This isn’t going to be just another blog bashing the overuse of pain medication in America. Sure, painkillers are not the ultimate solution to neck pain. At the same time, an occasional anti-inflammatory can help you get through the day or get a good night’s sleep.
Today’s focus is going to be on long-term solutions – fixing the problem instead of the symptoms. Here are some natural ways to find real neck pain relief.
The Best and Worst Sleep Positions for Neck Pain
If your neck is most often stiff in the morning, the problem could be your sleep position or even the pillow that you are using. Here are some dos and don’ts for sleep when you suffer from neck pain.
- Do: Sleep on your back. This is the best position for your neck. Just be sure that you have a soft enough pillow. The main mistake that back sleepers make is having a thick, firm pillow or stacking pillows. If your head is tilted forward all night, your neck is being stressed.
- Do: Sleep on your side. Side sleeping isn’t the best for your neck, but with a few adjustments, you can do it right. First of all, now is when you need a slightly firmer pillow. The broader your shoulders, the more pillow you will need in order to keep your neck straight during the night. Additionally, try placing a pillow between your knees so that your top leg doesn’t slide forward or back as this would twist the lower back and simply move your problem farther down the spine.
- Don’t: Sleep on your stomach. Sorry stomach sleepers but there is just no good way to position your neck. The issue is that you still have to breathe while you sleep, so stomach sleepers end up with the neck twisted to one side all night.
Avoid Text Neck and Other Technology-Related Neck Injuries
Text neck is a term used to describe neck pain that results from looking down at a smartphone repeatedly throughout the day. Modern technology use shows all the signs of addiction with 10% of responders in a recent Asurion survey saying they go an average of 3 minutes between phone glances while on vacation. The average American checks his or her phone every 12 minutes. That’s about 80 times per day (assuming you sleep 8 hours per night which many of the mobile-addicted don’t do). When we’re not traveling, we use work as an excuse to check the phone just as often.
How does looking down at your phone over and over again affect your neck? If you look all the way down at your lap, that places the neck at about a 60-degree angle. Whereas the spine is used to supporting the head, which weighs about 12 pounds, looking down at a 60-degree angle increases the pressure on the spine to about 60 pounds. Now multiply that by looking down 80 times per day, and you can see why people are causing so much wear and tear to the neck at an earlier and earlier age.
Here are a few tips for kicking the smartphone overuse habit:
- Have a no-phone zone – A good place to start is the bedroom. No phones in bed can help you fall asleep faster. If you use your phone as an alarm, try keeping it out of arm’s reach and leave it facedown so you don’t see it light up from every junk email that comes through during the night.
- Have a phone-free hour each day – Whether you put it in a drawer or just turn it completely off, try to schedule phone-free time each day. Use that time for relaxation with the family or to take up a hobby.
- Set time limits on phone use – Is social media the main thing you use your phone for? Set a time limit on social media use for the day or for each session rather than checking over and over throughout the day.
- Get a watch – How many times have you pulled your phone out just to check the time and then been distracted by a notification. Before you know it, you’ve spent ten minutes on your phone and you didn’t even look at what time it was.
Schedule an Upper Cervical Chiropractic Visit
Did you know that there are chiropractors who specialize in providing precise and gentle adjustments to the top two bones at the base of the skull? If you have been reluctant to try chiropractic because the twisting and popping makes you nervous, then this is the subspecialty for you. Because diagnostic imaging is used to take precise measurements of C1 and C2 misalignments, adjustments can be made (either manually or with an adjusting instrument) in a low-force manner and with the adjustments tailored to each patient.
If you are suffering from neck pain, we hope this article has given you the tools you need to seek out natural care. With a few little lifestyle adjustments and some gentle upper cervical adjustments, you may be free of neck pain once and for all. So use the search feature on this website to find one of our preferred upper cervical practitioners in your area. A consult may be your first step on the path to better overall health and wellness – and that’s something we can all benefit from!
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