Neck and shoulder pain is such a common condition that most of us have suffered from. Have you been dealing with this niggly pain at the back of your neck? As annoying as the pain can be, there are simple measures that help to prevent it from developing in the first place. Here are some really easy tips to take care of your neck and shoulders.
1. Invest in a good pillow to help your neck and shoulder pain!
Yes! sleeping posture is very important! You shouldn’t be using more than one medium sized pillow to support your neck at night. This is because high pillows put the neck in a bent position. This can put undue stress on the neck and shoulders. A great pillow will ensure that the curve of your neck is supported. Whether you are lying on your back or your side. I call it investment for a reason. Although these pillows can be expensive, there’s really no substitute for it.
2. How you sit will affect neck and shoulder pain.
Who knew you can sit yourself to a medical condition! There’s more and more research to advise that prolonged sitting is one of the worst things we can do for the spine. Now we are only human. It’s hard for us to sit erect for 8 hours a day if you are an office worker. Hence it is very important that you support your neck while sitting. A good ergonomic chair will ensure this. Sit right back in the chair rather than on the edge. Lastly make sure you get up every 30-40 minutes. Even if it means just going to the kitchen. This will definitely prevent neck and shoulder pain.
3. Core strengthening for your neck to prevent neck and shoulder pain
Who knew there were core muscles in your neck! Yes, the small muscles of your neck help to keep your neck in a good position when sitting. There are certain specific exercises that strengthen these muscles. Not just weight training. Your physiotherapist is the best person to show you strengthening exercises. Doing these regularly will prevent neck and shoulder pain from developing.
4. Doing stretches 2-3 times a day not just once!
If you are sitting most of the day, stretching just once a day will not help. It is important to keep your muscles moving. Hence if you have been sitting for a while make sure you stretch! Doing the stretches 2-3 times a day will keep your muscles flexible. Sustained sitting puts a lot of stresses on the neck and shoulder muscles. This will in turn cause tightness leading to neck and shoulder pain. Stretching more than just once will prevent this tightness. It is also important to hold the stretches for at least 10 seconds. This will definitely lengthen the muscles well.
5. Don’t wait for neck and shoulder pain to get worse before you see a Physio!
Now we’ve all done this. Waited until the pain got worse to get treatment. Remember stiffness is really the first signal that something’s wrong with a joint. So seeing a physio as soon as you notice stiffness will certainly stop the neck and shoulder pain from worsening. Physiotherapists can diagnose a problem and tell you exactly what’s wrong. The sooner you get to a physio, the quicker you will recover. If you wait, your recovery will then make you wait!