Stiff neck? The area above your shoulders is one that commonly holds tension, especially if you’re sitting at a desk all day (with sub-par posture) or constantly staring down at your phone screen.
According to research, neck pain may feel like a “kink,” stiffness or severe pain. This pain may spread to the shoulders, upper back or arms, or it may trigger headaches and cause numbness, tingling or weakness in your arms.
In general, neck pain refers to pain anywhere from the area at the base of the skull into the shoulders. And technology is one of the major culprits. “As a culture we put our necks through hell with our reliance on technology, which creates forward head carriage, and results in neck muscles that go into spasm and refer pain into our heads, temples, and even behind our eyes,” says Brad Butler, chiropractor and author of “The Blueprint for Back Pain Relief: The Essential Guide to Nonsurgical Solutions.”
“The most common causes of neck pain are either postural or positional. The modern-day life style of sitting at a desk looking over a computer for multiple hours unfortunately leads to a forward head position where the skull moves forward of its placement on the first cervical vertebra,” says Lara Heimann, physical therapist and creator of LYT Style Yoga. “Every millimeter that the skull is off-center places a strain on the posterior neck muscles. These muscles on the back of the neck have a chronic stress and load on them that creates tension and pain.
Feel better Back, neck or knee pain? Try these foam roller exercises
You may not be able to get away from the computer, but there are things you can do to reduce the strain. “To alleviate this pain, one must first position the computer at eye level to prevent the forward shift of the head,” says Heimann. “Also stretching the back of the neck muscles will help alleviate the tissue tightness present.”
“There are things you can do to assist with the prevention in neck pain,” adds Karen Joubert, PT. “I would recommend a visit to your local physical therapist to address your daily routine, habits and posture. Secondly, a good program of postural awareness along with movement-based stretching will have a positive impact in your further prevention of neck pain.”
Stretching the neck muscles is one of the simplest at-home (and at-work) prevention techniques to keep tension at bay. This routine can be repeated daily to alleviate neck pain and keep your neck loose throughout the day.
Assisted neck pull
Place your hands on the base of your neck with your elbows pointed out to the sides. Stand up tall and take a deep breath, and then exhale as you drop your chin towards your chest, pulling your elbows down towards the floor. Gently allow the weight of your hands and arms to weigh your head down further, and take a few deep breaths here.
Interlace your fingers behind your back, resting your hands on the small of your lower back and pulling the shoulders down and back. From here, drop your right ear to your right shoulder, and hold for a few breaths. Then switch sides.
Forward fold with head nod
Hinge forward at your hips and bend towards the ground. Hold on to opposite elbows and allow your head to dangle down. Nod your head yes and then shake your head no.
The yes stretch
In an exaggerated nod, say “yes’ with your head. Lift your head up towards the ceiling and look up as high as you can, and then drop your chin down towards your chest as far as you can. Repeat this 10 times.
Use your chin to draw a circle to the right three times and then to the left three times.
More ways to reduce pain and injury
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Stephanie Mansour is a health and fitness expert and weight-loss coach for women. She is a certified personal trainer, yoga instructor and Pilates instructor, and host of “Step It Up with Steph” on American Public Television.
Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed*** and may vary from person to person***.
Every winter, I hear friends and colleagues talking about how the season seems to always come with aches and pains, and that as they’ve aged, it only seems to be getting worse. A common sentiment, for sure.
As you age, you might accept pain as part of the process. And you’re not alone. In fact, I came across one statistic from the American Osteopathic Association that reports that 41% of Americans say pain is a natural part of the aging process, while almost half say that living with pain is a part of life.
One of the most common forms of regular pain is neck pain. In fact, it’s the third most common type of chronic pain. Neck pain comes from a number of sources that range from poor posture, stress, looking at a smartphone for long periods of time, typing on a computer, sleeping conditions, to more serious injuries. Your job or favorite pastime may even contribute to neck pain by applying added force. The average human head weighs about 10 pounds, and each inch you move it forward adds additional weight. For example, bending your neck forward as little as 15 degrees applies 27 pounds of pressure on your neck!
How to Relieve and Prevent Neck Pain
Sometimes, the best way to combat occasional neck pain is to use stretching and exercise. There are a few things you can do to combat the pain using both motion and isometric techniques. You don’t need to use them all; just find the ones that work for you and help loosen up the tightness and relieve the pain.
Three Motions to Relieve Neck Pain
Your neck moves along three planes: back and forth, up and down, and side to side. Therefore, moving your neck along these planes can help relieve pain.
One motion you can try is a slow nod. Start in a neutral position with your head facing forward and your neck straight. Slowly bring your head up, so you’re looking at the ceiling; then slowly bring it down, so you’re looking at the floor. Use a slow, gentle motion and repeat this five times in each direction.
I like to call the next motion the “so-so.” For this, simply start with your head in the neutral position and slowly move your head from side to side, always facing forward. Basically, pretend as if someone asked you how your dinner was and you’re using body language to say, “so-so.” Once again, repeat this movement to both sides five times.
The last motion involves the slow shake. Start with your head facing to one side and slowly rotate to the other side (as if you were shaking your head “no,” but much slower). Complete this movement five times.
Three Isometric Movements for Neck Pain Relief
Isometric movements are my personal favorites to relieve neck pain, and they are just as easy as the above three motions. The first isometric movement to try involves interlocking your fingers, placing them behind your head and then resting them against the back of your head. Once they are in place, start lightly pushing your head back into your hands, while slightly pushing your hands forward. Hold for 10 seconds.
Next, you pull your hands in front of you, keeping your fingers interlocked, and place them on your forehead. Push your forehead into your hands, while gently adding some pushback resistance from your hands. Again, hold this for 10 seconds.
You can also use the same technique for each side of your neck by placing one hand on the side of your head and pushing your head into it. Hold for 10 seconds before doing the other side.
Holistic Healing for Neck Pain
Because stress can be a major contributor to neck pain, some holistic healing methods might also be of use. Try to create a relaxing atmosphere wherever you can, using aromatherapy with scented candles and oils and calming music in the bedroom to create a relaxing environment when it’s time to rest.
Neck pain doesn’t have to be your reality or simply a part of getting older. Give these ideas a try to see if they help. If they don’t, contact your doctor for some more information; treating your neck pain now will help you out a lot down the line.
Working from home can be a pain in the neck. literally. These stretches help to alleviate the pain of poor telework egonomics.
Even prior to the Covid-19 lockdowns, telework (a fancy word for “working from home”) had been steadily gaining popularity. Of course, the pandemic accelerated the trend, and more employees are logging remote work days than ever before.
Working from home has its advantages (for instance, we’re writing this in our underwear), but it’s not always easy. One big issue: Your home office probably isn’t designed for ergonomics. If you’re dealing with brand new sources of neck and shoulder pain, we’re here to help.
WhyYour Home Office is Hurting You
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics , civilian workers spent about 42 percent of their work day sitting. If you’re working from home, we’re going to go out on a limb and assume that you’re spending nearly all of your workday parked in front of your desk.
“Working from home has definitely increased the strain people have been placing on their upper backs and necks, as many don’t have the same workstation setup they do in the office,” physical therapist Dr. Gina Kim tells Urbo.
“Therefore, if trying to work at the kitchen table or lying on the couch,for instance, folks are pushing their heads and necks forward, making those muscles work harder to support the head.”
Not having a supportive chair, or sitting at a desk/computer arrangement at the wrong height can seriously mess up your neck and shoulders. Luckily, if you notice these new pains early enough, you can utilize some stretches to alleviate these issues.
Stretches To Relieve Shoulder and Chest Pain
It’s a good idea to start with larger muscle groups and movements when working out tension. The shoulders and chest are great starting points. Dr. Kim suggests doing shoulder shrugs, scapular squeezes, and then opening up the chest muscles by using a foam roller. Here are her instructions for each stretch:
Sitting upright with both feet on the floor, first take a deep breath. At the same time, raise your shoulders to your ears. As you exhale, let your shoulders drop. That relieves tension in the upper trapezius muscles, which hold a lot of our stress.
While still in the same position, squeeze your shoulder blades together and down, as if you’re trying to put them into your back pockets. This opens up your chest and strengthens the upper back postural muscles.
Purchase a foam roller that is firm, smooth, and long enough to support you from the back of your head to your tailbone. Rollers with knobbly surfaces aren’t ideal for this stretch.
Place the roller on the floor and lie on it lengthwise with your arms open on either side, palms up. This is a great stretch for the chest muscles (the pectoralis major and minor), which become tight when you’re slouching.
Stretches To Relieve Neck Pain
After you’ve completed some shoulder/chest movements, you can move on to neck stretches. One of the best movements for your neck is neck retractions. Dr. Kim outlines this stretch:
“Start by sitting upright. Bring both of your shoulders back a little to open up your chest. Then, pretending that someone is trying to touch your nose, bring your head straight back. It’ll look like you’re giving yourself a double chin.”
“Keep your head level. You should feel a stretch at the back of your neck. Then release it slightly. Repeat 10-15 times. (Note: this puts your neck into proper posture, placing the head over the body.)”
Work On Your Posture
For the best work posture, you need to have a supportive chair and a stable table or desk. The goal is to keep your spine in its most neutral, naturally curved position. In other words, no, you can’t lay on the couch with your laptop on a pillow all day and expect to feel great afterwards.
Get a good chair or supplement one you already have with some lumbar support by using a horizontally-rolled up towel.
“Place the roll at the top of your hips with your low back against the chair,” says Dr. Kim. The towel roll should fit perfectly in the curve of your back, while also providing support while you’re seated.
You also need to make sure you aren’t straining your neck to see your computer screen. If you screen is too low or too high, or if you’re pushing your neck forward, you’ll lose the natural curve of your vertebrae.
Of course, if you’re struggling with chronic pain, you should always seek out help from a medical professional.
The most frequent root cause of neck pain is bad body posture, tension and/or stress, working at a desk for too long without changing position, or sleeping in an awkward position that strains the neck muscles. Fortunately, most instances of neck pain can be treated at home with simple remedies.
Here are 5 home remedies that should help getting rid of that annoying pain in the neck fast and with ease.
HOT WATER SHOWER
Keep your neck under a shower of warm to little hot water for about 4 to 5 minutes. This will relax your stiff muscles and offer soothing relief.
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
Thanks to its strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant content, apple cider vinegar can relieve neck pain quickly. Soak a rag in apple cider vinegar and then place on neck. Secure with towel and leave on for a few hours.
Fill a plastic bag with crushed ice and then wrap in pillow case. Place on neck for 15 min every few hours. The cold temperature will help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.
Place a heating pad over the affected area for at least 20 minutes 3 to 5 times a day for faster relief. Alternatively you can also use a bottle containing warm water.
EPSOM SALT BATH
Take a bath with epsom salt added to bath water. Soaking in an Epsom salt bath can help relieve muscle tension, improve circulation, and offer stress relief.
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In this Article
- Neck Pain Tip 1: Take It Easy
- Neck Pain Tip 2: Apply Cold/Heat
- Neck Pain Tip 3: Stretch
- Neck Pain Tip 4: Move It
- Neck Pain Tip 5: Get Out of Your Slump
Cervical disc disease may be the most common cause of neck pain. It’s caused by an abnormality in one or more discs, the cushions that lie between the neck bones (vertebrae). When a disc is damaged, usuallyВ due to wear or tear (degeneration) or to disc herniation, it can lead to neck pain from inflammation or muscle spasms. In severe cases, pain and numbness can occur in the arms from nerve irritation or damage from pinching a nerve.
While pain relievers, physical therapy, neck traction, and as a last resort, surgery, can help ease neck pain from cervical disc disease, there are also home remedies you can use to help relieve pain and speed the healing process.
Neck Pain Tip 1: Take It Easy
If you’re like most people, you probably live a busy, hectic life. But if you’re living with cervical disc disease and have increased neck pain, it’s important to temporarily ease back on intense activities. While you are resting, find a comfortable position — one that causes you the least amount of neck pain. You can place a rolled up towel or a pillow under your neck to help keep your neck in a neutral position. Resting doesn’t mean crawling into bed and remaining perfectly still, however. Staying immobile for more than a day or two actually can be harmful because it can decondition the muscles that support your neck and actually increase neck pain in the long run. While your neck is healing, adjust your activity level to what you can comfortably handle. As you improve, gradually increase your activity level back to normal.
Neck Pain Tip 2: Apply Cold/Heat
People often face the hot/cold conundrum: Which one should you use? Generally, the recommendation is to use ice for the first 24 to 48 hours after an injury to reduce swelling, followed by heat to loosen muscles and improve stiffness. But with cervical disc disease, neither heat nor cold is going to penetrate deeply enough to actually relieve the inflammation, so use whichever feels best. Regardless of whether you choose cold or heat, keep it on for only about 20 minutes at a time and then leave it off for at least 40 minutes. Wrap the ice or heat source in a towel — never put it directly against your skin or you could wind up with a nasty burn.
Neck Pain Tip 3: Stretch
Once you are feeling well enough and your doctor gives permission, practice stretching exercises to both relieve neck pain and improve your flexibility.
It’s best to perform these exercises after warming up muscles with a warm shower, bath, or towel.
Here are a few simple stretches for cervical disc disease that you can do at home:
1. Slowly turn your head to the left. With your left hand, apply very light tension on your chin so that your head turns slightly more. Hold for 20 seconds and return your head slowly to center. Repeat on the right side.
2. Tilt your head to the left and try to touch your left ear to your shoulder. With your left hand, apply light pressure on your temple. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat on the right side.
3. Bend your head forward and try to touch your chin to your chest. Relax the shoulders as you do this. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat.
4. Lie on your back with your knees bent and a pillow under your head and neck for support. Nod your head forward gently, as though you were saying “yes.” Hold the position for 10 seconds and then relax. Repeat 10 times.
If you feel significant discomfort with any of these stretches, stop immediately.
Neck Pain Tip 4: Move It
Research is showing that exercise is an effective way to treat neck pain. According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, women with chronic neck pain who performed strength and endurance exercises using resistance bands and light weights significantly reduced their neck pain and disability. It’s also important to keep active in general. Thirty minutes of aerobic exercise (walking, biking, swimming) every day can keep your back muscles strong. And improved blood flow from exercise can nourish your spine help to keep it healthy. Talk to your doctor, physical therapist, or a personal trainer with expertise in working with people with neck pain to determine the right exercises for you.
Neck Pain Tip 5: Get Out of Your Slump
Bad posture is a major contributor to neck pain. Think about your posture every time you are sitting, standing, or lifting. Always try to keep your head and neck straight and make sure your back is supported. When you sit at your desk, for example, your computer should be at eye level and your chair should be right up against your back (in other words, don’t press your nose against the computer screen). Your mouse should be positioned low enough so that you don’t have to continually reach for it. When you go to pick something up, don’t lean forward. Instead, bend from your knees and keep your back straight, which will also help protect against low back pain.
American Physical Therapy Association: “What you Need to Know About Neck Pain.”В
Nadler, SF. The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, 2004.В
K. Daniel Riew, MD, Mildred B. Simon Distinguished Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine.В
Ylinen, J. et al. Journal of the American Medical Association, 2003.В
Anthony Delitto, PhD, PT, FAPTA, professor and chairman, department of physical therapy, University of Pittsburgh.В
With so many of us gazing into computers or staring down at our smart phones most of the day, it’s no wonder data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nearly 20% of us have experienced neck pain within the past three months.
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A stiff neck typically is the result of muscles weakening over time from poor posture or misuse, says chiropractor Andrew Bang, DC.
Looking down at your computer monitor all day can cause the muscles around the neck joints to tire and become overstretched. Driving for long periods of time or looking at your smart phone can have the same effect. If you’re doing this day after day, it can add up and can displace your neck joints.
“When your neck muscles become weak and you try to turn your head, the joint no longer moves smoothly because it’s now out of place,” Dr. Bang says. “Often the joint catches on something, either pulling a muscle or hitting the nerve irregularly, or maybe both.
“Then you’ll have instant pain and your body has a protective spasm. Your body doesn’t want you to get hurt more, so it will clench, causing you to feel like you can’t even move — and leaving you wondering what you did to injure yourself.”
Stretching can keep pain at bay
Putting your monitor at eye level, sitting up straight and avoiding tilting and twisting your head down or to the side while you’re on the computer can help you avoid neck pain. When you’re driving or looking at your smart phone, be sure to take frequent breaks and avoid having your neck bent forward for long periods of time, Dr. Bang says.
The key to relief for a stiff neck is proper stretching and manipulation, Dr. Bang says. Here are some stretches you can try at your desk or in the car that may help you to avoid a stiff neck:
- Roll your shoulders backwards and down 10 times.
- Squeeze your shoulder blades together 10 times.
- Push your head backwards into your car head rest or hands and hold for 30 seconds.
- Bring your ear to your shoulder 10 times on each side.
Take care when you sleep
Dr. Bang says if your neck is bothering you, you also should pay attention to your sleep positions. Sleep only on your side or on your back – never on your stomach, he says.
“When you sleep on your stomach, often you will end up twisting your head one way or the other for hours at a time,” Dr. Bang says. “Sleeping on your stomach also can affect your low back because your belly sinks in to the bed if you don’t have enough support.”
For minor, common causes of neck pain, try these simple remedies:
- Apply heat or ice to the painful area. Use ice for the first 48 to 72 hours, then use heat after that. Heat may be applied with warm showers, hot compresses or a heating pad. Be sure not to fall asleep with a heating pad or ice bag in place to avoid skin injuries.
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
- Keep moving, but avoid jerking or painful activities. This helps calm your symptoms and reduce inflammation.
- Do slow range-of-motion exercises, up and down, side to side, and from ear to ear. This helps to gently stretch the neck muscles.
- Have a partner gently massage the sore or painful areas.
- Try sleeping on a firm mattress without a pillow or with a special neck pillow.
- Ask your health care provider about using a soft neck collar to relieve discomfort. Don’t use the collar for a long time. Doing so can make your neck muscles weaker.
If the pain gets in the way of your daily activities, Dr. Bang says to call your doctor.
by Valentin Bosioc June 14, 2016, 7:56 pm 1.5k Views
Here are 3 simple ways to get rid of the neck pain! Look what you need to do!
Many people experience neck pain or stiffness in this area occasionally. In most cases the neck pain occurs due to wrong posture, but sometimes it can be caused by injury from a fall, contact sports, or whiplash. Even if most of time this is not a serious condition, in some cases it can indicate a severe illness.
Try these 3 simple ways to relieve neck pain and if the pain persists and is severe seek medical attention.
1. Epsom salt bath. It will help you release the ache fast and it will relax your entire body. Epsom salt is known to ease the pain and relieve inflammation and it’s also a great remedy for sore muscle. It can help regulate electrolytes in your body, ensuring proper functioning of the muscles and nerves.
Add 2 cups of Epsom salt to a warm bathtub full of water and soak the neck in the bath for at leat 10 minutes. In water, this salt breaks down into magnesium and sulfate and your body will absorb these substances through the skin.
2. Manual Cervical Traction. You can alleviate the pressure if you apply gentle traction to the neck for 2 or 3 minutes. You’ll need a friend to help you out. Lie down on your back and use a folded towel to create more space and allow the blood vessels to be released.
All you have to do is place the towel in the occipital area. Your friend has to pull the towel towards him and hold it for 2 or 3 minutes. Repet the exercises 2 or 3 times.
3. Increase your magnesium intake. This mineral helps the muscles to relax after a contraction. You can find it in fruits, vegetables,soy products and whole grains, so make sure you eat these types of foods daily. You can also use a magnesium oil. Apply it directly to the skin after a warm bath and you’ll feel better.
Neck and back pain can restrict your mobility and capacity. If you don’t do anything about your pains, they can get worse, spread, and further restrict you. This usually is because your muscles have tensed around your immediate pain area to protect that spot. Such enlargement decreases mobility and can turn a closed muscle under the shoulder blade painful. You must contact the best doctors for back pain.
Cause of Pain
Lifting heavy things improperly
Our attachment to mobile screens is likely also to blame for the upper back and neck pain. Being on a computer desk all day long, bending your neck for reading on your phone while coming back home, and bending down to watch TV for several hours are ways to increase pain.
What to Do with Pain
When you feel that you have injured your back, ease the pressure on your back. In fact, many people have little choice–their back pain will force them to fall down to their knees or “freeze” in a bent-down position.
Cold and Heat
Remember this rule:’ Ice for the first 48 hours, then heat compress.’ Heat and ice will reduce the pain of muscle and ligament. Remember this rule. Ice reduces swelling and inflammation, acting as a local anesthetic, but it loses its effect after 48 hours. Temperature consequently increases blood flow to the profound tissues and relaxes muscle spasms.
The body’s defensive mechanism against discomfort or injury is inflammation marked by redness, heat, swelling, and pain. To help relieve and alleviate pain, it is often recommended to use over-the-counter medicines, such as ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, aspirin or ketoprofen.
A gentle massage can be a relief if you have a supportive partner by relaxing the tight muscles and ligaments.
Walking with a healthy posture might also help. A good way to visualize a healthy posture is by imagining a suspension line that connects your middle chest to the ceiling.
Your sleep may also interfere with back and muscle pain. According to the National Sleep Foundation, your muscles relax in your deepest stages of sleep. This is also the time when your body releases the hormone of human growth. If you lose sleep due to pain in your back or chest, you lose the chance to recover.
Seeing a Doctor
If you have a hit on your neck or back, such as playing football, or in a car accident, you can see a neck pain specialist in OKC right away. You might be confronted with a commotion or internal injury. Any numbness is also an indication that you should check with your healthcare provider. See your doctor if you try to treat the pain at home and do not fix it after two weeks.
Contact Neuroscience Specialist for the best doctors for back pain.
**Information presented here is not intended to be qualified medical advice. Nothing expressed herein creates a doctor-patient relationship.
LOOKING FOR SOMETHING?
Professional massage is a great way to deal with stiff neck and back and shoulder pain. But not always you have the time or money to afford being massaged by a professional
Physiotherapist Nadia Perez, from Los Angeles, recommends the three following simple techniques for self-massaging. These techniques can help in such situations, and are simple to practice.
1. Self-Massaging Your Neck
This technique is recommended in situations where you have severe pain in the neck and you cannot turn your head to the side. All you need is a yoga cube or harder sponge and a tennis ball.
Take the yoga cube in one hand and the ball in the other. Stand one foot away from the wall, while facing it, and throw your left leg back. Hold the cube against the wall, before your right shoulder and place the ball between the cube and your neck’s curve. Slowly press your body against the wall. Then repeat the exercise on the other side of the neck.
2. Self-Massaging The Upper Part of Your Back
Pain in the neck is often associated with back pain. So when we are massaging the neck, it is recommended to massage your back, whether you feel pain in it or not. Stand with your back facing the wall.
Place the tennis ball between the top of the right shoulder and spine and lean your body to the wall. Make a circular motion with your hand in order to massage the internal muscles as well.
3. Stretching The Neck And Chest
Continuous usage of mobile phones, computers and improper sleeping are forcing us to pull our neck forward which leads to stiffness and pain in the body. Therefore occasionally we need to stretch the neck and back.
Stand with your hands placed behind your back and lift your head slowly in order to stretch your whole body and neck. While you are doing this remember not to relax your stomach. Hold the spine in a neutral position. Hold the body in this position from 20 to 30 seconds.