Head or neck trauma can be the cause of chronic neck pain. This is usually related to unavoidable car accidents or other types of injuries. However, there are many other cases of chronic neck pain that develop gradually because of our habits. We are going to look at the top causes of neck pain that are avoidable. This may help you to reduce your pain or even prevent future cases of neck pain from springing up. We will also discuss a natural therapy that specifically targets the neck.
The Most Avoidable, Top Causes of Neck Pain
Here are five things you should try to avoid if you want to nip stubborn neck pain in the bud.
#1. Sleeping in a Bad Position for Your Neck
Are you a back sleeper, side sleeper, or stomach sleeper? Depending on your answer, you may have just discovered the primary cause of your neck pain. Here are the sleep positions in order from best to worst for neck problems.
- Back sleeper – Your neck will thank you if you sleep on your back or can begin to do so. It is the most natural position to maintain proper posture during sleep. Use a softer or thinner pillow that will allow you to support the normal curvature of the neck without forcing you into a forward head position, and you are good to go. Just be careful not to prop your head too far forward.
- Side sleeper – If you can’t sleep on your back, your side is the next best position. You will need a thicker or medium-firm pillow to maintain your natural head position since you need to leave room for your shoulder. Placing a pillow between your knees can make side sleeping more comfortable and prevent you from twisting your lower back during the night.
- Stomach sleeper – This is the worst position for your neck. It basically forces you to keep your neck twisted all night so that you are not facedown on the pillow. To transition to sleeping on your side, a body pillow may prove useful.
#2. Technology Overuse
We spend a lot of time looking at screens. That means the position of those screens is critical. If you work at a desk, be sure to raise monitors to eye level, so you are not looking slightly down all day long. The other big issue is smartphone use. If you pull your phone out of your pocket and look down to check it several times per hour, that puts a considerable strain on your neck. Try giving yourself technology-free times and be sure to raise your phone up to look at it rather than craning your neck.
Smoking has plenty of well-known health risks. You can add increased neck problems to the list. Smoking affects blood flow and healing. This can result in damage to the discs that separate the vertebrae and cause chronic neck issues. If you are a smoker, the sooner you quit, the better your neck pain prognosis will be. If you are not a smoker, you have one more good reason not to begin.
#4. Carrying a Heavy Purse, Briefcase, Etc.
The main issue with carrying a heavy bag is that most people hold it on one shoulder. This pulls one side of the neck and creates shifts in the soft tissue or vertebrae alignment that can lead to pain. If you have to carry your bag on one side, carry it as high up on your body as possible to reduce strain. It’s even better if you can wear a backpack style bag or something that is cross-body like a sling bag. The more evenly you can distribute the weight, the better.
#5. Continuously High Stress Levels
Your body stores stress in your neck and shoulders. This leads to tension, pain, and can even contribute to the onset of headaches. If you stay stressed out over a long period of time, you may even find your self subconsciously clenching your jaw, which can also have an effect on neck tension. You may be able to eliminate some of the stress in your life. However, you can’t get rid of all of your stress, and some stress can even occur due to good things (for example, planning a wedding is stressful). The key is to have good stress coping mechanisms. Taking proper time for rest, having a relaxing hobby, positive meditation, daily exercise, and other stress relievers are a must.
Upper Cervical Specific Chiropractic for Neck Pain
Getting rid of the habits that are causing your neck pain can help you to avoid further damage to the structures of the neck, but it won’t correct any existing damage that stems from misalignment. Therefore, it is essential to see an upper cervical specific chiropractor to determine whether a misalignment has occurred in the top two bones of the neck. Since these two bones balance the skull, even the slimmest of misalignments will result in significant changes through the neck and spine that could be behind chronic neck pain.
If you are experiencing neck pain on a chronic basis, we encourage you to seek out upper cervical chiropractic care in your area. This will help you to determine if the safe and gentle adjustments are what you need in order to heal. The search feature on this site can help you to locate a preferred doctor in your area.