Are you suffering from chronic neck pain? Most of us have suffered from stiff neck or neck pain at some point. In addition to pain, other symptoms that may accompany neck pain include:
- Muscle spasm
- Nerve and bone pain
- Poor sleep
The good news is that there are habits you can adopt to prevent and lessen your neck pain. A case in point is the use of a neck support pillow, often referred to as a cervical pillow.
A supportive pillow helps support the natural curvature of the upper part of your backbone also known as the cervical spine. This helps prevent neck pain and relieves any existing neck aches. Here are other good habits that you can adopt to fight back neck pain
1. Drink Lots of Water
Staying hydrated is good for your health. Ensure you drink at least 1.2 liters of water daily, or more if you’re exercising during hot weather.
Drinking enough water also helps the spinal discs in your neck stay hydrated. These discs are made of 80% water, and keeping them hydrated ensures they remain pain-free.
2. Use the Correct Sitting Posture
Wrong sitting posture is a common cause of neck pain. This is further aggravated by the fact that most people are now sitting in front of computers for long hours. Most people often slouch instead of sitting up straight when using computers.
Adjust your computer monitor such that your eyes are directed at the top third part of the screen. You may also need to adjust the height of your office chair to ensure you’re not straining your neck or back. Getting an agronomic chair is another effective way to reduce back and neck pain caused by poor sitting posture.
3. Try Swimming
Water therapy which involves moving around in water often helps relieve muscle pain. When you’re in the water, you become more buoyant, and your body weight is also reduced, making it easier for you to stretch or exercise your painful neck.
Besides, the soothing properties of water help massage your aching muscles, allowing them to relax.
Aquatic therapy further helps compress the painful muscles through hydrostatic pressure, which helps alleviate neck stiffness and pain. Being in water also dilates your blood vessels, causing improved blood circulation to your sore neck muscles.
4. Use Headphones
Constantly looking down on your phone is one of the common causes of tech neck. Tech neck refers to the strain and injury on your spine and neck muscles caused by the constant use of smartphones, computers, and tablets.
When you regularly look down at your phone, your neck muscles are constantly strained as they try to keep your head up. Eventually, you’ll start suffering from painful neck muscles. One way to relieve tech neck is to use earbuds or headphones. Using a headset ensures you don’t have to bend your head down to receive a call.
5. Change Your Pillow
Do you know your pillow may be the cause of your neck pain?
A pillow is supposed to provide proper support for your head, which reduces the pressure on your neck. A pillow that isn’t firm enough or one that doesn’t support your head correctly often causes a stiff neck.
When choosing a pillow, go for one that supports the natural curve of your spine. A pillow that bends your neck to the side, upwards, or downwards isn’t good for spine and head support.
Here are other factors to consider when buying a cervical pillow:
- Your sleeping position
- Type of pillow material
- Fill material
6. Get a Good Night’s Rest
Lack of enough sleep can make your neck pain worse. When you’re sleeping, your aching neck muscles and tissues are repaired, which helps them heal.
Unfortunately, most habits that many of us engage in before sleep only serve to increase sleepiness and neck pain. For instance, watching TV or scrolling on your phone just before bedtime will negatively affect your ability to sleep, and it isn’t good for your neck pain either.
7. Do Some Stretching Exercises
When you sit down for too long, your muscles become stiff.
If you have a job that requires you to sit down for long hours, take some stretching breaks once in a while and stretch your neck, back, and shoulders.
You can also try out neck stretching exercises if you have a stiff neck. Some good neck and shoulder stretching exercises that can be done at home or in the office include:
- Rolling your shoulders back severally
- Push your shoulder blades together
- Pull your chin and head back until you feel a stretch at the top of your neck
8. Change Your Sleeping Posture
Many people suffering from neck pain often get some relief after changing to the back sleeping posture.
A back sleeping position allows your spine to rest in its natural position. You can also place a pillow under each of your arms when sleeping in this posture to reduce neck pressure.
If you find it impossible to sleep on your back, try the side posture but ensure you use a medium or high loft pillow. While in this position, use a pillow that is at least 4 inches (ca. 10 centimeters) thick to protect your neck from bending unnaturally.
The stomach sleeping position is the least recommended posture for people with neck pain. This posture will not only strain your back and neck, but it will also make your neck pain worse.
Hopefully, now you know about some habits that help prevent and lessen your neck pain. Try out some of the tips we have shared above, and let us know how it goes in the comments section below. Also, don’t hesitate to consult your doctor if your neck pain persists.