Neck pain is one of the most common musculoskeletal complaints that drive a patient to seek chiropractic care. In fact, experts suggest that up to 70% of adults in the US will experience neck pain that interferes with their daily activities during their lifetimes. But did you know that outside of illness or injury, some of your daily habits may be the cause of neck pain? Read on to discover the link between neck pain, poor posture, and daily habits.
Defining Neck Pain
It’s a pain in the neck, sure, but sometimes it’s more than just an aching sensation in your neck. Other symptoms of neck pain can include:
- Muscle tightness or spasms
- Limited head or neck mobility
- Pain, tingling, and numbness in the shoulders neck, and arms
Neck Pain and Poor Posture
There’s a reason your mom always said to stand up straight, one of the primary culprits behind neck pain is poor posture. Many of us today lead sedentary lives meaning hours of sitting in front of a computer or television. Bad posture can take your spine out of its natural position leading to vertebral misalignments which can result in disc pain, sciatica, and other problems that stem from the neck down.
Increased Stress on the Cervical Spine
Another element of poor posture is spending long periods of time with your head extended forward. Think for a moment about the position you sit in while looking at your phone or tablet. Now, consider that the human head weighs between 10 and 14 pounds, and every inch extended adds 10 lbs to the weight your neck must carry. This results in a condition known as “Tech Neck” and it can lead to a host of ailments above and beyond neck pain.
Neck Pain and Your Daily Habits
There are certain daily habits that many of us tend to have that can either cause neck pain or significantly aggravate existing neck pain. Once you become more aware of these, you’ll be able to make conscious efforts to improve on them or avoid them to help minimize or even eliminate your pain and discomfort. Let’s go over the daily habits that may be the culprit of your neck pain:
A Hard Days Night
Everyone knows that few things are better for the body than a good night’s sleep. But nagging neck pain can ruin that and can last for days. Oftentimes, however, the culprit can be the position that you sleep in, particularly If you have a tendency to sleep on your stomach. This is because when you lay on your stomach, your neck stays on one side for long periods, which can be stressful for the neck.
It’s also important to remember that the type of pillow you use can make a huge difference. There are types of pillows created for each type of sleeper, but no matter which pillow you choose, it should be able to support the natural curve of your neck thereby ensuring that the neck and spine stay relaxed throughout the night and not overstretched or stressed.
The Long Commute
If your work involves a long commute or hours spent traveling, your time behind the wheel can lead to neck pain. It can be hard to get comfortable in a car, and many of us will have a tendency to hunch over the steering wheel.
This position can overwork the muscles that are trying to maintain your forward head position and counterbalance the pull of gravity. Because of this, your muscles become highly susceptible to strains and spasms. Additionally, when your head is in a forward posture, your shoulders tend to move forward, and your upper back rounds up. Unfortunately, this brings more pain in the back, upper back, and shoulders.
Work, Work, Work
If you are among the many who work in front of a computer for a living you’re probably unaware of the stress it’s putting on your body. You may think that because you are seated there isn’t stress being put on your muscles. But the truth is that sitting for extended hours without proper back and neck support can exhaust your muscles, adding strain and stress until the pain starts showing up.
Heavy lifting can include anything from grocery bags to your backpack or purse. Lifting incorrectly can cause misalignments, muscle strains, and spasms. Always use your legs when lifting heavy objects. If you carry a purse or backpack over one should be sure to alternate the weight often.
Sports and Exercise
Sports and athletic activities are not only good for your health, they reinvigorate your mind, promote good eating habits, fill your lungs with air and even increase your metabolism. But what happens when we practice bad techniques? Whether it’s doing crunches in the gym, riding your bike, lifting weights, or swimming lap after lap, there is always a possibility of straining the neck or working one side while not working the other.
Not Dealing with Stress
Stress and anxiety have a way of affecting not only your mind but your body as well. If you regularly experience any form of anxiety or stress, it can easily develop into neck and back pain over time. Be sure you find ways to destress on a regular basis to avoid any adverse effects.
Finding Gentle, Drug-Free Relief From Neck Pain
Many people have resigned themselves to the idea that neck pain is a regular part of life. At Atlas Specific, we discourage you from thinking this way. In fact, we know that living a pain-free life is not only ideal but highly possible with upper cervical care. If you live in the Durango, Bayfield, Ignacio, or Four Corners Region, contact us today by visiting our Durango office, calling us at 970 – 259 – 6803, or clicking the link below to schedule a free consultation.
Notice of Disclaimer:
We are doctors of upper cervical chiropractic, but we are NOT necessarily YOUR doctors. All content and information on this website is for informational and educational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice, and reading or interacting with this site does not establish any form of patient-doctor relationship. Although we strive to provide accurate information, the information presented here is not intended as a substitute for any kind of professional advice and you should not rely solely on this information. Always consult a professional in your particular area of need before making medical decisions.