Pain or stiffness in the neck can interfere with everyday activities. It is no surprise that neck pain is becoming increasingly common as people spend more time hunched over computer desks or watching videos on tablets and phones.
Although there are many causes of neck pain, the most common reasons are bad posture, a pinched nerve, and injuries.
The type and severity of pain you experience will depend on the cause of your neck pain. Symptoms may include pain that spreads to your head, shoulders, and arms, headaches, stiffness in the neck, neck mobility issues, weakness in your shoulders and arms, and numbness or tingling in the arms, hands, or fingers.
If you have neck pain, certain activities can make it worse and should be avoided until symptoms subside. These include:
- Using tablets and cell phones for long periods of time, leading to bad posture and neck strain.
- Activities that cause you stress. This can lead to tension in the muscles around the neck which increases pain.
- Reading, watching TV, or working in a forward posture or awkward position for long periods of time.
- Sleeping with a pillow that is too high or too low or in an awkward position that strains the neck.
- Staring at a computer screen or driving for long periods of time.
- Participating in sports that aggravate symptoms or involve rapid neck movements (such as football, soccer, athletics, hockey, and wrestling). This can strain or cause trauma to the neck and spine.
- Work duties or exercise that overuse or strain your arms and upper body.
How To Prevent Neck Pain
The good news is, most neck pain can be prevented by simple lifestyle changes, rest, and exercise. Rest and lifestyle changes are crucial so your body can heal. If your neck pain is caused by long hours spent in front of a computer screen or sleeping in an awkward position, it’s important to correct it. By addressing the underlying cause of the neck pain, you can stop neck pain from developing again in the future.
Exercise can help strengthen muscles and improve posture, which can relieve neck stiffness and pain. It can also help to relieve stress which contributes to neck pain. Specific neck stretching exercises can also help to relieve pain and stiffness and prevent future issues from occurring. Neck stretches should be done gently and slowly to reduce the chances of further pain or injury.
Other tips to prevent future neck pain are:
- Improve your posture, especially while sitting at your desk. Sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor and arms level on your desk.
- Ensure computer monitors are positioned correctly and are level with your eyes facing straight ahead.
- If you sit at a desk for long periods, make sure you stand up and stretch neck and back muscles to get the blood circulating and prevent stiffness and strain.
- Avoid having your neck bent for long periods, such as while using a cell phone.
- Sleep on a firm mattress that supports the spine better. Make sure your neck is comfortable and that your head is supported by a good pillow.
Neck Pain Treatment
Treatment for neck pain will depend on its cause, severity, and duration. Most neck problems are treatable with pain medications, rest, physical therapy, facet blocks, epidurals, and more. However, surgery may be recommended in some cases when conservative methods fail to improve symptoms.
Treating Neck Pain At The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics
If you are finding pain medication is having no effect on your neck pain or your neck pain is limiting your ability to carry out normal activities, seek advice from the orthopaedic specialists at The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics.
Our board-certified spine specialists can determine the precise cause of your neck pain and treat your symptoms appropriately. Call us today at (410) 644-1880 to schedule your consultation or use our online form to schedule an appointment.