Neck pain is a result of weakened muscles due to poor posture. The CDC reports that nearly 20% of people have experienced neck pain in the last three months, which is no surprise since we are constantly gazing into our computers and looking down at smartphones.
Everyday life can be hard on the muscles in your neck. Muscles get tired from misuse and that can cause the joints to become stiff. The joint will often catch on something, pulling a muscle or pinching a nerve causing instant pain and the muscle to spasm.
5 Ways to Relieve Neck Pain
Employ proper stretching techniques to help relieve strain on your muscles. Here are some stretches you can do at home or at work when your neck feels stiff:
- Roll your shoulders back 10 times
- Bring your ear to your shoulder, 10 times on both sides
- Push your shoulder blades together 10 times.
Drinking water throughout the day is important to your overall health, but muscles and discs in the neck and back require a lot of water. Spinal discs are roughly 80% water at birth, and the ratio decreases throughout your life. Proper hydration may help reduce the risk of degeneration and help reduce neck pain.
Make Ergonomic Adjustments
Adjust the position of your computer so you can see it without having to look down. Instead of looking down at your phone or tablet, hold your device at a higher level or prop it up at a 45-degree angle to help reduce strain on the muscles in your neck. Take frequent breaks from looking at screens.
Magnesium aids in the contraction and relaxation of muscles, so increasing your magnesium intake may help avoid pain. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are good sources of magnesium, and can also be absorbed through your skin by taking an Epsom salt bath or applying magnesium oil after a warm shower.
Reversing poor posture is tricky, so by frequently moving and taking breaks from sitting helps reduce pain and muscle strains. If you sit at a desk for work, adjust positions in your chair and be careful to not sit for long periods of time without getting up to move and walk.
There are small things you can do at home, at work, or on-the-go that help decrease your risk of chronic neck pain. If the pain worsens, it is important to speak to your doctor so they can help determine the underlying cause of the pain.
Cleveland Clinic: Stiff Neck Simple Remedies
Harvard Health: Ways to Ease Neck Pain
Spine Health: Easing Neck Pain