How to get rid of neck pain

A lot of patients that come through our doors complain of neck pain which is sometimes accompanied by back pain. This has become a common pain and discomfort due to an increase in poor posture, lack of exercise and being overweight.

If neglected, neck pain and back pain can cause serious problems such as nerve compression which can lead to sciatica. This refers to pain that runs down the legs or hands and can sometimes manifest as a tingling sensation in the hands and fingers.

Conventional treatment methods such as pharmaceutical drugs help to subside the pain rather than treat the cause of the pain.  It’s for this reason that an increasing number of people are turning to physical therapy instead.

Neck Pain

Causes of neck pain

  • Tech neck:

“Tech neck” is a new repetitive strain injury that we’re seeing a lot of in our practice. It happens as a result of constantly looking down and developing a repetitive strain in the upper back or neck.

It commonly manifests as neck pain or persistent headaches. You may also feel it in your upper back because your head is so heavy.

In a neutral position, the average human head weighs about 5kg. If it’s directly above your shoulders, then it’s in a natural position and it won’t cause any symptoms. But, as the head starts to move forward that increases the amount of pressure on your neck and upper back. Your upper back becomes overworked as a result of trying to compensate for that pressures caused by the weight.

Tech Neck
Tech Neck

How to avoid “tech neck”

We can appreciate that it’s difficult for a lot of people to avoid tech neck, as mobile devices have become a pervasive part of our lives. But, there are certain practices that can help to reduce your chances of developing the condition. For example, you could:

  • Place your computer screen closer to eye level and keep your keyboard at slightly elbow height. Sit straight up with your hips far back in the chair and your feet flat on the floor, your back leaning on the back of the chair.
  • Get up from your desk and walk every 10 minutes.
  • Change your work station from sitting to standing every hour (if you have access to a standing desk in your office).
  • Try a good posture training program that helps you develop strength in your upper back and in your neck. Working with a physical therapist can be a great way to get your spine re-aligned. The practitioners can also help develop some basic exercises that help to strengthen your neck.

Fun Fact! After each new treatment session at Philani, we give our patients a pamphlet with helpful exercises that you can do at home to strengthen your spine and improve your overall posture.

Unless you’re ready to cut back on screen time, here are some additional tips that can help:

Move, move, move!

Get up and move around as often as you can throughout the day, especially if you lead a sedentary lifestyle.

Drink lots of water!

Drinking at least 2 liters of water per day means that you’ll spend a lot of time going to the bathroom. Not only will this boost your circulation and metabolism but it can significantly reduce the pressure and pain caused by tech neck or help you avoid the condition altogether!

Stretching as a form of treatment

If you have stress-related pain in your neck or upper back these stretches can help you get rid of tension and improve your quality of life.

First Stretch

  • Sit nice and tall in your seat and place both feet firmly on the floor.
  • Take a deep breath. Inhale through the nose and exhale through your mouth.
  • Bring one ear to one shoulder and slowly roll from chin to chest.
  • Bring the ear to the opposite shoulder and repeat.
  • Repeat this movement at least 5 times and then bring your head to the center.

Second Stretch

  • Tilt one ear down towards the shoulder, use the same hand to grab the side of the head and gently pull.
  • Reach down with the opposite arm and take a deep breath.
  • Bring your head back to center and switch to the other side
  • Bring your right ear down to the shoulder, use the same arm to pull your head down slightly while the other arm is reaching down
  • Inhale deeply and exhale completely
  • Return to center and release your arms

Third Stretch

  • Reach your arms forward and pull the shoulder blades away from each other while reaching the arms out
  • Retract your shoulder blades and squeeze them together
  • Repeat at least 5 times

Good News! Assessments to anyone that books online are only R260! You will receive a 45min consultation that will provide you information about the condition of your spine as well as how each vertebra may be having an impact in your body discomforts or diseases. 

This offer is valid until 31 August 2019.  

Click on this link to book your assessment today.