A stiff neck can cause pain and interfere with daily activities. Although there are many causes of neck pain, the most common reasons are bad posture – often from sitting at a desk for long periods, a pinched nerve, an injury, or when the neck becomes locked in an awkward position, such as while sleeping. Here are some ways you can relieve neck pain.
Neck pain can often be prevented by simple lifestyle changes. These can include:
- Sitting up straight at your desk, with your feet flat on the floor and arms are level on your desk
- Ensuring computer monitors are positioned correctly and are level with your eyes
- If you sit at a desk for long periods, making sure you gently and regularly stretch your neck and roll your shoulders to prevent them from stiffening up
- Standing up and moving about every hour to stretch muscles to get your blood circulating better
- Having regular breaks from driving to get the chance to move about
- Avoiding having your neck bent for long periods, such as while using a smartphone
- When sleeping, using a firm mattress and making sure your neck is comfortable and that your head is supported
- When using a phone, don’t hold it between your shoulder and your ear
There are also a variety of exercises that can help strengthen neck muscles and prevent injuries. They also help improve posture which can relieve and prevent neck stiffness. Exercise can also help to relieve stress which contributes to neck pain. However, it is important to limit or stop certain physical activities and seek medical advice if they make neck pain worse.
Try doing these exercises regularly to help relieve neck pain.
Neck tilt – Tilt your head down to rest your chin on your chest. Gently tense your neck muscles and hold for 5 seconds. Return to your upright position. Repeat 5 times.
Sideways neck tilt – Tilt your head down towards your shoulder, leading with your ear and without overstretching. Gently tense your neck muscles and hold for 5 seconds. Return your head to the center and repeat the exercise in the opposite direction. Repeat 5 times on each side.
Neck turn – Turn your head towards one side, so you are looking over your shoulder, keep your chin at the same height and only move within comfortable limits. Gently tense your neck muscles and hold for 5 seconds. Return your head to a forward-facing position and repeat on the other side. Repeat 5 times on each side.
Neck stretch – Keeping your body straight, push your chin forward so your throat is stretched and gently tense your neck muscles for 5 seconds. Return your head back to the center and push your chin backward while keeping it level. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 5 times each way.
Pain relief medication such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and naproxen sodium can help reduce stiffness and neck pain, and they can be purchased over the counter without a prescription.
When To See A Doctor
If your neck pain is limiting your ability to carry out normal activities, it is important to seek advice from a doctor. Other factors include:
- If pain or stiffness doesn’t improve after a few weeks
- Pain medication is having no effect
- You are concerned about the pain
- You have other symptoms such as pins and needles, weakness in your arms, hand or legs, a headache along with the pain, neck pain that spreads down your arms or legs, or a cold arm – these could indicate a more serious medical condition
- If your neck pain is a result of an injury or car collision, this may indicate an underlying condition, such as whiplash
Neck Pain Relief in Rochester Hills, Michigan
If you would like more information about managing neck pain effectively or would like advice following a neck injury, please call Ahlgren Spine at 248-215-8080.
Our experts have a wealth of experience treating conditions like neck pain and would love to help you find relief. Fill out the request an appointment form.