I often have patients ask me “What can I do at home or at work to get rid of my neck pain on the days I am unable to come in to get adjusted?” As a Chiropractor in San Clemente I see many patients who deal with chronic neck pain and/or headaches and migraines. The vast majority of time, when there is no history of accident or injury to the neck, the main issue is a result of poor posture.
In a previous post I spoke in detail about how the computer stations we sit at affect the position of the neck and low back. This is usually an issue that happens gradually over time. Eventually the problem becomes symptomatic and that’s when I start getting phone calls. So in answer to the previously stated question I will offer some easy at home or work tips to help prevent and rid yourself of nagging neck pain.
Step 1: DO NOT SLEEP ON YOUR STOMACH! I wish there was a way to stress this more to people but this is absolutely the worst position to sleep in. You should sleep on your back or side with proper support for your neck.
Step 2: PROPPER NECK SUPPORT. We sleep and spend all day texting with our heads tilted forward. This reduced the curve in our neck is a big problem. An easy way to get rid of that is to buy a cervical pillow or roll. Another option is to simply roll up a towel to a size that will support your neck and head while offering a slight stretch. This will help to retrain the ligaments and muscles in the neck, resulting in better posture and less muscle tension and irritation to the nerves.
Step 3: MOVE. Another problem is that we tend to sit in stagnant positions throughout the day. We need to move around. It is as simple as looking up, down, side to side, and tilting from left to right. Hold these positions for 10-15 seconds each and repeat for 2 minutes. This is a perfect stretch for a micro-break during the day.
Step 4: DRINK UP. One of the main causes for headaches and muscle tension is dehydration. Staying hydrated will help to keep your joints full of fluid so that movement is not painful.
Step 5: TRACTION. If you do not have one of those fancy inversion tables an easy way to let gravity work with you and not against you is to either lay on the end of your bed just enough to let your head hang over the edge, or to roll up that towel a little bigger. The human head weighs 8-10 lbs on average so that should be enough to get a nice stretch if you lay like that for 5 min. I would not recommend much more than 5 min and if you feel dizzy or light headed do not continue with traction.
If these simple 5 steps are followed on a daily basis you should see a drastic improvement in your health and the posture of your neck within just a few weeks.
If all else fails and the pain is not subsiding or you feel you have hit a plateau feel free to Ask the Doctor or come in for a visit and adjustment at our San Clemente Chiropractic office. I would love to help in any way that I can.