There’s nothing worse than waking up with a stiff neck. Not only does a stiff neck limit your range of motion, but it can also make simple tasks like driving to work or turning your head excruciating.
Considering the amount of time we all spend in front of computer screens, tablets and other electronic devices, it’s no wonder neck pain is such a common problem. Staring straight ahead or down and at an angle takes a significant toll on the muscles, tendons and ligaments in your neck, resulting in wear and tear, swelling, and inflammation.
Although there’s no way to prevent neck pain entirely, there are plenty of things you can do to relieve it using natural, noninvasive means. Here are a few of our top recommendations.
1.) Practice good posture. Many of us have a tendency to slouch when we sit or stand. Unfortunately, slouching places additional weight on your neck and shoulders, increasing the risk of an injury. Throughout the day, try to remind yourself to practice good posture. To do this, keep the bottom of your earlobes directly above your shoulders. If you can’t get the feel for it, practice by standing in front of a mirror.
2.) Use a supportive pillow. If your pillow doesn’t adequately support your head and neck, it increases tension on the muscles, tendons and ligaments in your spine. As that tension increases, you’re more likely to experience neck pain and stiffness. Try to find a pillow that cradles your neck, regardless of sleep position. Memory foam is particularly effective at aligning the spine.
3.) Stretch your neck regularly. Your neck contains 26 muscles that work in concert, helping you turn and flex your head in all directions. These soft tissues are tough and can withstand plenty of wear and tear, but they’re also susceptible to injury. Keep the muscles in your neck healthy by stretching them regularly. Set aside 10-15 minutes for a quick yoga routine. If you’re unsure where to begin, watch this video from Spine-Health.
4.) Visit your doctor of chiropractic. Sometimes, conservative at-home measures aren’t enough to relieve neck pain. If your symptoms persist for more than a few days, or they interfere with your ability to go to work or exercise, make an appointment with your doctor of chiropractic. Following a comprehensive exam and a discussion of your symptoms, your DC can design a custom treatment plan that helps you feel better. Usually, treatment includes a combination of neuromusculoskeletal adjustments, healthy lifestyle changes and regular exercise.