night of sleep or a long car ride. But when your neck pain starts to occur regularly, it can interfere with your daily life, making it hard to continue your usual routines.
Board-certified pain management specialist Sameer Syed, MD, MPH of Pain Treatment Institute in Plano, Frisco, McKinney, Rockwall, or Sherman, Texas understands how disabling chronic neck pain can be. However, Dr. Syed believes that many sufferers of neck pain can relieve their symptoms by making easy lifestyle changes.
Below, we’ll discuss the origins of neck pain and reveal the simple lifestyle changes you can make to reduce it — giving you a new lease on life.
Understanding neck pain
Your neck is a complex part of the body that supports your head and spinal cord, which makes it a particularly vulnerable area. It’s not uncommon to experience neck pain in the form of pain, headaches, stiffness, soreness, weakness, or numbness.
Neck pain can be short- or long-term and vary from mild to extreme. It can have a variety of causes, including strains and injuries, posture, nerve compression, medical conditions, and accidents.
How to ease neck pain with lifestyle changes
Often, simple lifestyle changes can relieve neck pain. If you’re experiencing mild to moderate neck pain, try these interventions.
Pay attention to your posture
Many cases of neck pain are caused or exacerbated by poor posture, so sometimes making changes that improve your posture can resolve your neck pain completely. Poor posture is especially common if your work or daily routine involves significant amounts of sitting.
If you’re sitting down for a long period of time, avoid slouching your shoulders, and make sure you keep your head in a neutral position as you sit. Additionally, you can help your neck by putting your feet flat on the floor, keeping your shoulders relaxed, and supporting your lower back with a pillow.
Adjust your screens and seats
One of the easiest ways to avoid slouching while working is to make adjustments to your equipment. Adjust your computer to eye level, so you don’t have to look down at your screen.
If you drive regularly, adjust your car seat to an upright position to support your lower back and head. Make sure your seat is close enough to the steering wheel that you can drive with slightly flexed arms, rather than having to reach to grab it.
Stretch your neck
Regularly taking breaks to stretch your neck helps relax it and relieves pain. Dr. Syed can teach you neck stretches as well as exercises that help strengthen your neck muscles.
Low impact exercises, like walking and swimming, can also help relax your neck. When sitting down for long periods, try to stand up, walk around, and stretch your neck every 30 minutes.
Use the right support at night
Another common cause of neck pain can be an improper sleeping position. At night, try to sleep on your back or stomach, and consider a cervical pillow to support your neck. If you read in bed, keep your neck in a neutral position, and invest in a wedge-shaped pillow to give your back support.
Practice stress reduction techniques
Relieving stress and anxiety can reduce tension in your neck and shoulders, helping to reduce your back pain. Along with aiming to live a healthy lifestyle with a good diet and enough sleep, consider learning breathing and other relaxation techniques.
Reach out to us for more help
For many people, changing lifestyle habits resolves neck pain in just a few weeks. But if you’re experiencing severe neck pain or lifestyle changes don’t improve your neck pain, make an appointment at Pain Treatment Institute for an assessment.
At your initial appointment, Dr. Syed assesses your neck pain by performing an examination and possibly running tests to determine the cause. Depending on your needs, your personalized pain reduction treatment can include injections, electrical nerve stimulation, medication, and additional at-home care to treat your pain.
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