Tips for Avoiding Neck Pain

Neck pain is one of those near-universal problems, with almost everyone experiencing it occasionally. It’s unpleasant and expensive because it often leads to missing days at work.

At Apex Medical Center, our providers specialize in pain management, which means helping patients manage chronic pain and avoid acute (short-term) pain when possible. In this post, we offer some suggestions to help you avoid neck pain, as well as some suggestions on what to do if your neck hurts. 

Common causes of neck pain

People who have chronic neck pain often have arthritis, problems with the discs between their vertebrae, or have endured a traumatic injury such as whiplash. Many more people experience acute neck pain—pain that lasts six weeks or less. Even short-term pain is unpleasant, though! 

Some common causes of acute neck pain include: 

Most of these issues can be corrected, so you can shorten the amount of time you’re in pain and avoid the problem in the future. For example, learning how to correct your posture or changing your phone habits can result in less pain. 

Suggestions for avoiding neck pain

When you come in for a visit because your neck hurts, we will ask you lots of questions about your habits to determine the cause of your pain. You can also expect a physical examination so that we understand what tissues are involved. Depending on those things, your provider will likely suggest one or more of the following changes. 

Consider your pillow

Finding the right pillow can take patience because you have many different options. The best one depends on how you sleep, the distance from your head to your mattress when your neck is in a neutral position, and your personal preferences, such as whether you sleep on your side or your back.

Adjust your ergonomics

If you sit at a desk all day, you may need to adjust the height of your computer monitor to ensure it’s at eye level. You don’t want to be looking up or down all day.

Another common issue is needing a proper chair. Neck support is very important if you’re sitting at a desk looking at a screen for many hours. 

Using a laptop can force you to hold your head at an awkward, downward angle, which can lead to neck pain. Consider using a separate monitor so that you can sit with your neck in a neutral position. 

Suppose you do a job that requires you to look up frequently or for long periods, such as painting or carpentry; you may also need to make some adjustments. Repetitive motion is a common cause of neck strain. 

Drink more water

It may not seem immediately related, but dehydration can lead to neck pain. This is because the discs that cushion your cervical vertebrae—those in your neck—require appropriate hydration. 

If your discs become too dry, they become more brittle and tear prone. Ruptured discs can cause ongoing pain.  

Lighten your load

Do you carry a heavy purse, gym bag, or briefcase? If so, you may be causing neck strain. Holding a heavy weight in one hand for a long time, or day after day, can make your shoulders uneven and strain your neck muscles.

Using a backpack or trimming down the amount of weight you carry can help. 

Individual attention

Whether your neck has been hurting for a long time or if you’re experiencing new pain, schedule an appointment at the Apex Medical Center location that’s most convenient for you. Our providers can offer advice based on your unique situation and help you manage or even avoid neck pain.

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