Neck pain is a common problem that many people deal with, regardless of their age or line of work. With more people working on computers and staring down at their smartphones throughout the day, it is no wonder neck pain is on the rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population has experienced neck pain in the last three months.
There are numerous reasons why a person may suffer from neck pain, but one of the main culprits is a muscle strain. Strains occur when a muscle is stretched too far and tears, resulting in anything from mild discomfort to severe pain. When it comes to the neck, the majority of injuries happen as a result of poor posture or support, which may come from sleeping in an awkward position or having a computer too low or too high when working. Text neck is another serious problem we are seeing right now and stems from looking down at a phone for an extended period of time.
Common Causes of Neck Pain
Neck pain can be either acute or chronic, depending on the person and the circumstances surrounding their injury. In many cases, chronic neck pain is caused by a mechanical problem with the discs or facet joints, which often comes from wear and tear due to age. Other common causes of neck pain include the following:
- Cervical osteoarthritis
- Cervical degenerative disc disease
- Cervical herniated disc
- Cervical stenosis
While these conditions can result in neck pain, it is important to reiterate that the primary risk factor is poor posture and looking down at a phone, tablet, or computer screen for too long. Neck pain may also come with lifting items overhead and repetitive motions that put undue stress on the neck muscles and joints.
At-Home Relief for Neck Pain
If you are experiencing neck pain or stiffness, there are a handful of things you can do at home that may provide you with relief. While in the past it was thought that rest and relaxation were the key to finding relief from many common ailments, we have learned this is no longer the case. In fact, the best way to relieve a stiff neck is with proper stretching and manipulation. Here are a few stretches you can try at home:
- Roll your shoulders up and down 10 times
- While standing, squeeze your shoulder blades together 10 times
- Drop your ear to your shoulder then back upright again, repeat 10 times on each side
The above stretches aim to help you keep your neck limber and relieve any tension. If you are still dealing with neck pain, try these at-home remedies:
- Apply ice or heat to the area (ice first, then heat)
- Continue moving but avoid any painful activities that may increase inflammation
- Try the range-of-motion exercises mentioned above
- Have someone gently massage the painful area
- Take care when sleeping
If you are still dealing with neck pain after doing the above, it may be time to come into Texas Partners Healthcare Group. We offer a range of pain management solutions aimed at helping patients find relief from common ailments such as neck pain.