You know the feeling. You turn your head and experience pain or soreness and/or a decreased range of motion. The pain can last a moment or show up literally every day. Neck pain is pretty common, too. The CDC reports that nearly one in five of us have experienced neck pain in the last three months.
In general, neck pain is usually caused by muscles weakening over time from misuse or environmental factors. Here are five of the most common reasons why your neck might be stiff, followed by an idea for a wonderful remedy.
1. You’re sleeping wrong. The culprit could be an old or ill-fitting pillow, or the way your body is positioned during sleep, or both. In general, sleeping on your stomach doesn’t help your sleep posture. It affects your lower back and neck because you’ll likely end up twisting your head one way or another throughout the night. Try sleeping only on your side or back.
2. You’re sitting incorrectly at work. You’ve probably heard this a million times, but looking downward at a computer monitor all day will cause muscles around the neck joints to tire, overstretch and weaken. The same thing can happen if you drive for a living and look down at your smartphone a lot. First, don’t look at your smartphone while you’re driving (other drivers will thank you) and get an ergonomic evaluation at work. Your sitting posture is extremely important for more than just reducing a stiff neck. Continue reading “Five Reasons You Have a Stiff Neck”
It’s good to stop and take a look at yourself now and then. In addition to the good things in life, we all get a few challenges. Sometimes you get injured. Sometimes you become ill. Sometimes your work, your family and your relationships cause you stress. Sometimes your muscles ache. And sometimes, you are just tired and need a break from your insane schedule. There’s a growing base of research that suggests that regular massage can have a profound positive effect on most of the challenges you face.
Take a look at this list of common wellness issues and check any and all that apply to you, then check the list below to see how you can more toward more wellness:
___ I am under stress from a relationship, from work, or just life in general.
___ I am very active and sometimes experience aches and pains
___ I am not as active as I should be and sometimes experience stiffness and soreness
Continue reading “Wellness Check Up”
There are more than 2.19 trillion texts sent each year by US mobile phone users. And massage therapists, chiropractors and medical professional are seeing a drastic uptick in the number of people seeking help for the “pain in the neck” texting, and sandwiching their phone between their neck and shoulder gives them.
More than 60% of Americans admit they might not talk to a medical professional if they were suffering from chronic pain. And according to AOA surveys, neck pain is number three most commonly experienced chronic pain (behind lower back pain and arthritis) with about 25% of experiencing the quintessential “pain in the neck”.
There can be many causes of neck pain, including poor posture while standing or sitting, using a crazy old/improper pillow when you sleep, hyperextended neck muscles due to injury or accident, or heavy lifting. And then there’s the phone.
The issue with phones
Continue reading “Dealing With Phone Neck and Text Neck”
The levator scapula muscles are muscles in your neck, one on each side, that run between the upper part of each shoulder blades (scapula) and join with the spine at the top four cervical vertebrae. It is a thin, flat muscle located just below the upper part of the trapezius.
The elevator scapula muscle elevates the scapula when you lift your arms, or shrug your shoulders. It also assists many other muscles in your neck and shoulders with rotation of the scapula and steering your glenohumeral joint.
The muscle is commonly overly used as a result of asymmetrical carrying, lifting or reaching with your arm. Things like carrying a bag or backpack on one shoulder, holding your phone between your head and shoulder, or using a computer mouse can all cause stress on the levator scapulae muscles.
How do I know my levators are stressed? Continue reading “Levator Scapula: The Shrug Muscles”
As massage therapists, we see lots of neck, shoulder and upper back issues–many of which can be worsened by incorrect sleep posture. That favorite pillow that keeps you company each night may actually be adding to your misery.
The average pillow has a lifespan of a little less than 1 year, and there are more reasons than you might imagine why you should replace your pillows right now!
1 Pillows lose their fluff. Whether you have foam or feathers, the internal structure of a pillow degrades over time. The pillow becomes flat and needs constant fluffing to keep support. A flat pillow can contribute to sleep apnea, snoring, headaches, back pain, neck cramps and poor posture.
2 Pillows get gross. Even if you have a zippered pillow cover, your pillow picks up all sort of non-hygienic things over time. Just like changing out your toothbrush (you DO change your toothbrush periodically, right?), your pillow can become a breeding ground for some really nasty bacteria. Continue reading “Three Reasons to Replace Your Pillow”
Go ahead and admit it. There are precious few minutes when you aren’t looking at or responding to a post, email, text, photo or ping on your smartphone or tablet. All this contact has revolutionized business and communication and caused exponential growth in personal and social networks. It’s also caused physical damage.
Smart device users everywhere are suddenly experiencing soreness, from tension in thumbs and sore fingers from texting to neck spasms from hunching over tiny screens, to wrist pain from constantly grasping the device.
Continue reading “Smartphones May Mess With Your Muscles”