Sometimes lifestyle habits can be a downright pain in the neck. Perhaps you’ve recently started working from home, and after a few months noticed that your neck hurts. In this scenario, a number of things, but primarily your posture, may contribute to neck pain.
At aCELLerated Interventional Orthopedics, our interventional pain management specialist, Dr. Brian K. Rich sees patients with a full range of issues, including neck, back, shoulder, and knee pain. Whether you’re an athlete with an injury or someone looking for help with neck pain, Dr. Rich can help you get the answers and treatment you need to feel better again.
Find out how your everyday habits may be behind your neck ache and what you can do about it.
Lifestyle habits that contribute to neck pain are often related to your posture habits. If you spend your day using a smartphone or other mobile device, reading a book, or using a laptop, you may get a bothersome neck ache. This is because you’re likely bending your body in an unhealthy position for an extended amount of time.
Your body was made to move, and when you hold your neck and shoulders in one position for too long, it can cause problems. The same is true when you use poor posture throughout the day. Poor posture throws your body out of alignment and sets the stage for issues like neck and back pain.
Craning the head downward to look at mobile devices like smartphones so commonly causes neck pain that it spawned the term “tech neck.” While the same can happen if you’re regularly holding your head downward while reading a book, it’s more common to bend our necks downward while reading emails, answering texts, and surfing the internet from our phones.
Looking down causes your neck to flex forward. The sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscles in your neck, as well as the shoulder and shoulder blade muscles, such as the levator scapulae, upper or middle trapezius, and rhomboids, support this position.
After a while the muscles become tired, overstretched, and worn out. If you do this too often, your neck and shoulders start to ache. The same is true if you're slouching on the couch or slouching at your desk for an extended period of time, with your shoulders rounded and your neck bent forward.
Restoring proper posture where your neck is in a neutral position can help prevent tech neck. This means raising whatever you’re looking at to eye level, be it a screen or book. If your work involves sitting at a computer, use a monitor riser if the monitor lacks an adjustable height feature.
When at a desk or table, sit up straight with your neck in line with the rest of your spine, and your shoulders back. Take periodic breaks to avoid sitting in one position for too long.
Rest your arms on armrests or pillows if you’re relaxing on the sofa. This takes pressure off your arms and relieves pressure on your shoulders, allowing the shoulder and neck muscles to relax.
If you have neck pain that persists for longer than two weeks, it’s best to see a professional for help. As an orthopedic specialist, Dr. Rich can evaluate you and gain some insight into the issue and develop an effective treatment plan to help you get relief from neck pain.
To get started today, call the nearest office or request an appointment using our online form. We have offices located in Southlake, Texas, and Lawton, Oklahoma.