LACEY (WA) – Have you ever had a slight pain in the neck but didn’t really think it was a big deal, especially if you knew it was because you slept awkwardly? I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if you have, we hear this quite often from our clients when we first see them. However, it will usually be brought up as that “annoying pain” in their neck towards the end of their visit because 9 times out of 10, they think it’s something that will “just go away” on its own.
But here’s the thing – it doesn’t always “just go away”! Your neck supports one of the most vital parts of your body – the skull and the brain. Not to mention that the top of your neck is where your nerves begin. Now that you know this, do you still want to brush off that neck pain you wake up with in the morning? Some of the main reasons as to why we shouldn’t brush off neck pain is because we all have ways in which we make it worse. We don’t mean to, but sometimes our lifestyle just gets in the way. For example, have you had your hair done recently? It can often be an enjoyable experience, but have you ever considered how your neck feels? When you’re getting your hair washed in the basin, how often are you making sure the chair and basin are adjusted accordingly? If you are someone who doesn’t like to ask for those type of adjustment, just remember that the chair and basin are meant to adjust for a reason! Also, as you may be aware, it can take a while to wash your hair, especially if they’re giving your hair a treatment. So, how do we get past this? Next time ask for the basin and chair to be adjusted accordingly. Regardless of how long you are going to be washing your hair for, each minute matters.
Now I’m aware that not everyone is spending time in a hair salon so perhaps you’re a keen swimmer? We always recommend swimming to our patients as it can be great for your joints. However, different styles of swimming will have different effects on our body. If you enjoy swimming in a front crawl position, then be aware of your neck. Turning your neck constantly and creating a repetitive motion can take its toll on the neck. It’s very possible to over-use muscles and tendons in the neck just as you would with muscles and tendons anywhere else in the body. So nect time you go swimming, try alternating to various swimming styles to help prevent over-use of muscles and tendons but if you really must do the front crawl, just slow down a bit.
Have you been to the cinema or to see a show recently? Another way in which you can get neck pain is by putting your neck in unnatural positions for a long period of time. So, when you are watching something at the cinema or at the theatre, ask yourself, are you looking up at the performance, or straight ahead? If you happen to be looking up, try and get a seat further back, so that the performance is at eye level. Not only will this ease neck pain but it will also allow you to focus and enjoy the performance more!
The above also goes for book and tech lovers too. If you’re looking at your phone or reading a book for a long period of time then you may start to feel the strain on your neck too. After a hard day at work, your bed can sometimes feel as if you’re being greeted with a big hug. However, how often are you waking up with neck pain that prevents you from physically turning your head? If this happens to you frequently, or more than you’d like, then try changing your pillow to one that allows more support. This tends to be why we get neck pain when we sleep. If your neck doesn’t have the support for your head then your neck will feel as if it’s in an unnatural position and as a result, causes a stiff neck in the morning.
If you do have a stiff neck in the morning, to the extent that you can’t move it in a particular direction (i.e left or right) then please don’t drive. Not only will this make it harder to drive, you may also make your neck pain worse with quick movements! Many of the above things we do in our everyday life and it can’t be helped. Only now that we have identified how neck pain can be caused, can we adjust our routines accordingly.