Neck pain can be excruciating. In many cases it is caused by very real physical damage in your cervical spine, including herniated discs or degeneration or narrowing of the spinal column caused by osteoarthritis.
But in some cases, neck pain is a matter of putting too much strain on the muscles that support your head, neck and upper back, and this strain is frequently caused by poor habits that we’re not aware of.
If you are suffering from chronic neck pain, you need to see a specialist to get your condition diagnosed and attended to immediately, but if your pain is occasional, take a look at the list below and see how many of these habits may be causing your discomfort.
- Stress – Life is definitely stressful. How do you respond to troubles you encounter at work or at home? Whether you’re aware of it or not, there’s a good chance that one of the things your body does is to tense all the muscles in your neck, and this can lead to pain. Do what you can to minimize anxiety. Yoga and meditation have proven to be extremely effective, but sometimes all you need is a walk around the block accompanied by some deep breathing.
- Heavy purse or briefcase – When you head off to work or to go shopping, do you sling a heavy bag onto your shoulder? The convenience of carrying your most important belongings may be causing you pain, as many people lug around 20 pounds or more without realizing it. Try to lighten your load by getting rid of anything that is extraneous, and if you must carry your bag around, switch to a backpack so that it spreads the burden evenly instead of making one side do all the heavy lifting.
- Smoking cigarettes – Everybody knows about the damage that cigarette smoking does to your lungs and heart, but few are aware that it also weakens your connective tissue and makes it harder for your body to heal. To improve the health of your muscles and diminish the risk of degeneration, kick your smoking habit.
- Check your posture and the way that you lift – We’ve all heard that we should ‘lift with your legs,’ but an unfortunate number of us fail to pay heed to this advice, and this results in many a sore neck and upper back. Likewise, as much as we know that we should pay attention to our postures, we’re still looking down at our smart phones, tablets and computer monitors. Pay attention to your posture and use smart mechanics when lifting heavy objects to avoid pain.
- Check your workout – Lots of us engage in aerobic activities like running, cycling, elliptical trainers or walking. But are you doing any strength training, and if you are, are you sure that you’re giving yourself the complete workout that you need? Studies have shown the importance of both strengthening your core and working on the muscles that support your neck and shoulders for minimizing back pain.
Following these tips is important for everybody, and can help to prevent unnecessary discomfort. But if you find yourself hurting on a regular basis, then you may need medical attention. Contact our office today to set up an appointment to discuss your situation and put yourself on the road to a pain-free neck and back.