One of the most common causes of non-traumatic neck pain is sitting at the computer with poor posture. The worst culprit is the laptop or iPad. But once your neck is hurting, not even pain medicines seem to give more than temporary relief. What can you do?
3 Tips to Help Ease Your Neck Pain
1. Make sure your work set up is ergonomically correct. The basics of the work station should encourage you to sit up tall and erect. A slumped posture not only puts stress on your muscles, causing them to work harder, but it also puts stress on the joints and ligaments of your spine. Over time, you develop stiffness in some of the joints, with the brunt of the movement coming from one or two segments of your spine. This creates an irritation that leads to pain.
2. Take frequent breaks. One way to decrease the stress to your muscles and joints is to stand up and take a posture break every 20 minutes. You don’t need to take a long break, even a minute is enough sometimes to reset your body and decrease the pain. If you can get up and walk around for a few minutes every hour, it’s even better. When your neck pain is bad, however, you may find yourself wanting to lie down on your back with your feet elevated and hips at 90 degrees.
3. Ice is your friend. A lot of people find relief from cold packs and heat packs applied to their neck pain for 10-15 minutes. Make sure you put a towel between your skin and the ice packs to help you avoid injuries to your skin. A bag of frozen peas or corn can be substituted for a cold pack in a pinch. Never fall asleep on a hot or cold pad.
When To Seek Help?
If your neck pain lasts for more than a couple of days, or if you are experiencing numbness, tingling, dizziness, weakness, pain or any other changes in your arms or legs, it’s time to seek a consultation from your doctor or a physical therapist who specializes in treating back and neck pain. Left untreated, these symptoms can lead to serious injury.