Neck and shoulder pain is one of the most common types of pain experienced by people. According to statistics, around 80% of people experience neck and shoulder pain at some point in their lifetime. And given the rise in the use of smartphones, the number is ever-increasing.
Neck and shoulder pain is most often caused due to lifestyle factors, including bad posture, sedentary lifestyle, and poor diet and stress. However, it can also result from osteoarthritis, neck or spinal injury, or repetitive motion of your neck.
Fortunately, there are several ways to get rid of neck and shoulder pain. This post looks at how you can ease the bothersome neck and shoulder pain and enjoy a pain-free life.
Limit Your Screen Time
This includes both the usage of your laptop or desktop and your smartphone. Constantly looking downwards can strain your neck and shoulder muscles causing pain in the region. If you are at work and cannot limit the screen’s use, it is best to take small breaks every hour and stretch your neck and shoulder muscles while sitting. Stretching can ease the muscles and help you get rid of pain due to constantly looking in a certain direction.
Moreover, limit the use of your smartphone at home. When using a smartphone in a non-professional setting such as your home, make sure you don’t hunch your back. Some of the tips that can help you manage neck and shoulder pain without straining your muscles while using a smartphone are
- Hold the phone at eye level,
- Hold your phone using your hands and avoid telephonic conversations with your phone between your ears and shoulders,
- Take short breaks while using your phone to stretch your neck and shoulder muscles.
Cut Down Your Driving Time
Similar to the use of smartphones and desktops, driving can also strain your neck and shoulder muscles. If you drive for longer hours, it is best to take breaks and stretch your muscles to avoid neck and shoulder pain. If you find it challenging to keep track of time, it is best to set up an alarm as a reminder to stretch your neck. Moreover, look for added support for your neck and back to avoid neck and shoulder pain due to prolonged driving.
Modify Your Sleep Position
Improper sleeping position is one of the most common causes of neck and shoulder pain. If you experience neck and shoulder pain right after you wake up, it is best to change your sleep position. By modifying your sleep position, you can get rid of neck and shoulder pain. As a rule, sleeping on your side puts lesser pressure on your neck than sleeping on your stomach. Moreover, it is best to sleep on a soft, single pillow that offers adequate neck support.
Perhaps the easiest and most effective way to get rid of neck and shoulder pain is stretching. Whether you are at school, work, or home, make it a habit to stretch your neck and shoulder muscles a few times every day. Some of the easy neck and shoulder stretches that you can add to your routine are
- A sideward movement where you allow your ear to touch your shoulder,
- Slowly turn your head from left to right and vice versa,
- Pulling your arms backward to squeeze your shoulder blade,
- Rolling your shoulders back and forth.
There is no set frequency of repeating these stretches. It may be a good idea to complete 8-10 repetitions of each stretch 3-4 times a day.
It is important to note that you go for gentle movements when you stretch your neck and shoulder muscles. If you are already experiencing neck and shoulder pain, sudden and jerky movements can intensify pain, aggravate inflammation, and lead to injury.
Try a Massage
Another popular way of getting rid of neck and shoulder pain is a massage. Make sure you get a massage by a trained professional. Trained practitioners can locate the most painful muscle and use a gentle motion to loosen and stretch the strained muscle. Swedish massage is one of the best and most effective massages for people with neck and shoulder pain. However, one can also go for a deep tissue massage. In that case, you may experience aggravated pain, which subsides after a few massage sessions.
Regardless of the type of massage you choose to get rid of neck and shoulder pain, make sure you go for a trained professional as they know exactly how to deal with a painful muscle.
Stress is one of the major causes of neck and shoulder pain. Therefore, managing stress is an effective way to get rid of neck and shoulder pain. If you work in a highly stressful work setting or generally experience more stressors, it is best to try specific ways to manage stress, including
- Coloring and other art techniques,
- Incorporating physical exercise on most days of the week or
- Simply doing anything you enjoy.
For some people de-cluttering or giving their home a deep cleaning can have therapeutic effects. If you are one of those, why not use it to manage stress and get rid of neck and shoulder pain.
When to See a Doctor
If neck and shoulder pain is a frequent concern, you can try some OTC medication, including ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Moreover, you can also apply hot and cold packs to relieve neck and shoulder pain. While you can manage minor neck and shoulder pain at home, that’s not always the case.
If the pain persists or interferes with your everyday activities and you experience some additional unusual symptoms, it best to consult a doctor.
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