Let’s face it, our lifestyles have changed drastically compared to the days that our parents and grandparents went through. Instead of heading out doing jobs that require more manual effort, people nowadays are sitting at their work desks and sitting on a chair for hours on end. That can’t be comfortable at all, let alone healthy.
Because of the fact that we aren’t moving as much and that we’re looking down at our phones a lot, a lot of pressure is placed on our neck. Don’t take it as just a regular neck ache though – neck pain can be a real serious problem!
What are some common symptoms and causes of neck pain?
Neck pain is caused by the nerves, muscles and joints in the cervical spine, which makes it possible for our head to move in all directions. Usual cases of neck pain are not severe and can disappear within a few days. However, if it happens too often then it’s definitely something to look at since discomfort in the neck can cause a lot of problems later.
There can be many causes of neck pain, hence it’s always advisable to seek professional advice from a chiropractor to determine the main cause for your neck pain and what are the best ways to effectively treat it.
- Getting a neck injury from an accident or fall – Strong impacts on the neck from a fall or accident can significantly damage the bones and nerves in your neck. This is the main factor for most neck trauma.
- Poor posture – Time to get off your phones, tablets and computers! Sitting and standing in a fixed position for too long can stretch your neck muscles too much and cause spasms. In worst-case scenarios, it can also lead to bone degeneration and affect other organs in the body.
- Sleeping positions – Another form of having poor posture, the way you sleep also affects your neck. If you have a habit of propping your pillow way too high or sleeping on your stomach, that can also lead to a stiff neck.
- Stress – Who would’ve known mental and emotional stress can also cause problems for your neck? The higher the stress, the more stiff your neck and shoulders become because your muscles and tendons start to tense which can also damage the nerves.
What are the exercises that relieve neck pain?
Even after seeing a chiropractor, it’s always a good idea to adopt some neck exercises that can help speed up the recovery process when you experience neck pain. In fact, neck exercises are also great to do to ensure that your neck muscles do not tense up as often when you’re overcome with stress.
Here are a few mobilisation exercises that comprise of passive movements that are easy to do at home, and can help with relieving your neck pain and improve your spine and neck alignment. Because the structure of the neck is compromised, stretching exercises can potentially cause more harm than good to the soft tissues in the neck.
- A normal-sized towel (doesn’t have to be too big, but not too small)
- A yoga mat (if you don’t have one, that’s fine – as long as you’re laying on a clean, flat surface)
- A foam roll
a) Returning your neck to its natural curvature
- First, fold your towel into a quarter square and roll it up. Make sure that the roll is nice and tight.
- Lay down on your yoga mat and place the roll directly under your neck, not on your head.
- Make sure your head is touching the floor as much as possible.
- Place your arms wide open at either side of your body.
- Hold in the same position for 5 minutes.
The longer you stay in this position, the more time muscles, ligaments and joints in your neck have to get used to it. If it hurts, try again another day for 10 minutes and so on until you can eventually reach the goal of maintaining this position for 13-15 minutes without feeling stiff or pain.
If you’re someone with a bigger, taller build, just add in a small water bottle and wrap the towel in between it to make it more solid.
b) Straightening your hunched spine
- Lay your foam roll on the mat vertically.
- Lay on your back and balance on the foam roll – your head touching and laying flat, as well as your lower back.
- Make sure there is no open space between your lower back and the foam roll.
- Drop and relax your shoulders and arms on either side of your body.
- Hold in the same position for 5 minutes.
The time frame to do this exercise is the same as the one above; start out with 5 minutes, before moving up to 10 minutes, and a maximum of 13-15 minutes. Remember not to use your phone at all while doing these exercises, otherwise, you would separate your shoulder blades and that will change the angles of your arms and neck. Make sure that you also maintain a neutral eye level position as doing something such as watching TV can also distract you and change your body angle. All the effort that you’ve put in would have gone to waste then!
It’s recommended to do these neck exercises daily to help prevent regular occurrences of neck pain and balance the built-up stress in the neck and spine. However, if you feel pain more than pressure, causing numbness in the arms or giving you a headache, avoid continuation and stop.
c) Tucking your chin
- Stand on your feet, shoulder wide apart.
- Stand near a wall or door, or any flat surface, and make sure your upper back is touching the surface.
- With your head facing forward, pull your head back by tucking in your chin so that your head touches the wall.
- Hold for 5 seconds, and repeat for another 10 times.
Depending on your line of work, if you’re someone who has a job that requires you to constantly look at your computer or phone, your head moves forward. This causes your neck and shoulders to be under a lot of pressure because of the need to provide support for your head. Tucking your chin in can prevent the additional build-up of stress on the neck and return the neck to its natural position.
Chiropractors Can Help You With Neck Pain
If you’ve been doing all these exercises but your neck pain is too painful for you to continue further, then it’s highly suggested that you pay a visit to your nearest chiropractic clinic. Chiropractors are highly experienced individuals that help to provide more specialised approaches such as the Upper Cervical Specific Chiropractic care to deal with issues like neck pain.
Vitality Chiropractic Centres in Singapore can help you get your body back into its working state again. Our doctor will examine your condition and perform a number of nerve scans, bio-mechanical x-rays and neurological tests to determine the most effective way to relieve your neck pain. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions, we’d be glad to help you in any way that we can!