is often caused by weak muscles in the front and tight, overactive
in the back of the neck. Doing daily strengthening and stretching
can be helpful in preventing neck pain. Try the following
flat on your back. Tuck your chin to chest and raise your head
than an inch off the floor or bed. Hold this position until your
are tired (they may shake). Do this exercise three times, once
standing or sitting position, with your neck erect and tall,
chin level and jut your head forward. Then, drop your chin to
Place your hands on the back of your head to gently encourage a
of the muscles at the back of the neck. Hold this position for
seconds. Do this exercise three to fives times, as much as once
straight ahead, tilt your head to one shoulder.With the
gently pull your head toward your shoulder. Hold the stretch for
seconds. Repeat on the opposite side. Do this exercise three to
times on each side, as often as once an hour, every day.
suffer from neck pain? If you do, you're not alone. Nearly 75
of American adults will suffer from neck pain at some point in
And, looking at our anatomy, it's no wonder so many of us do.
having your head perched on top of your spine gives you a great
your environment, the set-up is rather like propping a bowling
a tower of blocks. The price? Our necks are prone to injury of the
ligaments, tendons, and joints. But by paying attention to our
doing regular stretching and strengthening exercises, and visiting
chiropractors, we can help keep our necks pain-free.
Causes of Neck Pain
ranges from mild (annoying and distracting) to severe
Poor posture during normal, everyday activities such as watching
a computer, reading a book, or talking on the phone can easily
minor neck pain. TV watching can be particularly bad for the neck
lying on a couch, with your head propped at an awkward angle for a
period of time. Holding the phone between the jaw and shoulder
than in your hand), reading at a desk or table with your head hung
a book, or working with a computer monitor below eye level can
particularly stressful for the neck. By resting and making efforts
to repeat the offending stresses on the neck, minor neck pain
on its own within a day or so.
that won't go away or keeps coming back can signal a more serious
underlying problem. Subluxations or joint restrictions; injuries
whiplash; diseases like osteoarthritis, meningitis and tumors;
malformation; and degeneration (such as that in arthritis) require
than rest. A trained healthcare professional such as a doctor of
(DC) can help. He or she can determine whether the cause of your
is minor and easily treatable or more serious and requiring more
extended treatment. Then he or she may recommend chiropractic
massage, natural anti-inflammatory supplements, and/or
stretching exercises. In some cases, the DC will refer you to a
Prevention is Key
you avoid the need for treatment in the first place? The first
to take note of your everyday posture. If your job requires a lot
use, consider wearing a headset. Do you slouch when you watch TV?
the couch? Choose to sit upright, in a posture-supporting chair.
or reading, avoid putting the book or magazine on a flat surface.
consider using a book prop. And, if you notice your computer
below eye level, elevate it by placing it on top of a shelf or
experience neck pain that doesn't abate within 24 hours, seek the
advice of a trained healthcare specialist for the appropriate
and treatment. And remember, because chiropractors specialize in
system, they are some of the most well-trained healthcare
to consult about neck pain.