Modern lifestyle and habits such as spending long hours in front of a computer or using mobile phones have resulted in neck pain becoming a common ailment. Other factors leading to neck pain include wear and tear, accidental trauma or sports injuries. Since lifestyle habits are the most common cause of neck pain and taking a few simple steps can prevent it.
Importance of a good posture while sitting
The natural curve of the neck deteriorates due to poor posture leading to a condition known as ‘Forward Head Position’. Common habits like slumping in front of the computer and poor posture while sitting, driving or sleeping can aggravate this condition. It is vital to be consciously aware of your posture, as this is the first step towards correction. At any point, if you feel yourself slouching or slumping or moving your head forward then immediately straighten your posture. At work, make it a point to sit on an ergonomically designed chair. Also ensure that the computer screen and keyboard are placed in a way to keep your back, neck and head in a proper posture.
Heat therapy or cold therapy
In most cases, treatment of neck pain is possible with self-care and expert guidance from a doctor. One way to provide relief to neck pain is by applying ice to the affected area. Cold therapy is preferred overheat therapy as it’s more effective in reducing inflammation and pain. It also prevents swelling by closing small blood vessels. Once the pain subsides, it’s advisable to apply heat and cold therapy alternately to the neck.
A simple exercise for neck pain
Exercising goes a long way in correcting your posture by targeting your postural neck muscles. Use a permutation of strengthening and stretching exercises along with aerobic workouts, you can effectively reduce neck pain by providing strength to worn out and fatigued muscles.
Muscles to train to prevent neck pain
While exercising, be sure to target the prevertebral, postvertebral, and lateral vertebral muscles. Another important muscle is the serratus anterior that originates near the shoulder blade and provides stability during actions such as lifting your arms above your head. By exercising and strengthening the serratus anterior, you can prevent shoulder and neck pain.
Stretching and strengthening neck muscles
Stretching is an important regime at the beginning of any exercise routine as it preserves the elasticity of cervical joints and prevents stiffness and pain. With the help of strengthening exercises, you can maintain an ideal posture and reduce the chances of future pain. Just remember to do stretching exercises daily and strengthening exercises on alternate days to give muscles the time to repair.
Cervical collar and its use
Neck braces or cervical collars
are effective solutions to relieve neck pain and work by immobilizing the neck and head. A neck brace helps to reduce pain by providing support to the head as the tissues in the neck recover. A cervical collar is also prescribed for patients post-surgery as it helps in keeping the spine aligned properly.