It's no wonder our necks are stiff and achy. As we hunch over our devices trying to stay in touch with the world during the coronavirus crisis, the muscles of the neck are strained throughout the day. Your head weighs between 10 and 12 pounds, which is a lot of weight for those poor neck muscles to bear when you lean forward for extended periods of time.
According to Back to Health Physiotherapy, about 40% of adults experience neck pain, and the most common cause is poor posture. One survey found that for adults aged 45-75 years, about 1 in 4 women and 1 in 5 men have ongoing neck pain. Neck problems can cause headaches, shoulder pain, TMJ or jaw pain, and even tingling in the hands.
According to experts, there are very effective treatments for neck pain. Spinal mobilization and massage can help realign the vertebra of the neck and loosen tight neck muscles. Changing your pillow to offer more support can also alleviate symptoms, say the experts at Back to Health Physiotherapy.
According to doctors at Harvard Health, practicing good posture when you are at your computer or desk can make a huge difference in preventing neck pain in the first place. Try to keep your head balanced over the spine and adjust your chair so that your feet are on the ground. Get up and walk around every half hour, since prolonged sitting not only hurts your neck but can cause other health problems as well. Shrug your shoulders and do a few neck rolls as often as you can.
Instead of leaning your head to one side when using your cell phone, opt for earbuds or a headset to keep your head stable. A speakerphone is also a great option, say the Harvard experts.
Finally, when you are sitting in a chair reading, try to maintain an upright posture and hold the book so you don't have to look down to read it. You may want to use a prop or pillow to help. If you read in bed, use a wedge pillow to keep your spine and neck in alignment.
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