Neck aches may arise from many different sources. Perhaps you slept late, and in an awkward position last night. Or maybe you spent too much time on the computer, slouching forwards and are constantly in a bad posture the entire day. Could it also be that you’re too glued to the phone, and developed the bad habit of bending your head down to stare at your phone. A combination of the 3 doesn’t sound impossible either! But whatever it is, it’s causing your neck to hurt, and it’s affecting your daily life. So what can you do in the short term to alleviate this discomfort?
1. Correct your posture
Bad posturing causes the muscles in the neck to tighten, so as to protect the rest of your neck region, but the tight muscles also causes aches and pains. Make sure that when you use your phone, you’re bringing your phone up to your eye level, and not lowering your head. This will help to alleviate the pressure at the back of the neck caused by excessive bending of the neck. Remember to sit up straight when using a computer, and that the screen is at eye level so as to avoid unnecessary straining of the neck, such as tilting and twisting your head to look at the screen.
2. Take frequent breaks
Take frequent breaks when using your computers or phones, or when reading a book, or even when you are driving, to rest your neck from any straining you are forced to do.
3. Stretch your neck and shoulders
One way to provide immediate relief for a stiff and strained neck is to do some proper stretching, which are simple and can be done anywhere, whether you’re at home, in the office, or in your car. There are a number of stretches you can do:
- Shrug your shoulders backwards and downwards, in reps of 10
- Push your shoulder blades together, and squeeze them as much as possible, in reps of 10
- Clasp your hands behind your head, and press your head back into your hands, holding it there for 30 seconds
- Tilt your head to one side, and bring your ear to your shoulder, 10 reps for each side
4. Adjust your sleep positions
Another common cause of neck aches is due to bad sleeping positions, which can be remedied by adjusting and sleeping in a good posture. If you are having neck aches, then you should sleep only on your side or on your back. Never sleep on your stomach, as this will cause you to twist your head into uncomfortable positions for hours at a time. Moreover, sleeping on your stomach can also hurt your back, if your bed is too soft and does not provide much support and your belly sinks in.
5. Apply heat or ice
When faced with neck pains, you may choose to apply ice for the first 2 days to soothe any swelling, and then apply heat to relax your muscles. Heat may be applied with warm showers, compresses or with heat packs. However, make sure to moderate the mount of time applying heat or ice to your aching neck, in order to prevent any skin injuries.