A large number of Americans report experiencing neck pain at some point in their lives. In fact, in 2009 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a survey that found that almost 20 percent of Americans experienced some form of neck pain over a three month period. This post looks at some of the common causes of neck pain as well as some of the ways that you can relieve any pain you experience.
One of the most common causes of neck pain is poor posture. Today a large percent of Americans spend their days sitting in front of a computer at work. Staring at a computer monitor for hours on end can weaken neck joints. Other activities like continually looking down at your phone or driving long distances can also weaken the joints. Once the muscles weaken the neck joints have difficulty moving smoothly.
Since posture plays such an important role in causing neck pain, it’s important to pay careful attention to how you sit and the position that you put your neck in. If you feel your neck getting stiff, then you should do some stretching exercises to relieve the pain. Rolling your shoulders is one useful stretch that you can employ. Here’s a list of six different stretches that you should consider using.
Your sleep position also plays an important role in neck pain. Most doctors recommend that you never sleep on your stomach. When sleeping in that position you’re more likely to twist your neck. Instead, you should sleep on your back or side.
There are a number of different remedies that you can use to alleviate minor neck pain:
- Ibuprofen or other over-the-counter pain relievers can help reduce pain.
- Cover the area with a heating pad or a cold pack. Some patients find it helpful to use ice for a day and then switch to heat for the next day.
- Avoid any activity that causes you pain. This will help ensure that you don’t further exacerbate the problem.
- Massage therapy can relieve the soreness you feel.
If the pain you experience is severe then it’s time to visit a doctor. You can expect the doctor to ask you questions about the pain you feel, how it affects your everyday life, and how it affects your sleep. In some cases, your doctor may request that you get an Xray or MRI of the area in order to make sure that you don’t suffer from a more severe problem than just a stiff neck.