A stiff neck can have dire consequences on many other facets of your daily life. You’ll have a harder time focusing at work, you probably won’t feel like getting much exercise for the day and, depending on how bad the pain is, you might not even get enough sleep at night.
And these are all big problems. If you’re like 50% of all working Americans, you suffer from some kind of unpleasant back pain symptoms every year, and you’re probably sick of trying to figure out what to do to beat the pain. Statistics show that Americans spend an estimated $50 billion annually simply trying to treat these chronic pain problems, but the most effective ways might cost not much at all.
That’s why we’ve put together this list of three simple tips to keep in mind for treating your own upper back and neck pain on your own. Sure, cervical fusion surgery is one option, but why should it come to that at all? For example…
The wrong pillows might just wreck your neck.
OK, maybe “wreck” is too strong a verb, but there’s no denying that lying in the wrong position with little to no support for your neck can bring on pain and severe discomfort. Studies have shown that using the right pillow — and using it the right way — can be a great way to ensure you don’t endure lasting pain in your upper neck and even up into the regions of your head. The “right” pillow is, of course, different for everyone, but experts agree it should fill in space between your head and the bed without tilting your head either forward or backward.
The wrong posture is wreaking havoc on your back.
If you’ve ever heard of “text neck,” you understand how improper posture can cause serious discomfort in your daily particulars. Starting too long at your cell phone with your head turned down can be awful for your upper back because of the stress it places on your spine. In fact, the more your head is tilted forward and downward at all, the more your spine is feeling that unnecessary pull. This can lead to severe pain in the long run, and if it doesn’t get better with physical therapy, doctors may even recommend advanced treatment options like spinal disc replacement surgery or even cervical fusion.
You can help your neck with a few simple exercises.
We mentioned physical therapy above, but you don’t have to wait for a doctor’s note to start practicing good neck exercise right at home. There are plenty of range-of-motion practices you can do without much difficulty, and all of them with help you knock out the chronic stiffness you might be feeling. Gentle neck rolls, head turns and stretches can help, too. Always check with your doctor beforehand to ensure your symptoms aren’t signs of a larger spinal condition.
These tips are not meant to take the place of any proper medical advice you’d receive from your doctor. Make sure you consult him or her if you symptoms persist or even get worse. Remember — if it’s surgery you fear, most doctors will prescribe physical therapy before they ever opt for cervical fusion. For more information, read this website.