Common Problems: Neck Pain
This month at Fine Form Physio we take a look at neck pain.
At some point in our lives, the average Australian will experience neck pain, what is worse is that it is common for upper back pain to coincide with neck pain. Even worse still, chronic neck pain can lead to headaches.
The good news is that most types of headaches and neck pain can be treated and prevented through simple changes in your lifestyle.
So here are 8 tips, to help you look after yourself and prevent injury.
1. Move regularly
When sitting/lying in one position for prolonged periods of time, it can put a lot of pressure on the neck and surrounding muscles, which can lead to increased joint stiffness and muscle tightness. Try to move every 30-45 mins, this could be a basic neck/upper back stretch or a quick walk around the block.
2. Invest in a good pillow
We spend on average 6-8 hours of our day in bed sleeping, so make sure that the pillow you choose supports your neck appropriately. Your pillow should hold your neck and head in a neutral position when we sleep. General rule of thumb, if you sleep on your side, try using a thicker pillow and if you sleep on your back try a thinner pillow.
3. Improve your ergonomic workspace
Don't put unnecessary stress on your neck, shoulders and back. Here is a few tips to help you with your set up.
Sit back into your chair, keeping your back straight
Use a stand or books to lift the top of the monitor to the level of your eye
Pull your chair close to the desk so you can rest your forearms on the desk
Use a footrest to allow your knees and elbows to rest at 90 degrees whilst you work
4. Do some stretches
Neck stretches are another easy way to help prevent neck pain. They only take a few minutes and can easily be done. Prolonged sitting during work, or a lot of leaning forward/bending can cause strain on neck and upper back. Seek guidance and specific exercises from your physiotherapist.
5. Talking on the phone
It is best to not cradle your phone between your ear and shoulder, that will tighten the muscles between your shoulder blade and neck placing strain on the joints of the neck and the surrounding muscles. Where possible a hands-free headset is optimal otherwise if holding a phone to your ear, make sure the shoulder carrying the phone is relax and at a distance from the ear.
6. Carrying bags
Try to keep your bags light, carrying heavy bags regularly or for long periods can overwork your neck/shoulder muscles. Wearing backpacks appropriately put much less stress on the neck and shoulder, as the weight is spread evenly across both sides.
7. Good Posture
The average head weighs approximately 5-6kg. We have 7 vertebrae in our neck which are designed to withstand that weight. A forward head position sustained from poor posture will shift the weight of the skull on to the upper vertebrae which can lead to increased joint stiffness, neck pain and headaches. When sitting, try to make sure your ear lobe is sitting above the top of your shoulder and not infront.
8. Exercise regularly
Keeping active will help to keep your postural muscles working appropriately and help to minimise stiffness in your neck. It will also give you a better night's sleep.
🤕🤷♂️Need to see a Physio? Struggling with pain or Injury? 🤕🤷♂️
COME SEE US AT FINE FORM PHYSIOTHERAPY WE ARE OPEN AND READY TO HELP YOU. If you are in need of treatment, please do give us a call at FINE FORM PHYSIO 02 8068 6776.