We’ve all experienced neck pain at a point in our lives. It’s a common complaint by patients. It may happen first thing in the morning after sleeping wrong or at the end of a long workday.
There is, however, a big difference between your typical stiff neck and one that’s so painful it disrupts your daily routine and significantly lowers your quality of life. If you’re experiencing the latter, then it’s time to take neck pain a little more seriously.
Possible Causes of Neck Pain
Neck pain wasn’t as common as it is now. The modern lifestyle has given way for many triggers, such as sitting in front of the computer for too long or looking down on your smartphone for extended and regular periods.
Another common trigger is trauma or injury following a car accident, also known as whiplash. Back in the day before cars were the standard mode of transportation, whiplash was rarely a problem.
Whiplash happens when excessive force causes the neck to extend beyond its normal range of motion, causing injury to the muscle and spine. This over-stretching can tear the tendons and ligaments in the neck. The result is a kind of pain that can range from slightly annoying to severely agonizing.
Tips to Lessen Neck Pain
Modern life has given way for higher risks of neck pain. Healthy experts say regular smartphone use, along with poor posture at work, is the culprit behind stiff and painful neck muscles. The good news is you can do something to prevent and alleviate some of the discomfort on your own.
The key is to be mindful of your posture at all times. When using your smartphone, instead of lowering your entire head, lower your gaze. Do exercises that strengthen the back. Neck pain is often a result of tense, hardened muscles along the vertebrae of the neck and upper back. The more you strengthen and stretch your back muscles, the more you lower the likelihood of developing stiffness.
Consider the ergonomics in your office. Make sure your chair provides good back support and allows for dynamic sitting. Go for variation. Instead of sitting down for prolonged periods, try to find a spot where you can stand while working.
Should You Call a Doctor?
The tips listed above only apply to mild neck pain. Sometimes, it’s easy to tell between a minor stiff neck that will be fine after a few painkillers and one that needs medical attention. Other times, you need a medical professional to evaluate the situation. Better, head over to a physiotherapy clinic that uses manual therapy to ease stiffness and restore neck mobility.
If the stiffness doesn’t improve in a few days or has caused tingling sensations in your wrists or hands, it’s time to stop relying on home remedies or painkillers and time to consult your doctor. Without proper treatment, a mild stiff neck can turn into chronic discomfort and pain and will have a greater impact on your quality of life. Talk to a professional before your neck pain becomes a permanent pain in the neck.