Preventing neck pain and its stiffness can help you prevent a lot of misery. Neck pain or a stiff neck can come about from minor causes or major ones but can lead to a lot of discomforts.
To prevent neck pain while sleeping, cycling, long-distance driving, wrong posture while working at the computer, or while reading and studying becomes crucial because neck pain and neck stiffness will not allow you to do these daily activities.
Imagine not being able to study during an exam or not being able to drive on an urgent job will put you in a spot.
Neck stiffness can be a real pain and will prevent you from doing almost everything. To make matters worse, its symptoms bother you quite frequently.
Therefore, in spite of effective home remedies and treatment being available, following these preventive tips will save you a lot of absentees from work.
1. Neck exercises – the most important tip to prevent neck pain, neck stiffness and shoulder pain
Exercise your neck and back every day. Gently move your neck side to side and up and down 10 times.
Similarly move head round and round, clockwise and then anti-clockwise. Do shoulder shrugs and rolls to work both the shoulder and neck muscles.
Repeat this six to eight times a day. Do these exercises regularly. These stretching exercises will keep your neck and shoulder muscles strong and they will not strain so easily.
If you work on a computer for hours, do the exercises every hour. It hardly takes a minute. You could read about the neck pain exercises here.
2. Prevent neck pain while working on the computer at home or at work
We work for hours on a computer or at a desk. Wrong positioning of the neck for long periods invariably puts a strain on the neck muscles, which gives you a stiff neck and pain.
To prevent the neck from paining while working at the computer, make sure you hold the neck in the right position at all times. Do not slouch.
Take frequent breaks of 20 seconds every 20 minutes. Position the monitor so that the eyes are in level with the middle of the monitor screen.
Maintain an upright posture of the back and keep the neck in a neutral position so that it is in line with the backbone.
Having a proper chair at your workstation with a supportive backrest and armchairs will help.
3. Prevent neck pain while sleeping
Wrong sleeping positions are a common cause of neck pain. To prevent neck pain while sleeping due to a strained muscle, use the right pillow and sleeping position.
Do not sleep on your stomach. Sleep on your back. This position gives maximum support to your entire spine. If you wish to sleep on your side, do not use a high pillow.
The neck and spine should stay aligned. Use a pillow whose shape changes with the movement of the head.
A cervical pillow will be ideal. Its contours are designed to support the spaces below the head. A depression in the center of the pillow gives support to the head. The cervical pillow is designed to keep the neck and the rest of the spine aligned.
4. Prevent neck pain while cycling
Cycling on a regular basis and for long distances has given many cyclists neck pain.
If you see the position of the body when cycling, you will find that the spine is flexed while the neck is in an extended position.
There is no alignment between the lower spine and the neck. This puts a tremendous strain on the neck muscles, which causes neck stiffness and pain.
If you are a regular cyclist, follow these tips to prevent neck pain due to cycling.
- Have the handlebars of the cycle on the same level as your seat.
- See that the suspensions of the bike are in good shape. This will minimize the jerks to the spine on a rough road.
- Do not look too far up the road. This is to prevent the hyper-extended position of the neck. The aim is to have the neck and the lower spine in as much alignment as possible.
- Wear properly fitting headgear and gloves.
- If you are a professional cyclist or you cycle daily to work, take the advice of a physiotherapist on exercises to strengthen your neck and back muscles.
5. Prevent neck pain while driving
Driving continuously over long stretches causes neck pain and stiffness. Certain simple precautions will help to prevent this due to driving over long distances.
Keep your seat at a 100-degree angle and your hand at 3 and 9 o’clock positions on the steering wheel. Do not slouch.
Your head should be in line with the lower back. Adjust the headrest so that it touches the center of the back of your head.
Keep a small pillow in the space between the small of your lower back and the angle formed between the vertical and horizontal parts of the seat.
Use cruise control on highways so that you can rest your feet on the floor. This will take the pressure off your spine. Take breaks on the long drive.
6. Prevent neck pain while studying
Studying, invariably, unconsciously puts you in a slouching position. You must be aware of and correct your posture so that your head and back are in one line.
This keeps your neck muscles in a relaxed and neutral position. Hold the book in your hands or keep it on a stand instead of on the desk. This will help keep your neck in the correct position.
Read with the light behind you so that the printed page is well lit. While writing too, try to maintain a position where the neck and lower spine are in a line. Take breaks to relax your eyes and the neck muscles.
Preventing neck pain while studying attains importance due to the young age of children and young adults who get affected due to this cause. Weakened neck muscles at an early age can have serious repercussions later in life.
7. Maintain a healthy body weight
A healthy body weight reduces the weight on the muscles and they do not wear so easily.