How to Prevent a Stiff Neck
By Sara Butler
There are times when your neck may suddenly become stiff and painful to move for seemingly no reason at all. It can be caused by an underlying problem with your neck, such as arthritis, disc degeneration or spinal stenosis. The worst part of this sad tale is that neck pain and stiffness can come out of nowhere, without an incident for you to attribute it to. So, how can you avoid this pain in the neck? Well, regular trips to your chiropractor is one way to keep your neck healthy and retain a full range of motion, but there are a few tips you can follow outside the chiropractor's office to help keep neck pain away.
What Kind of Pillow Do You Have?
You spend quite a bit of time in your bed, so if your neck is painful and stiff, it may be the first place you should look – specifically at your pillow. There are all kinds of pillows out there, and generally, it’s trial and error to find the correct pillow for you. You need to find a pillow that keeps your spine and neck in a neutral, aligned position. That means the natural curve of your neck is maintained and supported by your pillow throughout the night.
One of the most important things to remember about a pillow is it must fit under your neck to offer it support. Your shoulders should not be on the pillow and your head should not be pushed up in a position where it is higher than the rest of your body. Contour pillows on the market can help to provide this type of support.
What Position Do You Sleep In?
Another important factor when it comes to neck health is the position you sleep in. Chiropractors recommend either sleeping on your back or sleeping on your side. If you’re a stomach sleeper and you suffer from neck pain, then you need to try to train yourself to sleep in another position. Stomach sleeping is the worst position for your neck since it forces you to turn your head to the side for hours on end, causing muscle strain and putting stress on your neck.
How High is Your Computer Monitor?
If you spend a lot of time working at your computer, then you need to ensure your workstation is set up in a way that is healthy for your neck. How do you know if your computer monitor is set to the right height? Try a little experiment!
Close your eyes as you sit comfortably in front of your computer. Open them – are you now looking at the middle of your computer screen? If you aren’t, then it probably means your computer is not set to the correct height. You should not have to look down to gaze at your computer; that puts too much stress and strain on your neck.
These tips can help you avoid neck pain, but your chiropractor certainly has more tricks up his sleeve to help ensure your neck stays healthy and free from pain. Ask the next time you’re in for an adjustment!