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Tips for Preventing Neck Pain

November 10, 2012 - Dr. Greg Walsh
Many patients come into my office complaining of an aching feeling at the base of the neck. Digging deeper into the patients’ histories, I often find that the causation is prolonged poor posture, especially with downward craning of the neck.

When our shoulders slump forward or we look down for extended periods of time, we stress the lower portion of our necks. If left untreated, this stress can lead to arthritis, pain and decreased range of motion. In severe cases, the pain can move along the path of the nerves to the shoulders, arms and hands.

To prevent this problem, maintaining a healthy environment for your spine is key. Having your spine checked periodically by a chiropractor limits your risk of future problems arising. While at work, find an office chair that has low back support. A chair that allows you to swivel in place is an added bonus because it limits the amount of time you spend sitting with your neck in a turned position. Your chair should be high enough to allow your arms to rest comfortably on your desk or keyboard. Most importantly, set up your monitor so that you are eye level with the top third of the screen.

If you are lucky enough to be walking along the shore searching for the perfect shell or enjoying the latest Randy Wayne White novel in the comfort of a beach chair, make sure to take frequent breaks from looking down. Slowly motion your neck in every direction. This will keep the muscles from stiffening and help relax the joints in the lower part of your neck.

Prolonged pain at the base of your neck (more than a few hours) could indicate that you have stressed your neck to a point where the segments have moved out of alignment and are putting pressure on the surrounding nerves. If this happens, the most efficient way of treating the problem is to put a bag of ice on the area for 20-30 minutes to reduce swelling and contact your chiropractor to correct the misalignment as quickly as possible.


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