My Aching Neck! Exercises and Tips to Relieve Neck Pain
THINKING ABOUT POSTURE:
I’ve been thinking about my own posture and looking for ways to improve it for a variety of reasons, some of which include easing my lower back pain.
As I was sifting through infographs and medical advice on how to sit, sleep and stand with better posture, my little boy came over and gave me the 9th degree on what I was doing and why. Once I told him that his Mommy was tired of sitting like Quasimodo, he said that he wanted to work on his posture too.
What do you mean I’m too old to be a haute couture model? But I’ve got the pose down and everything!
Then it dawned on me that if he became more conscious of (but not obsessing about) his posture that small changes now could offer him less ailments associated with poor posture when he becomes an adult. So, we’ve partnered up and we’re reminding each other (so far it’s working and we’re not just nagging at each other) about our poor posture habits.
So, this blog post is not only for the little people in your life who may have already begun to exhibit bad habits that are leading to poor posture, bit for anyone really who wants to improve their own posture.
Let’s start at the top!
WHAT IS TEXT-NECK?
The term ‘text-neck’ has become part of our popular vernacular as a result of people staring down at their phones for extended periods. This ‘text neck’ is sometimes associated with upper back pain caused from prolonged hours hunched over looking at our cellphones and tablets. Additionally, if you work at a desk, there’s a good chance the way you, what you’re sitting on and what you’re doing at your desk is putting strain on your spine and back. We have two fantastic aids to relieve your back when you are at work – our ORIGINAL and LUMBAR cushions (self-plug now over). Still, the strain and pain is not just in our lower backs, as I’ve mentioned we spend a huge chunk of our days with your head’s down either at work, eating, and even socializing now…especially if you consider social media ‘socializing.’
With regards to children, add to that all those little people who are hunched over at their desks for a good portion of the day and then if they are readers, like my little boy, they are spending a lot of time bending their necks down. I’m not suggesting keeping them out of school.
Stay in school, kids.
The problem is that texting and scrolling on the phones is adding another activity to these kids’ lives where they have their heads down and they are hunched over.
Children/young adults may not feel the negative effects of text-neck or slouching until they are older, but as we age, text neck can lead to chronic problems associated with arthritis and neck and back problems later on.
So, for the sake of the children (and ourselves) we can take preventative measures to avoid problems later on.
I know it hurts, but listen to Mr. T.
TIPS TO RELIEVE NECK AND SHOULDER PAIN:
How do we do this?
- Remind yourself and your child/ren to keep your cellphone, tablet or computer at eye level as long as you can. This goes for any screen, really.
- For the love of humanity (and your body), take a break. I know how hard it is to pull yourself away from that twitter fight or that hilarious YouTube video, but seriously, pause it and/or leave whatever you’re looking at on your screen, put your phone or tablet down and give your neck a break.
- Exercise your neck and do neck stretches. I found us all a useful link here. If you feel comfortable with or enjoy yoga, there are some simple poses that can help relieve and strengthen your neck here.
- Don’t weigh yourself down with heavy bags. This goes for those dreaded backpacks for school and overloading when you’re travelling. Look into an over-the-shoulder/messenger bag for you and/or your child.
You forgot your lunch, son.
5 SIMPLE STRETCHES FOR NECK RELIEF:
Other easy neck exercises/stretches include:
- Slowly nodding your head forward and then backward for around 2 minutes or so. Then gradually start moving your head from side to side for another couple of minutes. Don’t move too quickly and give yourself whiplash. We don’t want to be in a remake of Willow Smith’s music video.
- Once you’ve relaxed your neck muscles, slowly rotate your head in a circle (look down and rotate your neck in a circular motion so you end up looking up and then back own again). Do this for at least 20 repetitions.
- Switch your rotation so that you end up rotating counter-clockwise (or clockwise if that’s how you began).
- Now turn your head completely towards the left and then completely towards the right. Do this slowly. Again, we aren’t watching Nascar cars fly by us here. Repeat this for at least 20 reps.
- Do this to relieve the stiffness and pain in your neck.
Tomorrow we’ll go over some ways to improve posture while sitting and standing.
Now go take a break for your neck’s sake.