Why Does My Neck Hurt?
If you are experiencing regular neck pain that just won’t go away, it’s possible that parts of your daily routine are contributing without you realising. Here are a few common everyday activities that might be making your neck pain worse.
1. Your Sleeping Position
It’s easy to underestimate the impact your sleeping position has however, spending hours in one position will undoubtedly have an effect on your body. Pillows that are too high or too flat can mean your neck is sitting at the end of range in too much flexion (looking down) or extension (looking up). Similarly, sleeping on your stomach often means your upper back is locked into extension and your neck is fully rotated. In simpler terms, this means your joints are under more stress than necessary. Ideal sleeping posture allows your spine to maintain it’s natural curves.
2. Your Daily Commute
Many of us make sure our work stations are ergonomically set up to reduce stress and strain throughout the day. Few of us take the same consideration when it comes to driving. In fact, the set up of your car can be just as important as your work-desk, particularly if you are driving more than 30 minutes everyday. The correct setup in your car can mean you use less effort to drive and turn your head less often to check traffic.
Ensuring that your steering wheel, seat and mirrors are set up correctly could make a difference to your posture and even perhaps reduce neck pain and headaches. If you find that driving is still affecting your pain after making these changes, try catching public transport or riding a bike on alternative days.
3. Your Downtime
Many of us unwind by watching TV, playing on our phones or using laptops at the end of the day. Your position during this time can be something you give little thought to however, looking up or turning to view a screen mounted on a wall or looking down at a small screen or laptop can put pressure on the upper structures of the neck. Take a few minutes to consider what posture you’re sitting in before settling down to binge watch a series and see if you can either lower the height of your screen, raise it slightly or pick the prime seating position so your neck can be in a more neutral position.
4. Your Exercise Routine
Any activity that requires sustained positions or repetitive neck movements can contribute to neck pain. Cyclists can be stuck in neck extension while looking ahead and breast stroke swimmers can also have excess neck extension. Freestyle swimmers with reduced thoracic or neck rotation can have difficulty achieving rotation when breathing which can cause pain and discomfort over time. A heavy knock or fall in footy can also cause whiplash and cause neck pain too.
Your physiotherapist is able to identify any daily habits or activities that might be contributing to your neck pain. Come and see us for an appointment to see how we can help. None of the information in this article is a replacement for proper medical advice. Always see a medical professional for advice on your individual injury.