Neck pain is a very common and frustrating problem to have. It can be frustrating because it can affect many different areas of your life - from sleeping to working to exercising to just your overall mood
So here are 4 common reasons why your neck won’t go away and continues to make you suffer.
- You Haven’t Actually Done Anything To Fix the Problem
This is easily the most common reason why your neck pain isn’t going away and continues to annoy, frustrate, and limit you. Or maybe your neck pain “goes away” for a few days but then rears its head again.
How can you expect anything to get better if your “treatment” method is to do nothing and just hope it disappears!?
Your body just doesn’t work like that. Think of pain as your body’s alarm system going off. This alarm is saying “something isn’t right here and you should do something about it.”
More often than not, the problem is most people simply don’t know what to do to help it…so they just continue suffering and not being able to do the things they love to do.
That's where medical professional like us at Evolve are here to help. What we do helps you get out of pain and back to doing what you love…and in our case, we can do this by offering natural, long-term relief to you problem.
2. You Are Constantly Stressed
We’ve worked with thousands & thousands of people over the years and we can easily say that we’ve noticed a big connection between neck pain and stress. Now, this doesn’t mean if you’re stressed you will get neck pain, or if you have neck pain you must be stressed.
Rather, we’ve had plenty of patients who notice a significant difference in their neck pain when they remove some stress from their lives. That’s why everyone feels better when they’re on vacation, right!?
So, if you have had lingering neck pain and are someone who is under a lot of stress – from your job, spouse, kids, etc. – we can say with almost certainty that that stress is definitely playing a role in your neck pain not going away.
We know you’ve heard this before, but finding ways to “de-stress” can have a huge effect on your neck pain (and overall health). There is no one way that works for everyone, though. Whether it be exercise, meditation, journaling, delegating more, etc; there are so many options out there to try!
So, do yourself a favor and identify your biggest stressors and try some different methods to lessen that stress.
3. You’re Sleeping in the Wrong Position
Many of our patients tell us that when they wake up in the morning their neck feels stiff, achy, and/or painful. And many of these people went to sleep without any of those feelings. So, the obvious answer is their neck was in a position while they slept that aggravated it.
We are not big fans of telling people that they have to sleep in one specific position if they have neck pain, since everyone has different preferences (and most people toss and turn anyway). However, when it comes to neck pain, we highly recommend people not sleep on their stomach – it forces you to rotate your head all the way to one side and that is usually problematic for most people with neck pain.
What we do recommend, is you sleep on your side or back. When you sleep on your side, make sure your head is level – in other words, you don’t want it to be angled down (too thin of a pillow) or up (too big or too many pillows). What seems to get a lot of people in the right position (level) is to use two pillows – one fluffy and one not so fluffy (and put the one you like to lay on on the top for comfort reasons). When someone looks at you from the side, your head should be level (or in-line with the rest of your body).
If you like to sleep on your back, make sure your head isn’t extended too much (i.e. looking at the ceiling behind you) or too high (how most people watch TV from their bed).
Try this simple tip out and see how you feel in the morning!
4. You Have “Bad” Posture at Work
We put “bad” in quotes because we’re not here to vilify posture and say that you have to sit with perfect posture all the time. Technically, there’s no such thing as perfect posture. The closest thing to “perfect posture” is moving throughout different positions throughout the day. We call that movement variability and that’s what you should aim for.
With that being said, just about everyone is guilty of sitting in a less than optimal position at work. And this can have an effect on your whole body, but most people notice it in their neck and back.
What we commonly see with people who have neck pain is that they sit in a slouched position with their heads looking slightly up and their right shoulder a little hunched up to use the mouse. If this sounds like you, then try these simple tips to get yourself into a better position:
- Adjust the height of your monitor so that it is eye-level (sit up with good posture first, then adjust the height) - put some books, a box, or stack of paper under it if it doesn't go high enough on its own.
- Position your monitor so it is directly in front of you and not off to one side. This way you're not constantly turned one way and causing stress on one side of your neck.
- Adjust the height of your desk chair so that when you put your arms by your side and bend your elbows 90 degrees (like an "L"), your hands should rest on top of the desk. If your chair is too low, then it will force you to hunch your shoulders up and if it's too high, your neck muscles will be under a constant stretch the whole day.
- Place a small pillow or towel (or sweatshirt) in the small of your back. By getting your back into a better position, your neck will follow suit and not slouch as much.
- Buy an adjustable stand-up desk (or ask your company to buy it....we know some of you probably just laughed, but what do you have to lose by asking). Again, we don't recommend people sit or stand all day long, rather that they vary the position they're in throughout the day.
These are some really easy tips to implement that have worked well for our clients in the past, so try some of these out and see how you feel.
We hope these tips helped point you in the right direction so that you can put an end to your neck pain and get back to enjoying life like you want to.
If you are still experiencing neck pain, or have any other concerns, please send us a message! One of our PT's will follow up and see how they can help!