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Tips to Help You Avoid or Address the Causes of Neck Pain

Neck Pain Treatment in chicago - Chiropractic Treatment Services

Common Causes of Neck Pain

Neck pain is a very common complaint with a vast number of causes. From bad posture, injuries, and wear and tear, to arthritis, stress, and poor muscle strength, there are a number of reasons why your neck may be causing you bother.

If you regularly wake up with a stiff neck or you suffer from a persistent pain in your neck, then there’s often something you can do about it! Here are seven tips to help you avoid or address the causes of neck pain:

Neck Pain – Tip One: Adjust Your Sleeping Position

If you sleep on your side or back, then you can jump ahead to the next tip, but if you’re a stomach sleeper, then it may be time to try a new position.

When you sleep on your stomach, the neck is forced to the side, causing pressure on the nerves. Sleeping in this position can result in neck pain when you wake up each morning.

Adjusting your sleeping position can be difficult, especially if you’ve been sleeping on your stomach for most of your life. However, for better neck health and less pain, it can be worth it!

Neck Pain – Tip Two: Change Your Pillows

The pain in your neck could be caused by something as simple as the type of pillow you use! Changing your pillows to better support your neck is one of the easiest ways to reduce and prevent neck pain.

If you sleep on your back, combining a rounded pillow for the neck with a flatter pillow for the head is a great way to support your neck during the night.

If you sleep on your side, it’s important to make sure that your pillow/pillows aren’t too high, as otherwise your neck and head will bend unnaturally, causing the neck to become flexed.

You should always make sure that the positioning of your pillows feels comfortable. Try investing in an ergonomic pillow or purchasing a feather or memory foam pillow, which will accommodate the curve of your neck.

Neck Pain – Tip Three: Work on Your Posture

A poor posture can cause a number of problems with your spine, including neck pain. If you don’t have a good posture then you could be straining the ligaments and muscles in your neck, which can eventually lead to an injury.

A particularly bad posture for the neck is when you slant your head forward, so it sits just in front of the shoulders. If your head is positioned in front of your shoulders, then it adds extra force to the muscles in your neck.

Keep an eye on your posture during the day, and if it faulters, adjust your position to prevent neck strain. You can avoid staying in a bad position by getting up and moving around at regular intervals throughout the day.

Neck Pain – Tip Four: Make Improvements to Your Work Environment

If you’re spending a large part of everyday working at a desk, then it’s vital to make sure that the environment is healthy for your neck and the rest of your spine. If you keep your neck in a bad position for prolonged periods, every single day, then it’s likely that you’ll begin to suffer from neck pain.

To create a healthy working environment, firstly make sure that you position your computer monitor so that your eyes fall naturally on the top third of the screen. It’s also important to sit up straight and make sure that you support your back throughout the day.

Taking regular breaks every 30 minutes or so to stand up and stretch will help you to reduce pain in your neck and back. As you work, it’s important to stay hydrated. Drinking enough water will help to keep the discs in your neck strong and flexible, as they’re mostly comprised of water. If you regularly forget to drink during the day, try setting an alarm.

Neck Pain – Tip Five: Change the Way You Use Your Phone

Bending your neck to stare down at your phone can add stress to the ligaments and joints, ultimately causing a lot of damage to your neck. Using your phone less during the day will help you to prevent neck pain. Another way to limit neck stress is to lift your phone up when you’re looking at it; this will help your neck to stay properly aligned.

If you regularly talk on the phone, then switching to a headset will further help to reduce pain. Instead of holding the phone to the side of your head and bending your neck, a headset will allow you to keep your neck straight.

Neck Pain – Tip Six: Distribute Weight Evenly

It’s easy to get into the habit of carrying your bag, purse, or briefcase on one side of your body, but it’s very important to try and even out the load. Creating an even weight distribution between both sides of your body will prevent muscle strain in your neck.

Carrying two bags can be impractical, so try switching your normal bag to a backpack, which naturally distributes the weight on your shoulders. To further lower the potential of neck strain, try to keep your shoulders level and reduce the amount of weight that you carry around.

When carrying heavy shopping bags, try to make sure that the bags in each hand are close to an even weight.

Neck Pain – Tip Seven: Visit a Chiropractor

One of the best ways to avoid and address the causes of neck pain is to book an appointment at Advanced Spine and Sports Care. Chiropractic neck adjustments will loosen the joints in your neck and alleviate the pain.

A chiropractor will be able to bring the vertebrae in your neck into the correct alignment, addressing a number of common causes of neck pain, like muscle spasms and pinched nerves. Chiropractic treatments can help to restore motion in your neck and improve overall spine mobility. You’ll also be able to get advice on posture and sleeping habits, as well as the correct sitting position and neck exercises from the professional Chicago Chiropractors at Advanced Spine and Sports Care.

As our top tips demonstrate, there are many ways to improve the health of your neck! Implementing some or all of our top tips should help you to reduce and prevent neck pain in the future.

Text Neck: Is Your Phone Use Causing Neck Pain?

Tech Neck - Postural Dysfunction - Laptop Usage

Excessive smartphone use can really be a pain in the neck—and we don’t just mean the friends who compulsively check their phones or the unaware text zombies walking around the city.

Text Neck is a repetitive stress injury or overuse of the neck. Put simply, we’re looking down at our phones too much—and this translates to potentially serious, long-term damage to our spines and in more ways than one.

What is Text Neck?

When we tilt our heads down to scroll through our smartphones (or other devices, such as working from a laptop), we’re creating a gravitational pull on the skull. With the average adult head weighing 10-12 lbs., the downward pressure that is caused by texting adds an additional 60 lbs. of weight to our spine. That’s equivalent to having an 8-year-old child sit on your neck.

Furthermore, in a normal, healthy spine, there is a subtle, gentle curve that can be seen in the cervical vertebrae. In those with Text Neck, however, x-rays have shown an alarmingly straight spine and loss of the normal curvature.

Text Next is also referred to as Textural Postural Dysfunction (TPD). But no matter what you call it, it can be responsible for daily discomfort and long-term damage to your spine.

Almost everyone experiences some type of back or neck pain at some point, and, contrary to popular belief most of these conditions are not caused as a result of lifting something heavy or from a trip or fall. In fact, around 70% of these conditions start with everyday repetitive activities such as spending time using electronic devices.

What are the Symptoms of Text Neck?

Text Neck - Neck Pains - Cell Phone UsageCommon complaints of Text Neck include headaches and neck & shoulder pain, but it can also lead to muscle strain, disc herniation and overall health problems.

How so, exactly?

Text Neck puts extra pressure on your nervous system. Our nerves are like an “information highway,” originating from both the brain and spinal cord. When these nerves become pinched or damaged from improper postural habits, problems can begin to manifest elsewhere in the body, such as pain and tingling in the extremities. Problems in other parts of the body will only subside when the root of the problem is fixed.

What You Can Do to Combat Text Neck

When someone its in a slouched, poor posture, their lower back will not be forming its natural curve. Their neck will also have a more increased curve forwards while the middle of the back will have a larger curve backwards.

This posture will abnormally stretch the spinal discs, the ligaments and the muscles and eventually pain will develop. Sometimes, it will take several months, but for some people the pain can occur in as short a time as a few minutes.

In order to combat Text Neck, start with paying close attention to your posture throughout the day. Try these steps to help you get started:

While Using The Desktop Computer

  • When using a desktop PC, the head should remain balanced on the shoulders with the curves of the spine taking a natural and balanced position.
  • The face and head should look straight ahead without any downward angle while the elbows should lie at the sides of the body. Adopting this posture when working at a computer will minimize neck and back pain.
  • Remember to take frequent breaks—set a timer every 15-20 minutes to step away from your screen and walk around, especially if you have a computer-based profession.

When Using A Cell Phone

  • When using a smartphone, users should hold their device in a higher position, keeping their elbows close to their sides to reduce the downward angle of their head. By adopting an upright posture, the neck and back will be brought into a more natural position and will engage the core, trunk and back muscles to stay in the correct posture.
  • Smartphone users are advised to either use a chair with a well-shaped back piece or to stand while using their device to promote a more natural posture.
  • Hold your smartphone or device at eye level whenever possible & Don’t text or scroll through social media in bed

When Using A Laptop

  •  Users should angle the screen upwards to maintain the optimal viewing angle and, wherever possible, putting the laptop on a desk and using an external keyboard or mouse is the best idea for promoting good posture.
  • Maintain a neutral spine whenever using technology by aligning your ears with your shoulders and retracting your shoulders.
  • Consciously create device-free time, like during meals or first thing in the morning or after a certain time in the evening.

How A Chiropractor Can Remedy Text Neck

Chiropractic adjustments can relieve neck pain and address the structural issues that Text Neck creates over time. Like many chronic health issues, they usually don’t suddenly appear overnight, meaning it will take time to for your body to unlearn habits you’ve developed over hours and hours of technology use.

Chiropractors can work to realign the spine as well as create regimens to help you improve your postural habits, so you can be healthy and pain-free moving forward.

Think you might be suffering from Text Neck? Call our offices today at 773.236.8396 to see how we can get you pain-free naturally or make an appointment here.