Does neck pain interfere with your life? Do you wake up at night with a numb arm or struggle to get out of bed in the morning with a stiff neck? Follow a few simple tricks:
Neutral position during sleep
Avoid sleeping on your stomach. When sleeping on your stomach, your neck must rotated to allow for breathing. This may cause stiffness or pain in the morning. Try to fall asleep on your back or on your side. Make sure your head is in neutral positon. When lying on your back, use only a flat pillow, gently tuck your chin slightly elongating your neck. If you are a side sleeper, you will need more support for your head. Use either two flat pillows or one bulky pillow. Fall asleep with your neck “long”. Avoid falling asleep curled up in a fetal position.
Smart phone - the worst enemy
Using smart phone can be hard on your neck. Try to follow few simple rules:
- When on the phone avoid holding it to your ear with your shoulder. This forces your neck great side flexion a stretch and may result in acute neck pain. Use headphones of if you must, for short conversation hold the phone in your hand.
- When browsing the internet or looking at the screen make sure you hold your phone in front of you, not looking down curling up to it or even leaning to one side. Lift your gaze away from the screen every so often to allow your neck muscles to relax from the static position. This will help your eyes, thumbs and back as well.
- If possible use dictation to reduce the amount of muscle effort while typing.
The safest and usually the most effective stretch is a gentle chin tuck. Try to bring your earlobes just above your shoulders, hold briefly and then relax. Make sure you are not just tipping your chin down. Imagine your head is sliding on a tray back or you are sliding your head away from a mirror that is too close. If that motion feels stiff or even sore initially, then eases with repetitions, then you are doing the right move for your neck. Repeat this motion 5-10 times several times per day.