Neck pain can be, well, a pain. If left alone, you may even find yourself seeking treatment for headaches and other problems frequently associated with chronic neck issues. Since neck pain is often caused by muscle stress and poor alignment, and the best chiropractor practices deal with both, going to the chiropractor may be your best bet when it comes to relieving this pain. But in order to prevent the pain in the first place, you’re going to need to examine your lifestyle, as well. Here are five common reasons for neck pain — chances are, at least one applies to you.
- You’re Slouching
Bad posture is one of the most persistent causes of neck and upper back pain. The good news is that while correcting your posture may be difficult at first, over time the big and small muscles that work together to support spinal structure (remember, your neck is the top part of the spinal column, the cervical spine) will get stronger. You’ll soon be able to hold good posture without even thinking about it.
- You’re Spending Too Much Time on the Computer
Spending all day hunched over a computer is bad for your body, period. This problem is compounded if your desk isn’t configured properly. Your monitor should be placed high enough that you can look straight ahead (never on a downward angle), and your keyboard should be on the desk or a lower keyboard tray. Obviously, this placement is impossible if you work on a laptop; if you’re currently on a laptop for hours at a time, you need to find an alternative solution, and fast. You may be able to use an auxiliary keyboard, instead of buying a whole new computer.
- You’re Using the Wrong Pillows
The reason for using a pillow is to support the natural curvature of a healthy spine. If your pillow is too tall, it may be resulting in a head position that leaves your chin tucked. There are numerous ergonomic options that provide better support than a traditional feather pillow — although they may not feel as comfortable at first, you’ll get used to them over time.
- You’re Not Letting Your Injuries Heal
After an injury, muscles take time to repair themselves and get back to full strength; that’s why physical rehab is important. If you’ve had any upper-trunk injury, you’ll want to include neck exercises in your strengthening process. Also be sure that you’re not tensing your neck muscles when you’re doing other exercises (ab exercises, for example, are a common culprit of neck tension). Your shoulders should be down and relaxed no matter how hard you’re working your core.
- You’re Neglecting Your Mental Health
Emotional stress causes your muscles to tense, and many people hold that tension in their neck and shoulders. It’s important to take time for yourself each day, relaxing and doing things that make you happy. Seek out activities that release endorphins, such as exercising or listening to your favorite music — even just smiling triggers a chemical response in the body.
Do you have any other recommendations for relieving chronic neck pain? Join the discussion in the comments.