Neck pain isn’t JUST neck pain. Sometimes it travels up your skull, giving you headaches. Other times it makes it hard to fall asleep. We all know how a bad neck — along with a headache — can disrupt our day and shorten our productivity at work or when spending quality time with our family.
Common causes (and things you didn’t know that cause neck pain!):
Staying in long postures for a period of time (think sitting in front of the laptop) can cause tension to build up in our upper shoulders. These muscles link our shoulders to the neck, and can cause feelings of pain, stiffness, or a pulling and aching sensation around our neck. Common muscles are the upper trapezius, levator scapulae, and scalenes.
We know that disc injuries happen commonly in the lower back, but they can happen around our neck too. When this happens, even small movements of our neck can trigger a sharp pain, and possible numbness/tingling down our shoulder or arm. When that happens, our nerves which are right next to the spinal discs, become irritated and sensitive!
Our neck is supposed to be in a C-shape, and accidents or loads on it over time may cause changes like a reverse-C shape (Like the picture above). This doesn’t always equal headaches or pain, but in some cases, it may be a contributing factor for muscle tension and nerve sensitivity.
Stretching! Neck stretching exercises are an easy way to reduce muscle tension, especially at the work desk. It takes minimal time and can be done throughout the day without you needing to walk around looking for work-out equipment. Simply hold one side of your head and pull it down to the opposite side’s shoulder — to stretch your left neck, bring your arm up and hold the left side of your head, then pull the head down to the right. You will feel a stretch on the left neck. Hold for 10 seconds, 3 repetitions, and perform on the opposite side!
Gentle chin tucks. Lie down with a pillow supporting the back of your neck. Gently push the back of your head towards the pillow, creating a double chin. Hold it for 3 seconds, and relax the neck. Repeat for 5 times. WARNING! Only do this if the pain is not severe and does not affect your daily activities. If pain increases after doing this, ice the neck for 10 minutes, and make an appointment with your chiropractor or physiotherapist as it may be more severe.
Neck extension mobilisations. Put the long length of the towel behind your neck and hold both ends in your hands. Slowly pull both ends of the towel forward and drop your head backwards to look up at the ceiling. You should feel a forward pulling pressure around your neck. Repeat 10 times hourly. This helps to mobilise stiff necks that have changed their structure, but do not do this if you suspect a nerve injury.
Spinal adjustments help to relieve pain and compression on the spine, which facilitates healing.
Specific exercises enable you to maintain the positive changes created in your body, making sure the effects are long-lasting and that you do not need to rely on us.
We use Chiropractic BioPhysics® techniques and evidence-based models to help relieve stiffness and improve curvature in the neck. Read on here to find out how this helps restore the spine’s curvature!
In cases where the disc and nerves are involved, a gentle stretching using our one-of-a-kind machine helps to reduce the pressure placed on the neck and improve numbness, tingling, and radiating pain down the arm.
Applying ice (or a pack of frozen peas) around your neck can help relieve inflammation and reduce the intensity of headaches. Apply them wrapped in a damp towel for 10 minutes, several times throughout the day.
When your neck is sensitive, even the way you sleep can be something that makes it hurt. We’ve put together a list of different sleeping positions that you could try out, and see if it makes a difference.
May play a big role if working in front of the computer is a major part of your job! As something that you’ll be doing for at least 50% of your day, make sure that your set-up is optimal by following these tips. You can also visit our partners, Ergoland for some products that can help with your home ergonomics setup.
We might not realise it, but our bodies also respond to stress. So — take a deep breath, and relax your shoulders when you exhale. Unclench your jaw, take a break from the computer!
If you’ve tried these tips and you’re still being bothered with neck pain and headaches, call us to set up an appointment and let’s get started on your journey to pain-free movement.