Affecting anywhere from 50 to 70 percent of the population at some point, neck pain isn’t unusual. However, there may be things you’re unintentionally doing to place added stress on the muscles, tendons, and joints that support your cervical spine that aren’t all that good for your neck.
If you’re constantly looking down to text or email, you’re adding strain to your neck muscles. Even consistently tilting your head downward to type on your laptop or computer can result in misalignment, muscle spasms, or early onset arthritis. Symptoms associated with neck pain can include:
- Muscle stiffness, tension, or soreness
- Discomfort that worsens with movement
- Pain extending to your arms or hands
- Numbness or tingling sensations
Use Nicotine Products
An Emory University study suggests smoking may hasten degeneration of discs that support the neck. There’s also research indicating nicotine may prevent nourishment from getting to the small blood vessels near spinal discs. According to the American Lung Association, the effects of quitting smoking are immediate.
Sleeping On Your Stomach
Aside from throwing your spine out of natural alignment, sleeping on your stomach also places a lot of extra pressure on your neck. If you absolutely have to sleep on your stomach, spine surgeons in Los Angeles suggest forgoing a pillow altogether or opting for a softer, thinner pillow and place another pillow under your knees to restore alignment.
Ideally, your head and shoulders should be aligned. Avoid arching forward while standing, hanging your head down, or shifting your neck to one side or the other.
Being aware of these potential sources of neck pain, which is often caused by some degree of muscle strain, can help you minimize discomfort throughout your day. If neck pain lasts for more than a day or two, comes on suddenly and sharply, or gets worse, check with your doctor.
To learn more about neck pain, including causes and treatment options, schedule an in-person consultation with a Los Angeles board-certified spine surgeon. Call The Spine Institute today at (310) 828-7757 and start your journey towards a pain-free life.