In the course of your daily activities, whether it’s unwinding at home, tackling work challenges, or engaging in sports, your neck endures a significant amount of strain. With its remarkable mobility, the neck consists of a complex structure comprising muscles, bones, joints, tendons, blood vessels, and nerves, all packed into a compact space of about 5 inches.
Functionally, your neck plays a crucial role in supporting the weight of your 12-pound head and facilitating the connection between your spinal cord, brain, and the rest of your body. However, due to its intricate design and constant involvement in everyday movements, the neck is particularly susceptible to injuries and chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis, which can make even the slightest motion painful.
Understanding the Habits That Contribute to Aggravating Neck Pain
Various habits, often overlooked, can contribute to or exacerbate neck pain. Among the most common culprits are:
Poor Posture and Neck Pain: Slouching in front of the computer at work or on the sofa while watching movies at home is commonplace today. This affects spinal stability and doesn’t provide the neck the muscular support that it requires to stay healthy. This poor posture leads to uneven wear on spinal discs, joints, and ligaments, increasing the risk of degenerative changes and strain associated with spinal misalignment. Neck pain related to poor posture typically begins with muscle aches and pain in the neck, upper back, and shoulders. It’s often the cause of tension headaches as well as neck stiffness that may be worse at the end of a long day.
Lack of Physical Activity and Neck Pain: Regular physical activity, such as walking, cycling, and cardiovascular exercises, improves circulation and promotes healthy blood flow to the structures of the spine. But working 9 to 5 hunched over the computer for long hours or enjoying a movie
marathon on the weekend can make the muscles in the neck stiff and weak, thus leading to neck pain. Sitting with your chin thrust forward or with your neck bent in an unfavorable position can compress the neck muscles and you may even experience headaches, muscle tightness, and spasms along with your neck pain
Carrying Heavy Over-the-Shoulder Bags and Neck Pain: Men and women generally carry over-the-shoulder purses, laptop bags or messenger bags on the same shoulder every day. These bags often have thin straps that are unable to support the weight and thereby put a strain on your muscles. The lack of weight distribution causes you to lean to one side and affects your ability to maintain an upright posture. They also affect your walk – uneven weight distribution forces you to swing one arm more than the other. This adjustment affects your neck and shoulders by increasing the exertion of one side while leaving the other dormant. Excessive weight can tighten the shoulder muscles and cause spasms. This stiffness in the neck and shoulder area can hinder your daily functioning and reduce your neck’s full range of motion.
Reading in Bed and Neck Pain: Reading is not discouraged, but it’s important to be mindful of your spinal alignment while doing so. Avoid reading while lying on your side, as it can strain your neck. Also, the position of your head while you read in bed affects your neck dramatically. A downwardly flexed head and neck irritate the neck muscles and the back of your skull if you maintain this posture for an extended time.
Cell Phone Usage and Neck Pain: Constantly looking down at your cell phone to read or text, as well as bending your neck to prop your phone between your ear and shoulder during calls, can lead to increased neck pain. To prevent undue stress on your neck, always hold your phone at eye level when reading or texting
Stress and Neck Pain: Stress can manifest itself by way of tight muscles. When we experience chronic stress, our bodies can hold tension in our neck and shoulder muscles, which can lead to pain. The more stressed we are, the more tense our muscles become, causing more neck pain and discomfort.
It is crucial not to ignore neck pain. Make sure to check your posture while sitting, ensure that you take frequent breaks and perform neck stretches to relieve pain and stiffness and also keep solutions handy like using your phone on speaker or using a neck pillow while reading.
Neck pain can compromise your quality of life. While popping a painkiller for relief seems like the easiest solution, you should actually skip them and go for a better option, an Ayurvedic balm. One such Ayurvedic pain relief balm is Zandu Balm. Made with 100% Ayurvedic ingredients like Ingredients like Gandhapura, Pudina Ka satva, Eucalyptus Oil and many more herbs, it is a time-tested solution for effective pain relief.
By understanding the common factors that contribute to neck pain and adopting healthy habits, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of experiencing discomfort or developing chronic conditions in your neck. If neck pain persists for a long time, it is imperative to consult with your doctor for further course of action.