About 4 in 5 Americans experience neck pain in their lifetimes. And for nearly half of those people, the pain is chronic.
While neck pain can be caused by an underlying condition like arthritis or degenerative disc disease, it isn’t always. For many people, neck pain is fueled by their everyday habits.
Your neck consists of bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves that all work together to support your head. And many factors — from your sleeping position to your posture at work — could be causing neck pain and stiffness.
If you’ve noticed pesky neck pain over the last few days or weeks, don’t ignore it. Peter Le, DC, at Spinal Stenosis and Disc Center, Inc. in Santa Monica, California, is here to diagnose the cause of your pain and find remedies to relieve it.
Is your lifestyle contributing to your neck pain? Now’s the time to find out.
Incorrect sleeping position
You spend about a third of your life sleeping, and how you sleep can affect your spine health over time. Sleeping on your back or your side generally keeps your spine in a neutral position during the night.
But sleeping on your stomach could put extra strain on your back and your neck. Eventually, a poor sleeping position like this could lead to neck pain and stiffness.
If you’re a stomach sleeper, consider changing your sleeping position to take pressure off your neck. Look for a firm mattress and a pillow that comfortably supports your head to give your neck a break.
Your body positioning during the day affects neck health too. Between smartphones, tablets, computers, and TV, most Americans spend much of the day looking at screens. When you’re focused on a screen, it’s easy to let your shoulders slouch and your head drift forward.
“Tech neck” is the nickname given to poor posture while using screens. Spending hours in a hunched position puts strain on your neck, and tech neck is a leading cause of neck pain among people of all ages.
To fight tech neck, pay attention to your head position when you use screens. Keep your neck in a neutral position by adjusting your workspace and elevating your screen so it’s at eye level. Focus on keeping your ears aligned above your shoulders and maintain a straight spine. Take regular breaks to help avoid eye strain.
A sedentary lifestyle
If you have neck pain, the thought of working out might make you cringe. But a lack of activity may actually contribute to worsening neck pain.
Being sedentary contributes to stiffness and loss of mobility in your joints. To combat pain and stiffness, consider participating in low-impact aerobic exercises. Even gentle exercise boosts blood flow in your body and helps eliminate stiffness.
Aim to get about 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week. If you’re not sure what type of exercise is best for you, Dr. Le can recommend neck stretches and exercises to improve function and reduce pain.
Breaking bad habits and introducing healthy ones isn’t easy, but it can make a big difference if you have neck pain and stiffness. At Spinal Stenosis and Disc Center, Inc., we can help you find chiropractic care and adopt new lifestyle habits to make your neck pain a thing of the past.
Learn more about improving spine health and reducing neck pain with a consultation. Call us at 310-451-5851 or request your first appointment online now.