3 tips to help with neck pain

As many are at home waiting for Covid-19 quarantine to end, you may find you’re spending more time at the computer or watching tv, in addition to high levels of stress, this may cause neck pain. Neck pain has many causes which can include, poor posture, arthritis, whiplash, muscle strains, grinding your teeth and even improper pillow positions when sleeping. In most cases, when your muscles become tired and strained, pain will often follow.

Here’s a list of simple techniques that may help relieve your neck pain:

1) Stretch:

There are a few muscles that are commonly associated with pain in the upper back and neck. Here are a couple of stretches that you can do throughout the day to help decrease your pain.

Stretch #1:  Sitting or standing with a relaxed posture, keep your shoulders down and bring your left ear to your left shoulder. You should feel the stretch on the right side of your neck. Repeat the stretch on the other side and hold the stretch for 10 seconds, for a total of three repetitions per side.

Stretch #2: Sitting or standing with a relaxed posture, keep your shoulders down and tilt your head as far forward as you can, then align your right eye with the outside of your left knee. Use your left hand on your head to create more of a stretch. You should feel this stretch on the right side of your upper back. Repeat the stretch on the other side and hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Important not to put too much pressure with your hand, around 1-2/10 intensity is more than enough to hold for 30 seconds. Stretching too rigorously can have side effects and increase neck pain.

2) Strengthen:

A simple exercise you can do at home to help with your neck pain is chin tucks. Chin tucks work on strengthening the deep neck muscles. This exercise can be performed standing or laying down. If you are standing, ensure that you are standing with a neutral posture, then actively pull your chin back, as if to create a double chin. If laying down, gently press the back of your head into the pillow, creating a double chin. Hold either of the variations for 10 seconds and repeat three times. Do not contract too rigorously, around 50% muscle contractions is more than enough to strengthen. If you do full contractions you may risk giving yourself a headache or straining another muscle.

3) Keep moving!

Don’t let yourself sit at the computer or watch tv without changing positions. Set a timer on your phone for 20 minutes and stand up/stretch out every time it goes off. It’s very easy to forget how long it has been since we’ve moved so use a timer. If you hunch over for hours, it will be painful!

When to consider chiropractic care?

If you experience neck pain, book an appointment with Dr. Ling. You will be assessed and recommended a course of treatments that are best for you. These treatments will include spinal adjustments, myofascial release and rehabilitative exercises. Dr. Ling will also discuss potential aggravating factors that may be causing your symptoms. Most people respond very quickly to mechanic neck pain and can return to regular activities if treated early on.