Neck pain is preventable! Yes, certain disciplines and cautions in our daily schedules helps to prevent the neck getting hurt. The pain in the neck is a phrase one use when someone goes through nagging conditions. It means the pain in neck is something that does not go away easily. Prevention is better than cure – there are ways one can prevent hurting their neck.
What are the main reasons that are responsible for neck pain? Neck pain generally results in a sharp or dull ache in the neck and shoulder areas. Neck pain can cause numbness in the face, fingers, headache, stiffness, and difficulty while eating.
Main causes of neck injury or pain are: Stress and tension, sitting posture, lifting heavy weights, exercise postures, sleeping posture, driving without seat belt, shampooing hair while bending neck on the sink, conversing on the phone by tucking it between shoulder and neck, body weight and unhealthy food consumption.
Tips to prevent and reduce neck pain:
1. Reduce stress and tension: Tension in the head can go down to the neck and neck muscles along with shoulder muscle will experience uneasiness causing strain and pain in both neck and shoulder. When you experience severe stress and tension – take a break from the thought process. Go for walk, distract yourself by moving away from tension and worries or go for activities that makes you feel better.
2. Smart phones : Now a days the most common reason for neck pain is not manual work but looking at smart phones! Putting head & neck down while looking at phones for longer hours results in prolonged neck pain. When you have to look into phone hold the phone straight in front of your face.
3. Body weight: Reducing body weight helps in reducing neck pain. This is because our over body weight has a negative impact on our spine which is nothing but extension of neck.
4. Sitting posture: Sitting and working continuously by bending both back and neck will strain the back and neck both. It is good habit to stretch both upper back and neck periodically when you have a sitting job.
5. Stretching neck:
- Look up by lifting your head and tilt your head slightly backwards
- Tilt your head/neck left and right side by looking away from your shoulder
- Bend your neck slightly down by looking downwards
- While sitting on the palm of right hand, tilt/pull your head slowly towards left side by holding head in left hand. Repeat this 3 to 5 times with few seconds break and change the sides.
6. Practice yoga : Yoga has good postures for strengthening neck, shoulder and back. Good yoga teacher will direct you how to do these poses. Following asanas can help you to overcome neck pain:
- Sage’s twist – This twist pose will relieve the tension in the neck and shoulder and reduces pain.
- Cat and cow pose – The Cat and cow pose will stretch out the spine, neck and back muscles to relieve pain.
- Extended puppy pose – This pose will extend the spine and increases blood flow to the neck.
- Child pose – The Child Pose is a simple asana to gently stretch the neck and back.
What poses one should not do during neck pain?
Shoulder stand, plough pose, plank pose without using knee, side plank without using knee – these are some of the poses one should not try while suffering from neck pain.
7. Smoking: Stop smoking immediately if you have neck and back pain. Smoking leads to weakening of both cervical bones and muscles.
8. Weight lifting: Whether at home or gym – when you lift any type of weights make sure that you are holding your posture properly and it is not hurting your shoulder and neck. For heavy weight lifting wear supporting belts. The injury either in the neck or in shoulder can lead to pain in the other. It is better to be safe. Talk to your doctor if you are going to gym to lift weights.
9. Driving: Wear seat belts while driving to prevent sudden injuries. Do not try to reach back seat to pick up something while driving. This can hurt your neck and back and may result in accident.
10. Essential oils for the rescue ! : Use essential oils to relax and to get relief from the neck pain. Mix Eucalyptus, peppermint, tea -tree oil with career oil and apply on the neck once or twice a day.
11. Neck massage: Go for massage therapy with massage experts. Gentle circular motion around the neck releases the tension in the neck and reduces the pain.
12. Sleeping habits: Soft bed, pillow, sleeping continuously on the back – all these can cause neck and back pain. Try removing pillows and use slightly hard surface to sleep.
13. Other tips: One can apply slightly warmed sesame, castor or olive oil. Or keep ice pads on the neck to reduce the inflammation and pain. Vitamin D, Vitamin B and Vitamin C supplements helps in reducing the inflammation and takes care of both muscles and bones. Wear neck collar to support neck whenever is necessary. Neck collar helps in bearing the weight of the head and keeps bones in proper condition by supporting the bones.
Contact your doctor you feel numbness in your hand, face and fingers. Your doctor may refer you for further tests and a possible physical therapy. Do not neglect neck pain or any type of pain in your body! Honour your body and health!!