Ways to Prevent and Alleviate Neck Pain
Types Of Neck Pain
I often see many patients for physical therapy related to severe and minor neck pain. Neck pain can be related to something as forceful as a car accident or a sports-related injury. A neck injury can be a result of something as simple as incorrect posture with sitting at work. In fact, some patients will even have increased neck pain related to improper positions while sleeping. The first type of incurred neck pain is hard to prevent because most patients are playing a sport or performing an activity and their neck symptoms occur as result improper technique. In the case of a whiplash related neck injuries, the patient is usually in a car accident and that is out of their control. The other causes of neck pain can be easily noticed and corrected which could decrease your neck pain.
Let’s take a look at some improper posture with sitting at a traditional workspace and how that causes an increase in neck pain. The picture to the bottom right is of a person with poor posture versus the correct posture while using a computer in a normal work desk environment. It is also common for many people to work from home or in a creative work space. Those new and more common work environments will also cause increased neck pain if poor posture is practiced. The second photo to the bottom left is of the non-traditional workspace and how to correct your posture.
Now let us discuss some simple but effective exercises a patient can perform in order to reduce neck pain and increase proper posture with sitting at work or at home. The first exercise is called a neck retraction or chin tuck. The second is called neck extension. I often recommend a patient perform these activities 5-6 times every one to two hours and hold the position for 1-2 seconds. The below pictures show a proper example of how to perform these exercises while at your desk.
Improper Sleep Position
Another common cause of neck pain is sleeping in the wrong position. Often many patients will come into my office and say they ended up sleeping wrong one night and woke up the next morning only to find out they had increased neck pain. They will also disclose in their intake interview that they have increased symptoms in the morning. Before I go into the examples of poor positions with sleeping versus proper positions with sleeping I want to say the worst position a patient with neck pain can place themselves in would be face down while sleeping. That particular position requires the patient to turn their head to the side for an extended period of time which will increase improper spinal alignment and induce further injury. Here a few examples of poor posture with sleeping versus proper posture with sleeping.
I hope this blog post served as a helpful guide on how to prevent and alleviate neck pain that resulted from common poor postural habits while sitting and/or sleeping. At Integrative Physical Therapy of NYC, we find just being able to identify and correct these common postural issues will make all the difference. Please feel free to contact me at [email protected] with any questions related to this or any other physical injury that may be ailing you.