Neck pain occurs in the upper region of the spine, also known as the cervical spine, at the level of vertebrae C1-C7. The pain can occur either locally in the neck, or it can extend down the back, between shoulder blades, or even upward, sometimes leading to headaches.
What Triggers Neck Pain
Most commonly, problems in the neck occur due to poor posture. This includes sleeping positions overnight as well as the way we sit at our desks throughout the day.
When it comes to sleeping, having our body in a position that places increased strain on the neck as we rest, can unsurprisingly lead to pain in the morning as well as a stiff neck.
In our day-to-day lives, spending long times slouched over a desk, with our neck extended forward and head tilted downward either to read or look at the keyboard or laptop screen as we type can place a strain on the bones, nerves and neck muscles in the cervical spine, leading to a range of problems. In the long term it can also lead to altered appearance of the cervical spine, with a notable exaggerated curvature.
In addition to lifestyle factors, certain spinal disorders can lead to problems in the neck. These include:
How to Treat and Prevent Neck Pain
In a large number of cases, pain in the cervical spine may go away on its own without any intervention. For cases where the pain persists or it even gets worse, there are some approaches you can take to help with recovery. These include both lifestyle changes and active treatment methods such as:
- Practicing good posture while sitting down or sleeping. When you spend time at your desk, try to ensure that you don’t have to bend your neck forward and have everything you need to see and work with at eye level.
- Gently stretch your neck on all sides to make sure that you are targeting the spot where the pain originates. Regular stretching may also help improve range of motion in the neck.
- Apply a heating pad, alternating with a cold pad to the region where the pain is located to reduce inflammation.
- Use a spinal decompression device to remove any compression or strain on your neck in a natural way: