By Dr. Brian Paris, DC
When you think of neck pain do you envision whiplash from a car accident and a neck brace?
Sure, an accident can be the cause of your neck pain. But the cause of neck pain is just as likely — if not more likely — to be repetitive mistakes many of us make day after day.
A little neck strain or stiffness may be easy to ignore today. But what about next year when constant neck pain, tension headaches, and even a loss of upper back and neck flexibility leave you unable to function at full capacity anymore?
Why not nip neck pain in the bud by eliminating these three leading causes of neck pain — and even permanent neck injury?
Neck Pain Mistake #1 — Hunched Sitting Posture
I find the most common cause of neck pain to be our modern-day habit of sitting hunched-over and motionless in front of a computer or steering wheel for hours on end, day after day.
The fact is your body was never meant to sit for hours with your head thrust forward and shoulders rounded staring at a monitor or windscreen. This abnormal posture places your body in a constant state of stress and irritation as it tries to adapt to a position it wasn’t meant to hold.
Long hours in this position force your chest muscles to remain overly contracted and tight. Meanwhile your upper back muscles become stretched out and weak. This sets up a muscle imbalance leading to painful postural distortions all across your upper back and neck.
Try this. With your head in its normal position, turn your head from side to side. Take note of your range of motion.
Now force yourself to use an erect posture where your ears fall in line with your shoulders, which in turn fall in line with your hips. While in this corrected posture, turn your head from side to side again.
Did you notice a difference in your range of motion the second time? If so, it’s definitely time to change something about your routine.
Frequent short breaks are the key here. Don’t become a zombie. Move around. Take a stretch break and move your neck and shoulders around.
When you get back to your seat, be aware of your posture. Your ears should fall in line with your shoulders and hips. Make sure your seat doesn’t have a headrest pushing your head forward past this neutral posture. If it does, change seats or get a support cushion to help you manage your posture.
Neck Pain Mistake #2 — Pillow Pushups
Everyone needs a good night’s rest. Proper support for your head while sleeping is critical for sound sleep and preventing neck pain. But get too much pillow height — or too little support — and you’re going to wake up with that not-so-good old fashioned “crook neck” feeling.
The way you sleep makes a tremendous difference in the type of pillow you should select for proper support. Again, the goal here is a neutral neck posture so your neck is not pushed forward or allowed to fall back from that straight line.
Back sleepers will usually do better with a softer pillow allowing the back of their head to sink further into the pillow to maintain that neutral alignment.
Side sleepers, on the other hand, will need more support to prevent their necks from leaning towards the mattress.
Stomach sleepers may have the most difficulty preventing a stiff neck in the morning. You’ll invariably wake up with your head turned to one side or the other. If sleeping on your stomach is the only way you can rest comfortably, try a soft, thin pillow that allows your head and neck to follow as close of a straight line with your spine as possible when your head is turned to the side.
Neck Pain Mistake #3 — Ignoring Chronic Neck Pain
Most people don’t like to go to the doctor. It’s a hassle. And even with insurance the out-of-pocket cost of even a quick office visit seems to go up every year.
Worse yet… when it comes to neck pain… many doctors have very little to offer neck pain sufferers except take two [whatever dangerous pain drug is being promoted that day] and call me for surgery in the morning.
But that doesn’t mean you have to live with neck pain. In fact, ignoring chronic neck pain or stiffness will likely lead to more trouble down the road. That’s because failing to address the underlying problem usually leads to a progression of pain — and may result in permanent injury.
The pain and stiffness you feel is your body’s signal that something is wrong. Instead of ignoring the problem or masking the signal with pain pills, find out what is actually causing your pain and correct the real problem.
Over the years I’ve helped thousands of my patients overcome chronic neck pain by identifying the root causes and addressing the problem head on.
Now I’ve created a customized system you can use at home using the exact same techniques I use in my office that lets you end neck pain. It’s called Lose the Neck Pain and it already has the highest success rate in the industry, helping 93% of those who’ve used it. That’s more than ANY other method of neck pain relief including doctors, therapists, and surgery.
Don’t make the biggest mistake of ignoring that neck pain and letting it become a bigger problem. Take action to end it today. Learn more about Lose the Neck Pain by clicking the link below.
Written By: Updated: June 15,2011