As humans, we like to point the finger at something when something goes wrong. It helps us make sense of a bad situation which theoretically leads to a solution. This is particularly true when it comes to physical pain. If you have a sore ankle because you rolled it while playing tennis you can identify the cause, wrap the ankle, and avoid putting pressure on it for a few weeks until it feels better.
What’s frustrating to most, however, is when there is chronic pain and no preceding event, such as a motor vehicle accident (MVA), to lay the blame on. As a result, people live with the pain and hope that it goes away as mysteriously as it occurred. This rarely (if ever) works. Moreover, doing so can make matters worse by aggravating a condition.
Neck pain is one such chronic condition for which some sufferers can’t figure out what the cause may be. If you did not injure your cervical spine (neck) in an MVA, at the gym, while playing sports, or some other incident, you’re probably left asking, “What’s causing my neck pain?”. Below is a breakdown of common daily activities that may be the cause (or contributor to) your chronic ailment, followed by a clear call-to-action. Let’s review.
4 Daily Activities that May Be Causing and/or Aggravating Neck Pain and What You Can Do About It
Using Your Smartphone
You’re probably doing it right now as you read this article over coffee at a local cafe.
The overuse injury known as text neck syndrome occurs over time as you place excessive strain on your cervical spine while looking down at your smartphone to type, tap, and swipe during digital conversations, mobile work, streaming, and gameplay.
Cervical spinal degeneration is the result of the repeated stress of frequent forward head bending. While you didn’t get whiplash because someone rear-ended your Corolla last week, you may have done just as much damage while texting friends and posting Instagram stories over the last two years. Since you have no plans to give up your smartphone, follow these 5 tips to prevent sore neck from using mobile devices.
You’re baffled by chronic neck pain, partly because you employ proper form when playing sports and working out. However, do you afford your body the same consideration in the bedroom?
The way you sleep has a direct impact on your body and the way it feels upon waking (and through the rest of the day), especially as it applies to the neck.
Moving forward, adjust your sleeping position in a manner that helps you maintain the natural curvature of your spine, neck included. Try out the following positions which specifically address neck pain from sleeping:
- Sleep on your side with leg support
- Sleep with a towel beneath your neck
- Sleep with a flat pillow
Sitting is another possible culprit that you can’t avoid doing. Poor daily sitting posture that may occur when you lean over a computer or hunch over a workbench (occupation contingent) strains cervical spine muscles and can lead to chronic neck pain.
When sitting at your desk (as applicable) keep your head balanced directly over your spine as much as possible. Set your chair height so that both your feet rest on the ground, and sit with your buttocks far back in your chair. At first, you may need to use a small pillow to support your lower back until your body adapts and this new (and proper) seating position becomes natural to you.
Ignoring Musculoskeletal Conditions
Admittedly, “ignoring” something isn’t exactly a daily activity. However, when you avoid seeing a specialist about what may be a musculoskeletal condition, you could be living with chronic neck pain for longer than necessary. The following conditions are generally to blame when the activities above are not:
- Disc degeneration
- Narrowing of the spinal canal
- Muscle inflammation
In some rare cases, neck pain can be a symptom of a more serious medical condition. If so, an assessment by a physiotherapist and/or chiropractor may dismiss the potential causes listed above and refer you to a physician. In all scenarios, the journey toward recovery begins with an assessment. If located in the Greater Edmonton area, contact us today to schedule yours.