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What is Neck Pain and How Does Your Posture Affect Your Neck?

Everyone has felt the pain of a stiff neck at one point or another. It’s more common than you might think! Neck pain is often influenced by poor posture but can also be caused by other factors such as whiplash or an injury.

Neck pain and how your posture impacts your neck are essential to understand to prevent it! In this blog post, we will discuss: what constitutes the neck? What kind of problems occurs in the neck? How does your posture impact your neck?

What is Neck pain?

What can cause neck pain

Pain in the neck (or Cervical Spine) may be acute (sudden onset) or chronic (long-term) and can be found in most people. However, neck pain can vary in location, cause, and severity. In addition, neck pain is often influenced by how you carry your head, which affects your posture.

For example, suppose you struggle with a slouched-over posture. In that case, you are more likely to experience neck strain due to pressure on your back muscles and the impact of Forward Head Posture.

CUES + CLUES

Keep a straight but relaxed chin.

Don't slouch over or use excessive curvature in the upper spine.

You'll be able to keep your body erect without putting too much pressure on important ligaments and muscle groups around your lower back!

What factors can influence neck discomfort?​

The key to keeping neck pain manageable is early recognition and appropriate treatment. Neck issues should not be ignored as they can lead to more serious health problems if left untreated!

Pain originating in the neck is a problem that many people have. It is often related to poor posture but can also be caused by other things such as whiplash or an injury. Neck pain and its effects on your posture are important to understand so you can prevent it!

Neck discomfort can often feels like a burning, tingling sensation in the neck or upper shoulders that may worsen with prolonged hunched back activities or excessive phone use.

Neck problems may also arise:

  • From overuse of one side due to strain,
  • Sudden trauma (such as pulling an arm away from something collapsing on top of you),
  • Postural misalignment can lead to a limited range of movement of the neck. Issues such as Text Neck.
  • Injury during sports activities inducing whiplash motions,
  • Congenital abnormalities affecting musculoskeletal function.

The key to keeping pain manageable is early recognition and appropriate treatment. Neck issues should not be ignored as they can lead to more serious health problems if left untreated!

How is neck pain diagnosed?

There are a few different ways to diagnose neck pain. The first is a physical exam where your doctor will check for any redness, swelling, or tenderness in the area. You will also likely be asked to move your head and neck in different directions to see if there is any pain.

If the cause of your neck pain is unknown or your doctor suspects you have a more serious condition, they may order imaging tests such as an x-ray, MRI, or CT scan.

How can neck pain be treated?

There are many ways to treat neck pain. The most common approach is to first rest the area and avoid any activities that worsen the pain. This usually lasts for a few days to a week.

Your doctor may also prescribe medication such as muscle relaxants or anti-inflammatory drugs to help relieve pain and swelling.

Some form of allied health is also a common treatment approach that can include:

  • Stretching exercises,
  • targeted massage,
  • heat or ice therapy,

 

If your neck pain is caused by poor posture, you may need to make some changes to your daily routine to help improve your posture.

How does your posture affect your neck?

Sitting poorly at the desk can lead to neck pain.

Neck positioning, or, posture is how the head and spine are fixed in space while sitting or standing. Therefore, any movement away from balance and ease can negatively affect your neck and any future discomfort. A significant factor in head and neck positioning is the effect of gravity. The more the head is out of alignment, the greater the pressure on the neck. Therefore, it is essential to maintain good stance habits to avoid straining unnecessary muscles, tendons, or ligaments in the neck and shoulder region!

The job of the spinal muscles is to provide stability and control. Neck pain or stiffness can occur if muscle strength around your spine isn’t strong enough to hold your body in place, or even upright. So it’s important to keep these muscles active throughout the day.

A healthy, active lifestyle makes a huge difference in maintaining proper alignment. Staying mobile and engaging in regular whole-body approaches to exercise conditions all parts of your body, including neck musculature – and those muscles that provide support from below.

Can neck pain be caused by computer use?

Neck pain from too much time in front of the computer

Yes, neck pain can be caused by computer use, especially if sitting in an incorrect position. For example, if you are looking down at your screen all day, you may experience neck and shoulder pain due to the strain on your muscles. In addition, extended uninterrupted time in front of a computer can also lead to slouching and the associated forward head posture.

Also, staring at a computer screen for long periods can cause eye fatigue, leading to headaches. This can then lead to a spiral in which tension in the neck and shoulders can increase. Leading to further postural changes.

An often overlooked issue is tightness in the arms and shoulders leading to neck pain.

8 ergonomic tips for screen placement

Glare from computer screen can affect head and neck position when working on computer

Check your vision

A great way to start is by checking your vision. Wear them if you need glasses or contacts to see the screen clearly. You may also want to adjust the text size on your computer screen.

Eye fatigue and headaches are common symptoms of computer use, so it’s essential to take breaks often and give your eyes a rest.

Avoid screen glare

Hunching your back to avoid screen glare can cause neck and shoulder pain. Instead, try to adjust the brightness and contrast of your screen, so it’s easy on your eyes. You may also want to invest in an anti-glare screen protector or filter.

How is the image quality on your screen?

Determining the optimal viewing distance for your screen is key to preventing eye fatigue. If you’re sitting too close or too far away, you may experience discomfort. The general rule of thumb is to sit so that the screen is directly in front of your eyes and the top of the screen is at or below eye level.

Don’t make yourself twist to look at the screen.

Gravity is constantly pulling on your head, so it’s important to avoid twisting your neck to see the screen. Instead, position your screen to see it without having to move your head.

Get a Document Holder

Wondering how to stop neck pain from computer use? Get a document holder! This is an adjustable device that helps you keep your documents and screen at the same level, which can help reduce neck strain.

Watch How Far Away Your Screen Is

Maintaining the correct distance from your screen is also essential for preventing eye fatigue and neck pain. Too close or too far, and you may experience discomfort. 

A general rule of thumb is to sit so that the screen is directly in front of your eyes and the top of the screen is at or below eye level.

Make the Screen High Enough

A screen that’s too low can cause you to hunch your back, leading to neck and shoulder pain. The ideal height for your screen should allow you to look straight ahead without having to strain your neck. Elevate your screen or adjust your chair to move within an ideal range.

Adjust Screen Position for Your Corrective Eyewear

Sitting too close to the screen or having the screen positioned in a way that forces you to tilt your head up can cause neck pain if you wear corrective eyewear. Instead, try moving it further away from you or elevating it higher on the desk to adjust your screen.

And as always, take breaks every 20 minutes to move around and stretch your neck and upper body.

Further Considerations

  1. Neck pain is a serious problem that some people might want to discuss with their physician. 
  2. Good upper body posture can go some way to help prevent pain or any other neck-related injuries. 
  3. Neck pains can also be controlled by making time for exercise on your schedule.  
  4. It’s important to address lifestyle habits that might contribute to neck pain-causing issues in the future!

Finally

Neck pain can be caused by many things. One cause is bad posture. Your body position impacts your neck, and you need to know how to keep it healthy in the future! One way to do this is early recognition and treatment. It is important that pain should not be ignored because it could lead to other serious health problems if left untreated!