We live in a society that contributes to cervical (neck) pain. Much of our day is spent in a flexed spinal position which places our head in a forward position when compared to our shoulders. Sitting at desks, typing, driving, watching TV and looking at cell phones are all activities that cause poor postural habits which in turn can cause neck pain. Stressful, fast paced, lifestyles can also contribute to tightness in our upper shoulder and neck muscles. Becoming aware of how we are sitting, standing, moving and sleeping can help with pain in our neck and shoulders.
When sitting at a desk there are simple things that can be done such as moving a computer screen or getting a more supportive chair to help correct our posture. The image below demonstrates some better ways to ergonomically arrange your workstation:
Sit at your desk on a comfortable and adjustable chair with back rest to maintain lumbar curvature and use an ergonomic keyboard. Do not slouch. Your desk should be set up so that the monitor is at or just below eye level. The elbows, hips and knees bent 90-110 degrees. Adjustments can be made for monitor height, keyboard height, seat height, desk height and/or footrest height in order to achieve proper alignment.
If riding/driving in a car, watching TV, sitting in church, using a low back support such as rolled up towel will help your posture to improve and your head to sit over, instead of in front of, your shoulders. Learning to break the habit of looking down at your phone will also help. You can raise your arms higher or if at a table use a stand to place your phone on.
While sleeping, some people find that using a cervical pillow, especially if a back sleeper, can decrease their neck pain. If a side sleeper, having a pillow that is thick enough to maintain spinal alignment can also help. Sleeping on your stomach is not recommended for someone with neck pain. Sometimes it will take trial and error with several types of pillows and positions to find the one that works best for you. The right mattress makes a difference to your sleep too – if you think you may need to replace yours, you could look on sites like Raise (https://www.raise.com/coupons/saatva) to see if there are any discounts available on your perfect new mattress.
While in Physical Therapy your clinician can go over all these suggestions with you and give you a list of exercises to strengthen your postural muscles. If not learned while young, breaking poor postural habits can be difficult, but with our guidance and your determination we can help you to Feel Better, Faster.
Pain should not be a way of life. It is time to take care of yourself. To request an appointment, click here for Elite Relief, or call directly to one of our three locations during regular business hours:
Cool Springs: 615-224-9810
Spring Hill: 931-489-2022
Disclaimer: The information in this blog is intended to be informational only, and is not intended to be used in lieu of medical care. Consult a doctor or a physical therapist before attempting treatment on your own.