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- March 15, 2018 -

Why Do I Have Neck Pain

The neck plays a tremendous role in everyday movements, including everything from picking things up, looking down at a phone to read a text, checking vehicle side-view mirrors to switch lanes, or glancing both ways before crossing the street. Unfortunately, despite its importance, most of us do not put enough effort into taking care of our necks until it is too late and we are already suffering from neck pain.

The bad news is neck pain happens for a multitude of reasons. Some of these include improper sleeping positions, stress, and neck injuries leading to herniated discs or pinched nerves. The good news is neck pain can be minimized or even prevented using simple techniques that can be done just about anywhere.

Exercises and Stretches to Relieve Neck Pain

Neck exercises and stretches are a major component of most neck pain treatment plans and are powerful preventive tools as well. Both ensure neck muscles are strong and improve overall posture. They lessen the chances of having recurring neck pain, in conjunction with strengthening the back and shoulders which help carry some of the weight the neck must bear. Some examples include the neck retraction, ear to shoulder, rotation stretch, and the neck and trap stretch. Most neck exercises can be performed with or without a resistance band. Aerobic exercises are another great way to treat neck pain as they loosen tight neck and back muscles and improve range of motion through the increase of blood flow. Aerobic exercises such as jogging, cycling, or training on an elliptical also release endorphins, which are the body’s natural way of reducing pain.

Stretches to Avoid Neck and Shoulder Pain in the Office

The majority of Americans spend nearly 75% of their workday sitting and staring alternatively at their computer screens and phones. This can cause undue strain on the neck and back. Luckily, there are a wide variety of ways to avoid neck pain in the office. The first and easiest of these is simply to sit up! Poor posture can strain the muscles and ligaments that support the neck, resulting in damage over time. The chin-tuck exercise is a good way to combat poor posture, and should be performed several times throughout the day. It is also recommended that office workers ensure computer screens are at eye level to prevent strain of the neck muscles, and wear a wireless headset if their jobs require them to speak on the phone frequently. Additionally, forward and backward shoulder rolls and the neck extension are stretches that can help relieve stress in the neck, and can be performed in a chair or while standing.

How to Relieve Neck Pain from Sleeping

Alongside pain accumulated throughout the day, many Americans have to worry about neck pain caused during sleep. One way to counter this is to adjust the type of pillow you use to match your sleeping position. Those who sleep on their backs benefit from thin pillows and those who sleep on their sides often sleep better with thicker pillows. Sleeping on your stomach should be avoided because of the strain it puts on the neck muscles. A roll-shaped orthopedic pillow is also a good option for individuals looking for neck support while sleeping. Just like throughout the day, your neck will benefit from a good stretch before bed as well.

Treating Neck Pain in San Antonio

If your neck pain goes beyond a simple strain and does not go away after a few days of performing these exercises, or is otherwise chronic in nature, you should contact a physician. At Spine & Joint Pain Specialists, we offer facet joint injections and cervical epidural steroid injections to help reduce inflammation and pain in the neck. We will evaluate you and determine if one of these options is right for you. Call to schedule your appointment today.