What can I do to relieve my neck pain or stiffness?
Most people are familiar with the pain and inconvenience of a painful and stiff neck, whether it has appeared upon waking up one morning, developed over a period of time, or maybe after some strenuous activity such as exercise or moving furniture.
More often than not, it may just be some annoying stiffness or pain at the end of your range of movement, especially when trying to turn your head to one side. It may also be accompanied by a headache, neck pain, shoulder pain and/or arm pain. In some cases, to look sideways or over your shoulder, you may need to turn your entire body instead of your neck.
Some milder cases of neck pain will get better within a few days without you needing to consult with a health professional. During this time keeping active and carrying on with your normal activities as much as possible is encouraged. Having aches, pains and stiffness is a normal part of being a human and we don’t always need to rush off to get checked at the first hint of something happening. But, if what you’re experiencing is abnormal for you, prevents you from your normal daily activities, lasts longer than expected and doesn’t respond to your own management; it’s worthwhile to book an appointment (Book online here) with us to get you heading in the right direction.
The following may help relieve your symptoms and speed up your recovery:
- Are there any aggravating factors that you are aware of? e.g. staying in one position for long periods of time, your sleeping position or a specific exercise at the gym. If you can identify aggravating factors, you can look for ways to modify or avoid those factors for a period of time to allow your tissues to recover.
- If you spend prolonged periods of time in static positions like working at a desk or driving, we recommend taking a regular break from that position – e.g. 5-10minutes approx. every hour and a longer break every 2-3 hours to help avoid static stiffness. (See below for some stretch ideas).
- Have an ergonomic assessment to identify and reduce risk factors in the workplace. If you spend a lot of your day seated or standing at a desk, or behind the wheel of a car, an ergonomic assessment can help to identify any contributing factors and make the appropriate changes. Ask us about in-office or ergonomic video assessments.
- Increase neck strength. There is great evidence for strengthening your neck as a way to reduce existing complaints and prevent future occurrences. However, having the right set of exercises specific to your problem and body is important – so book in to see one of our team so we can prescribe something effective and personalised.
- “Workplace-based strengthening exercises were effective in reducing neck pain in office workers who were symptomatic, and the effect size was larger when the exercises were targeted to the neck/shoulder.”
Written by Myotherapist – Matt Jeffers