Dr. Matthew Phinney offers the following tips to avoid neck pain!
1. Sleeping Position
One of the first things you want to consider is your sleeping position. One-third of your day is essentially spent in bed sleeping and so the position that you sleep in on a daily basis can be a determining factor in terms of whether or not you have pain or discomfort in your neck.
One of the things we always recommend would be sleeping on your back. Being the best position, your spine is in a nice and neutral position where you’re not twisted or shifted to one side or the other.
Second best position would be sleeping on your side. You want to be sure that you’re using a pillow that keeps your neck in line (your spinal column in line) so that your head’s not shifting way down like it’s stuffed into your shoulder or the pillow is not so large that it’s pushing your head way up the other direction towards the opposite shoulder.
The worst position (and that I would encourage anybody if they’re sleeping in this position to avoid it) would be on your stomach. The reason why is that facing down on your stomach puts the most stress and strain on the posterior joints of the spine. You’re also forced to twist your head all the way to either the left or the right every single night, all night long. The reason why is because if you’re looking straight down, you can’t breathe through your pillow!
So that would be one thing is look at – your sleeping position.
2. Work Ergonomics
As far as your job goes, that’s the secondary that we spend the majority of our time – at work. So if you’re somebody who sits at a desk all day long, you want to look at the ergonomics of your desk.
You want to look at your computer monitor. You want to make sure it’s not way up high. You also want to make sure that it’s not way down low so that you’re not staring down like that sort of chin to chest posture all day long. That puts a ton of stress and strain on the spine as well.
Really, you want to have your monitor set so that if you were to break your monitor up into thirds, your eyes should be at the level of that top third space on your monitor – a nice and natural position.
The other thing is taking frequent breaks. If you’re sitting at a desk all day long, I typically recommend having a big bottle of water. You’d be keeping yourself hydrated all day long and the other thing that it forces you to do is get up to go to the bathroom regularly.
3. Avoid Physical Trauma
Third thing I would suggest as far as avoiding neck pain would be avoid any sort of physical trauma, any sort of physical injury. I know that’s a tough one because none of us wake up in the morning and say “Hey, I’m going to go get injured today.” But think defensive driving. Avoid things like getting hit from behind or avoid hitting people. So no texting and driving – paying attention to what you’re doing.
If you’re playing sports, take care of yourself. Get your body in a condition so that you’re able to play whatever it is or compete at whatever it is that you’re doing.
I see a lot of weekend warriors in our office. They are sitting at a desk five days a week just de-conditioning their body and then Saturday rolls around and they’re like “Okay well, I’m going to go play in a rugby game now.” And they go and smash into 240 lb men or women for an hour on Saturday afternoon. Then, they come in on Monday and they wonder why their neck hurts or why their back hurts.
So make sure that your body is conditioned for whatever it is that you’re doing.
4. Have Your Neck Checked
The other thing that I would recommend if you want to avoid neck pain is to have your neck checked. Have it checked for subluxations. Make sure that everything is moving and everything is working in the way that it’s supposed to.
That’s one of the things that we do in our office to make sure that we know we can help somebody. We go through motion-study films, motion-study x-rays. So we can actually see what is working and what is not working; what’s moving and what’s not moving. Then based on that, if there is something that we can do to help them, then we give you a recommendation and once it’s fixed we produce a result. Once we’ve corrected it, we verify we’ve fixed it.
5. Maintain Your Spine Health
Then we always say the fifth thing would be to maintain that correction. Maintain your body, maintain your spine and keep it moving. We have a spinal hygiene protocol that we have people follow. So it’s focused on mobility (movement) and then also stability (strengthening). There are sort of two parts to it and it’s based again specifically on what was going on with their body and their body structure.
So those would be the five things I would recommend if you want to avoid neck pain. Start to incorporate these into your daily routine and you will avoid neck pain!
Dr. Matthew Phinney has a genuine concern for the community’s health and well-being and is dedicated to helping people achieve their health and wellness objectives. Patients seeking his treatment can be assured that they are receiving the highest quality care!
Call our office to book your next appointment, and discover why The Chiropractic Doctors are consistently rated 5 stars by your neighbors!
This article was reviewed and approved by Dr. Matthew Phinney.