Understanding Neck Pain

Many people describe neck pain as having a “stiff neck” or a “sore neck”. Stress, long periods of sitting in one position and injuries can all cause neck pain.

What are the symptoms of neck pain?

If you have neck pain you may also have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Stiffness when turning your head
  • Tight or painful muscle knots
  • Headaches

What are the causes of neck pain?

Besides injury and accidents, there are several types of activities that can cause neck pain. The following are common causes of neck pain:

  • Bending over a desk for a long period or a computer monitor that’s too high or too low
  • Poor posture, especially while watching TV or reading
  • Sleeping in a position that’s uncomfortable
  • Twisting and turning the neck in a jarring manner when you’re working out or exercising
  • Sit-ups with straight legs, leg lifts when lying on your stomach
  • Muscle tension from stress

When should I see my doctor?

You should see your doctor if:

  • Your pain is severe
  • Your pain is getting worse or is not improving after 3 days
  • Your neck pain persists
  • You have other symptoms that worry you

Lifestyle tips for neck pain

There are some simple things you can do to help you protect your neck and avoid neck pain in the future.

  • Make sure you’re sleeping in a comfortable position, with a pillow that doesn’t strain your neck
  • If you work at a desk often – adjust your computer to eye level, make sure your chair is at the right height and stretch once an hour
  • Use relaxation techniques to relieve stress and tension in your neck
  • Practice good posture
  • Cold packs are useful to reduce swelling and pain following an injury, while heat packs can help to relieve tight muscles

Always consult with your doctor before starting a new exercise regimen or routine.

If you have any other aches or pains, you may find the tips in the Muscle Pain section helpful.

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