Nothing puts a damper on the day than waking up with pain. However, a stiff, sore neck doesn’t have to ruin your day. Unfortunately, neck pain is becoming increasingly more common amongst Canadians. According to this study, the majority of Canadians will experience neck pain at some point in their lives.
So what is causing your neck pain? Here are some possible culprits
You Aren’t Sleeping On Your Back
Sleeping on your back is typically the best position for allowing your spine to rest comfortably. Sleeping on your back and wedging a pillow under each arm can reduce the amount of strain on your neck. You may also want to try sleeping on a slight incline. This can be achieved using a foam wedge or switching to an adjustable bed.
You’re Using the Wrong Pillow For You
Not all pillows are created equal. While there is no definitive best style of pillow there are a few things to consider before laying your head down for the night. First, you want to find a pillow that keeps your neck as neutrally aligned as possible. This means that your pillow should support the natural curve of your neck. What that natural curve is depends on the person. Some people find their neck pain decreases when they lie on their back and sleep with a relatively flat pillow or an orthopedic pillow with a deep depression. Side sleepers should find a pillow that isn’t too high, and try and opt for a pillow that is between 4 and 6 inches thick. Try to prevent your head and neck from turning or bending unnaturally to either side.
You Need To Stretch More
Make sure you stretch your neck muscles periodically throughout the day, especially if you spend a lot of time hunched over a desk. One simple exercise is the chin tuck, which is demonstrated in the video below.
Start with a neutral posture then gently move your head back until your ears are over your shoulders. Hold this position for one to two seconds, then release.
It is also important to do neck stabilization and strengthening exercises, such as the one demonstrated in the video below:
Lie on your back with a small, rolled up towel under your neck. Do your best to keep your spine straight, then slowly lift your chin up and hold it for a few seconds. Then, slowly pull your chin down towards your chest and hold it there for a few more seconds.
For other recommended neck exercises talk to your physiotherapist.
You Are Dehydrated
Drinking enough water is important for many reasons, one of which is to keep your discs nourished and hydrated. Discs are small, spongy structures that sit between the vertebrae in your beck. Because they are mostly made up of water staying hydrated keeps them both pliable and strong. Ideally, you should be drinking at least eight large glasses of water per day.
You Have “Text Neck”
According to this CBC article (and this study) excessive texting is causing us to spend more and more time looking down, putting increased strain on our necks. This can result in serious problems, including alignment problems and disk hernias. Looking down for hours at a time is actually changing how our necks curve. While our necks typically curve backward, the authors of the study noted that our necks are now more likely to curve forwards, creating a whole host of posture problems. To avoid “text neck” make sure you regularly take a break from your phone. Read more about text neck.
If nothing seems to be able to soothe your neck pain it could be an indication that something is seriously wrong. If your pain persists you should make an appointment with your physiotherapist as soon as possible. To make an appointment at Beacon Hill Physiotherapy contact us today. We are open six days a week for your convenience, so don’t delay!