Do you wake up regularly with a stiff neck?
Is sitting at work intolerable, a headache-ridden nightmare?
Neck stiffness and pain are so widespread; you probably assume it’s an inevitable part of life, a condition to merely be tolerated. You may experience it so often you’ve stopped even telling your family and friends, opting instead to grin and bear it.
Well fortunately, there’s an easier way to manage your neck, which left untreated can cause you serious problems.
‘That’s great’, you’re probably thinking, ‘but I don’t have time to see the doctor or physical therapist every time my neck hurts’.
Just so happens you’re in luck, because you don’t have to.Stiff neck treatment is just as effective when performed yourself. It’s exactly what private health insurers don’t want you to know.
Sounds easy right?
The secret to stiff neck treatment
Stiff neck treatment is actually pretty simple. In fact it’s not much of a secret at all.
‘What’s that?’ you say. ‘So why do I keep getting stiff necks?’
Well, possibly because you address the symptoms but neglect the cause.
Symptomatic treatment can only take you so far. Otherwise it’s like inflating a flat tire – You feel good for a while, but your stiff neck will always return. Each time you go to the doctor or for a massage, treatment yields fast results. What you may not learn however, is how to prevent the condition long term. You need to mend the puncture.
So how are stiff necks caused?
Stiff necks can be caused by wear and tear as you age. The discs in the neck that act as cushions between the vertebrae begin to thin, leading to friction between the joints either side of the spine.
More commonly however, the condition is caused by a strain of the muscles in the neck and shoulders. This may happen at night, sleeping in an awkward position, but can just as easily occur in the day.
Ever felt stressed at work? Well, your body’s natural reaction is to hunch your shoulders and tense the muscles around your neck.
Had some arguments with your boss? Cue headache and neck pain.
Add to this your posture at work; sitting in an uncomfortable chair, slouching and leaning forwards to complete that report on time.
Sitting still for hours is the culprit. But coupled with a poor posture is a recipe for disaster. It places enormous stress on your muscles, eventually sending them into spasm.
And the worst thing?
You repeat this routine day after day, for years! It’s no wonder your body begins to complain.
How you can prevent your stiff neck
Well, if lack of movement is one of the primary causes of neck pain, you need to reverse engineer the problem:
Instead of sitting still for hours at work, you must free your body. Moving every hour will nourish your muscles with blood and oxygen, preventing them tightening into spasm. Simple neck movements and stretches will do the trick.
If you’re wondering how to do these exercises, check out my YouTube video walking you through the exact steps you need to take. Included are some more advanced stretches you may not know, targeting problematic muscles. You may have already tried some of these stretches, but probably only when you have a stiff neck. Instead you must make these exercises a daily habit, as vital as brushing your teeth.
To watch the video on YouTube, click here.
So if you’re taking this advice and moving regularly at work, well done. You get a gold star. But the work’s not over.
Now you need to examine your posture.
It’s essential to place your body in its optimal position, one which maintains the natural curvature of the spine. The benefit? No more standing up after a long day feeling like an old woman, bones grating and clunking as you straighten.
You may already know the importance of posture, even had some lectures on ergonomic. What you may not know are the quick tips and tricks to help you improve your posture, fast.
Along with some other goodies, I’ve included this in my video above, so check it out.
Ok, if that’s work covered, what about sleeping?
Sleeping on your front is more likely to cause neck stiffness and pain.
There are surely many of you thinking ‘Well I sleep on my front and don’t get neck problems’. Well you’re the exception rather than the rule.
Sleeping in any position which causes your neck to twist to one side is stressing the muscles and joints in your neck.
Fine when you’re young, but as you get older? Forget about it.
Sleeping on your side with one, maximum two pillows is best.
Keeping your spine straight is the aim.
What you need to do now
Stop making excuses.
Work will always be busy, bosses will always be overbearing and as such you may think you’ll always have a stiff neck and pain.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Go into work tomorrow and make a conscious effort to improve your posture. Set an alarm on your phone or computer to make sure you move every hour (preferably more!). Go home, put some heat on your neck and do some stretches. You can even buy a new mattress if you need to, but make sure to get one that’s designed specifically for neck (and back) pain. Basically do whatever it takes.
Your neck won’t wait until it’s convenient for you to tweak your lifestyle. It has its own agenda and will arise more frequently and severely until you’re forced to take time off and seek professional help.
But you’re smart and won’t let that happen…
Make a stand, and get rid of your stiff neck today.