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Neck Pain Prevention Tips

Did you know that 13% of American adults suffer from neck pain? That’s a big number. Good news is, though, that whether you are suffering from chronic neck pain or you’ve just woken up with a stiff neck, certain habits can prevent you from experiencing it.

Neck Pain Prevention Tips:

Choose your pillow wisely. Choosing a pillow is more of an art than it is a science and there is no rule for choosing the right one, which means you may need to do a bit of trial and error before your head lands on the correct pillow for your neck. When choosing a pillow, keep in mind that for it to correctly support your neck, a pillow should keep the natural curvature of your neck in neutral alignment.

Sleep on your back or on your side. Sleeping on your back is the optimal position for neck support and to allow your entire spine to rest. Placing a pillow under your arms can take some strain off of your neck and a rounded pillow under your neck with a flatter pillow under your head can help you keep the natural curvature of your neck and spine. Sleeping on your side is also easy on your neck. Use a pillow that conforms to the shape of the neck and that is higher under your neck that under your head. Memory foam pillows are highly recommended as they do not collapse like feather pillows do and adapt to the shape of the weight put on them.   

Keep your monitor at eye level. Sit in front of your computer, legs uncrossed and close your eyes. Open them and mark exactly where your eyes landed. If that point is smack in the middle of the screen, you are positioned correctly.

Exercise and stretch. Doing stretching and strengthening exercises throughout the day can help build a stronger neck support. Stand straight and tuck your chin in to strengthen the muscles that help keep your head aligned over your shoulders.

Drink lots of water. Your discs are largely comprised of water. Keep them nourished and hydrated for optimal function and range of motion.

Drop the weight. Carrying too heavy a load on one side of your body causes your shoulders to become uneven, straining your neck. Try to lighten the load of your backpack or purse by emptying out and putting only your essential items back in. If your bag is still too heavy, consider using a bag with a strap that goes across your chest to distribute the weight more evenly across both sides of your body.

Beware of your glasses. Reading through the bottom section of your bifocal glasses can make your head and neck tilt awkwardly. Avoid using multi-focal glasses and stick to a mono-focal prescription when reading.

Watch your posture. If you find that your chin is more than five or less than three finger breadths away from your chest, you are arching or flexing your neck, causing strain.

Adjust your car’s headrest. Your car’s headrest must be positioned at the center of your head. Not only do we recommend it, but so does the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In case of a sudden stop, the headrest can prevent your neck from whipping back and forth.

Watch your weight. Gaining body weight causes your arms and chest to become heavier and your shoulder blades to spread apart, increasing the likelihood of developing neck pain.