5 Tips to Avoid Neck Pain

Change your sleeping habits.  The way we sleep can really contribute to neck pain.  We should never sleep on our stomachs as that causes us to torque our neck and head in awkward positions to be able to breath.   Furthermore our neck should be in a neutral position whether sleeping on our back or our side it is important not to use a pillow that it too thin nor too thick.  If sleeping on your side your pillow should be the width of the distance between our shoulder and head that will keep our head in a neutral position.  We recommend cervical pillows as way to help keep a neutral spine while sleeping.  Raise your monitor.   Often times when I talk to patients about their work space we find that their computer monitor is much too low.  If your monitor you are looking at is below your eye level that is too low.   When we spend hours in front of a computer looking down that will put an undue stress on the structures of the neck.  This also applies to tablets and cell phones.  Try to move them up to eye level.  Not only will this be better for your spine health but will help avoid teck neck.Use a headset.  If you are a person who is on the phone a lot it is important to use a headset.  Using a headset allows us to keep a neutral position of our spine.  When not using a headset we much more likely to subject ourselves to repetitive stress that will ultimately lead to neck pain.Get evaluated if you have been in an accident.  If you have been in an auto accident had a major fall or head injury it is important to be evaluated for whiplash.  While generally neck pain after a whiplash injury will eventually subside on its own that does not mean that underlying damage is not left behind.   This underlying damage left untreated will more likely than not lead to further pain and degeneration after a latent period.  Listen to your bodies signals.  If you have been in an accident don’t just let the pain subside take the proactive step of being evaluated and treated because it will be easier to address soon after an accident than 5-10 years down the road.  Watch your posture!  This really should have been the first on the list as it is easily the most important of all the tips.  The vast majority of neck pain we see has a postural component to it.  Forward head posture particularly creates a tremendous amount of stress in our upper back and neck region.  Our ears should sit directly above our shoulder bones.  For every inch our head shifts forward that acts a doubling of force for our neck muscles and joints to support.  This creates an increased workload that is unsustainable and will ultimately lead to chronic neck pain.

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