Stress and neck pain are common health complaints, especially among people who work around the clock. The worst part about them is that they can significantly impact various aspects of life. If these two health issues took over your life last year, now is the perfect time to turn things around. We have listed five simple and practical new year’s resolutions to help avoid stress and an achy neck.
#1 – Improve sleeping position
How you sleep at night can affect what you will feel for the rest of the day. If you sleep in an awkward position, you compromise your head and spine’s normal alignment. This leads to mild to severe neck and back pain that can worsen each day. Thankfully, there are proven ways you can avoid this situation:
- Check the quality of your pillows and mattress
- Try switching your position, especially when you sleep on your side
- Prop pillows in between your legs to relieve pressure on your back
- Switch to a body pillow if you sleep in a semi-prone position
#2 – Schedule regular workouts
Regular aerobic and stretching exercises work wonders for people who frequently suffer from neck pain and stress. That’s because they promote blood flow and increase painkiller hormones in the body. It’s a good idea to continue doing low-impact exercises even if you have a slightly painful neck. Below are some activities you can include in your routine:
- Walking or brisk walking
- Neck stretching
- Step machine
- Stationary bicycling
- Water aerobics
#3 – Mind how you sit, stand, or walk
Studies explain that posture can affect other things besides your self-esteem. For example, it plays a pivotal role in developing flexibility, balance, and strength. Moreover, it can reduce postural stress on your spinal column and keep the neck bones and the skull aligned correctly. So, this year, we strongly recommend checking your posture and identifying key points to improve.
You might also find it helpful to avoid practices that can negatively affect your posture, such as putting your phone in between your neck and ear and leaning too much on your work desk.
#4 – Be sure you sleep well
Sleep deprivation is among the many factors that can increase stress levels. It also affects the brain’s ability to perceive pain stimuli, causing you to experience discomfort worse than an average person. As a result, it’s critical to assess and improve your sleep hygiene. Here are some tasks you can start with:
- Steer clear from food products that interfere with your sleeping pattern
- Follow a consistent sleeping schedule, especially during at night
- Be sure your bedroom is conducive for sleeping and resting
- Create and follow a pre and post-sleep routine
#5 – Learn how to create positive thought patterns
There is no better way to address anxiety and stress (and its causes) than to learn how to condition the mind and create positive thought patterns. So, this new year, you might want to tap into procedures that can help you improve how you perceive things like pain. According to neuroscientific research, changing perspective is proven to control pain symptoms without using NSAIDs.
Below are a few examples of cognitive behavioral therapy techniques that can help you take control of your thoughts and cultivate a healthier and more positive attitude:
- Tap into journalling to help you process your emotions and thoughts
- Determine what types of cognitive distortions or irrational thought patterns you have
- Assess your cognitive distortions and determine how you can restructure them
- Practice relaxed breathing and progressive muscle relaxation
- Work with your therapist to rescript new emotions
#6 – Explore relaxation techniques
The more you get stressed and anxious, the worse neck pain you will experience. The muscle fibers and joints tense up when the body is under significant stress. The heart and brain also act up, causing many symptoms ranging from increased heart rate, upset stomach, fluctuating blood sugar levels, and hyperventilation. Naturally, if you often feel stressed out or anxious, your body becomes overwhelmed. It will also leave you vulnerable to worse symptoms like achy and stiff necks. If this is the story of your life, we recommend exploring and utilizing the best relaxation technique such as:
- Mindfulness medication
- Guided imagery
- Yoga and deep breathing
- Finding a new hobby
- Reconnecting with nature
- Exercising every day
- Having a regular me-time
#7 – Get rid of stress and neck pain with the help of a doctor of chiropractic
If you frequently experience stress and neck pain, we suggest getting your neck bones checked by an upper cervical doctor. Your symptoms might be your body’s way of warning you that you have misaligned C1 and C2 neck bones.
Unfortunately, if you have off-centered neck bones, you likely suffer from neurovascular compression, a condition that directly impacts the nerve roots and brainstem. It also affects how your body utilizes energy molecules because the brain redirects all its attention and resources to keep the head and eyes upright.
It’s a good idea to tap into upper cervical care as soon as possible so you can determine if you need neck adjustments. The sooner you schedule your first neck bone adjustments, the faster you can start resolving neurovascular compression and other stress and neck pain triggers.
Seek a lasting and sustainable way to cope with health mishaps like neck pain by setting a day to consult with an upper cervical chiropractor today!