Neck pain is a commonplace occurrence that stems from a combination of poor posture and a condition called “tech neck,” the standard position of the head for someone using a smartphone or laptop. Both cause strain to the muscles in your neck, since your head gets heavier the further it’s lowered. In fact, at a 60 degree angle, your head could weigh over 60 pounds. Waking up with a sore neck is also incredibly common and affects over 13 percent of Americans every single day. Here are some common solutions to soothing a stiff or aching neck.
Many people in the workforce spend over eight hours in a desk chair staring at a computer. This setup can lead to hunched posture, sore necks and aching backs. The next time you go into work, make sure your space is ergonomic and designed for your comfort. There are a few ways this can be done:
- Adjust your desk chair so you can sit with your feet flat on the floor and your knees lower than your hips.
- While sitting, make sure your back is straight, your feet are firmly on the floor and your arms are level to your desk. If you chair does not have lumbar support, roll up a towel and place behind the small of your back.
- Adjust your computer screen so it is at eye level. If you use a laptop at work, consider investing in a stand to increase the height of your screen. Additionally, whenever you check your smartphone, bring it up to eye level so you don’t strain your neck muscles while scrolling through Facebook.
- Make sure your keyboard is at an ergonomic position. It’s recommended that your keyboard sit four to six inches away from the edge of your desk so your wrists can rest while you type.
- Stand up and stretch regularly. Getting up once an hour, even to just walk to the bathroom or kitchen, can get the blood flowing and give your muscles a rest.
Everyone can benefit from some easy stretches throughout the day, regardless of whether or not they exclusively sit at a desk. Implement a few stretches into your daily routine, adding in shoulder rolls before breakfast or controlled head tilts before bed.
In general, sleeping on your back is the best position for your neck and spine. If you routinely sleep on your side or stomach, consider investing in a neck supporting pillow that can relieve the stress on your muscles while you sleep.
While neck pain is common, it is also easily preventable. Use some of these tips and tricks to ensure your muscles are used properly throughout the day. If your neck pain persists, consider seeing a licensed chiropractor, like Back Pain Doctor, who can suggest additional lifestyle changes and perform minor spinal adjustments to alleviate the pain.