Why is my neck sore all the time?
One of the most common questions we get asked at Mark O'Brien Chiropractic is “why is my
neck sore all of the time?”. You can rejoice in knowing that you’re not alone, and that there is a solution!
Neck pain is one of the most common ailments that we treat at our clinic. It’s even more present in modern life, with handheld devices and increased workplace stressors playing major roles in the frequency and severity of the issue.
Research suggests that the prevalence of handheld devices such as mobile phones and tablets is bad for our posture. This is because, when viewing a device, our neck is lowered, and our shoulders typically roll forward. This position alone does not cause pain and discomfort. However, if you think about how much you use your mobile phone daily and for how long at each sitting, if your posture is not up to standard – that’s when it can become an issue.
Device usage is not the only culprit when it comes to neck pain. Bad posture when walking and sitting will also cause tension and stress in the shoulders and neck muscles. Other factors such as frequently carrying heavy backpacks or satchels can put pressure on the neck. Mental stressors can cause the body to hold onto stress in the form of tense muscles. These issues can definitely be minimised or prevented entirely by introducing healthy habits. However, issues like sports injuries and car accidents are typically unforeseen and are significant contributors to chronic neck pain.
Some symptoms that are linked to neck pain include pain in the mid-back and shoulders, as well as tingling or numbness in the arms, hands or fingers. Muscle tension, headaches and dizziness may also be present.
How Can We Improve Neck Health?
Making sure your neck is aligned, strong and capable of a healthy range of motion reduces the chance of neck-related pain. Some preventative measures include:
· Stretching the neck - The neck should be able to stretch from side to side at a 45-degree angle. Putting your chin to your chest is also a great way of checking neck flexibility. You should aim to stretch your neck if you have kept it still for a length of time. Stretching your neck can be done just about anywhere, anytime! You may want to choose the time and place when at work, to avoid some strange looks though.
· Stretch your back - Neck pain can have a variety of causes and can often be linked to issues in the lower back. So, it’s best to stretch the entire back on a regular basis. Yoga incorporates back stretches and is a great-low impact exercise option in order to remain mobile and pain-free!
· Assess your posture - Be sure to fix your posture when you notice your shoulders and head starting to droop. Good posture can help alleviate stress and muscle tension which ultimately lead to pain in the neck.
· Strengthen your core. This one is important! Learn how to engage your deep abdominal muscles and pelvic floor, and work on all those muscles that wrap around your spine. A strong core is key to injury and pain prevention – yes, even in your neck!
· Book in to see your chiropractor - This one is particularly important if you are already experiencing neck pain. Chiropractic adjustment is one of the best ways to alleviate neck pain as it allows interferences to be unblocked, allowing for greater function of the upper spine, making sure your neck is healthy and strong. Gentle chiropractic approaches can also help (so if you don’t like manipulations, that’s ok!).
Neck pain is becoming increasingly common in this day and age. It has a variety of causes - most of which can be managed by implementing simple changes to your daily routine. Pain can be minimised and prevented through stretching and maintaining a great posture. So, until NECKS-time, (see what we did there) keep that neck a-stretchin!
Al-Hadidi, F., Bsisu, I., AlRyalat, S. A., Al-Zu'bi, B., Bsisu, R., Hamdan, M., ...Samarah, O. (2019). Association between mobile phone use and neck pain in university students: A cross-sectional study using numeric rating scale for evaluation of neck pain. PLoS ONE, 14(5), e0217231. Retrieved from https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A586083029/AONE?u=cqu&sid=AONE&xid=c3331ab3
Chiroshop (2013). Neck pain: The natural, healthy and effective solution. Retrieved from www.chiroshop.com.au