It's reasonable to say that most of us have awoken with neck pain or can recall an event or accident that resulted in neck discomfort at some point in our lives.
Muscles, tendons, and ligaments in and around the cervical spine—commonly referred to as the soft tissues—cause neck discomfort (the neck).
Muscle tension and spasm are typically caused by an underlying neck condition, such as spinal stenosis, arthritis, or disc degeneration, and can be precipitated by trauma, but they often happen insidiously, or for no apparent or detectable reason.
Whether you have a persistent illness or have just woken up with a stiff neck, the following suggestions should help you feel better.
To prevent your neck from being damaged, follow these ten guidelines:
Invest in a New Pillow
There are various alternatives for neck comfort and support when sleeping, and it may take some trial and error to figure out what works best for you. As a general guideline, use a pillow that keeps your cervical spine in neutral alignment—that is, one that supports and maintains the natural curve of your neck.
There are several solutions available, and which one is ideal for you will be decided by the origin of your neck problem as well as your sleeping habits. Listed below are a few examples:
- Some people find that lying on their back with their head supported by a reasonably flat cushion or an orthopedic pillow with a deeper depression where the head sits and more support under the neck helps to relieve neck discomfort.
- Others feel that side-lying is more pleasant with the assistance of a pillow.
- Some people like to sit in a chair or an adjustable bed with an upper-body incline. They can utilise a small or somewhat flat cushion in this reclined position.
If you're like most people, you'll switch positions during the night, so make sure you have a pillow—or many pillows—that can accommodate each of your sleeping positions.
If Possible, Sleep on your Back
- Sleeping on your back, in general, is the ideal posture for allowing your entire spine to rest comfortably. Some patients with neck pain find it beneficial to sleep on their backs with a pillow under each arm, supposing that supporting each arm relieves neck pressure.
- Sleeping at a small elevation may be easier for some individuals with spinal arthritis or stenosis, so they add a foam wedge cushion to their bed or transfer it to an adjustable bed.
Make Sure the Monitor on your Computer is at Eye Level
- Close your eyes and sit comfortably in front of your computer. Your attention should be directly on the top-third of your computer screen when you open them. You should elevate your monitor if you find yourself looking down.
- Because you must typically bend your head downward to see the screen of a laptop, connecting your laptop to an external monitor, or screen, is often quite useful.
Texting should not cause Neck Strain
- Texting or staring at your phone or another mobile device for long periods puts a lot of strain on your neck.
- The additional stress on your neck's joints, ligaments, and discs over time might cause early degenerative changes. Raising the phone or mobile device to eye level, reducing texting time, resting your hands and device on a cushion, and taking frequent pauses are all good ways to reduce neck injuries from texting.
Make use of a Headset
- Avoid tilting your head to the side or cradling your phone in the crook of your neck if you spend a lot of time on the phone.
- A hands-free gadget, such as a headset or earpiece, is an excellent method to converse on the phone without being tempted to hold it inappropriately.
Stretch and Exercise your Neck
- Do small sets of strengthening and stretching exercises throughout the day to keep your neck muscles strong. The chin tuck is one of the easiest exercises to perform.
- The muscles that lift the head into alignment over the shoulders are strengthened with this exercise. The scalene and suboccipital muscles are also stretched.
Keep yourself Hydrated
- Another reason to drink enough water throughout the day is to hydrate and feed the discs in your neck, which are spongy structures that sit between the vertebrae. Because these discs are largely formed of water, staying hydrated will help keep them malleable and robust.
- Drink at least 8 big glasses of water every day, if possible. Experiment with a few different choices to determine what works best for you.
- Carry a water bottle with you at all times and drink from it.
- Set a 2-hour alarm on your watch or phone and drink a glass of water every time it goes off.
Carry Weight in a Balanced Manner
- Carrying a hefty handbag or briefcase on one side of the body is a typical error. This unbalanced weight might strain your neck muscles by causing your shoulders to become unbalanced.
- To begin, attempt to lighten your weight by carrying only what you need in your purse or briefcase, and maintain your shoulders level at all times when carrying it. Consider using a backpack that equally distributes the weight across both shoulders.
Keep a Supportive Stance
- Neck discomfort is caused by stressing the muscles and ligaments that support the neck, which can lead to damage over time.
- The most prevalent example of bad posture that causes neck discomfort is the head-and-shoulders forward stance. When the neck slants forward, the head is placed in front of the shoulders.
Relieve the Discomfort of Trigger Points
- Muscle trigger point sensations might be caused by irritation to the facet joints of the lower cervical vertebrae in your neck. Trigger points are tiny knots in the muscle or fascia (a layer of tissue beneath the skin that surrounds the muscle) that can cause discomfort.
- You may work these trigger points and alleviate discomfort by giving yourself a massage. These exercises are described in detail in trigger point exercises for neck pain.
However, if you have some serious neck issues then you can use neck collars and soft neck collars according to your need to avoid further neck pain.
The objective of a neck collar is to support your neck and spinal cord while also limiting neck and head mobility. They're usually only intended to be used temporarily while you recuperate from an accident, surgery, or discomfort.
However, a neck brace or cervical collar is a temporary device that aids in the healing and pain relief of your neck. To get the most out of your neck brace, make sure you wear it correctly. If your neck brace is painful, tell your doctor. A proper neck brace should reduce motion but not create discomfort.