Neck pain is a 21st century disease. Just about everyone suffers from neck pain at one time or another. It can be an occasional mild nuisance that can be easily ignored most of the time. But what can we do when neck pain becomes unbearable? First of all, consider why your neck might be sore.
With the advent of the digital age, people are spending too much time crouched in front of a computer or craning their necks down to look at their smart phone. This can seriously aggravate, strain and wear out neck muscles. Posture is especially important for maintaining a healthy neck when we consider that the average human head weighs about as much as a bowling ball (and I’m not talking 5 pin). With proper posture, the head is balanced perfectly and the neck muscles can be at rest. However, if we are slouching forward and sticking our chins out, there is a constant strain on the neck muscles to keep the head up, leaving the neck muscles sore. Consider these tips for proper computer posture.
2. Lack of Movement
With all the time spent staring at a computer or a tv screen, the neck simply doesn’t get enough exercise. The human body is made for movement. Movement helps to produce synovial fluid which lubricates and cushions our joints. A lack of movement causes this lubrication to stop or dry up leaving our necks as mechanically sound as a car without engine oil. Try these gentle neck stretching exercises for the office.
3. Lack of Strength
Sitting in front of a computer all day can be even harder to do if we are out of shape. Yes, you need to be in shape to sit. Keeping our neck muscles constantly contracted in one position for 8 hours is incredibly difficult for our bodies to do. Strengthening these muscles and increasing their endurance will improve their ability to face that challenge. Many neck muscles start in the shoulders and can be strengthened by doing shoulder exercises. Consider adding the military shoulder press, shoulder shrugs, rowing motions and alternate dumbell shoulder press to your exercise routine. Also tai chi, swimming, elliptical machines and yoga can be very helpful too.
4. Lack of Maintenance
A good way to maintain the health of your neck is to use proper office ergonomics, daily neck stretches and regular shoulder exercises. A good addition to neck maintenance is a regular massage or acupuncture treatment. An effective therapeutic massage and acupuncture treatment can help flush out the toxins that are building up in the muscles, break down adhesions or scar tissue that is starting to develop, normalize the nerve pathways to your muscles and take care of potential issues before they become a problem. If you wake up with a neck so sore that you cannot move it, a good treatment can restore most neck functioning almost immediately.