Lately I have been seeing a lot of neck pain. A lot of it has been associated with stress and posture. Also repetitive movements over time can cause these issues with work or recreational activities.
Common diagnoses are upper trap strains, neck stenosis/osteoarthritis or disc issues.
The hardest thing for people is controlling stress but there are ways that PTs can help.
Working on breathing exercises where you focus on your breath can help reduce stress.
Finding distractions from your stress that can be used throughout the day whether it be at work or home can be a good tool as well, as long as these distractions don’t get in the way of productivity.
Working on a gratitude practice where you bring positive thoughts into your mind can also help.
Bad posture can be so embedded into people over the years that it can be hard to reverse.
It takes a lot of focus, attention, and time to work on posture in order to fix posture related neck pain. You must be intentional and cognizant to not allow yourself to stay in a bad posture for too long. It is okay to slip into one briefly as long as it is changed within a short period of time.
Work place adjustments can be a great thing for people with postural dysfunction that leads to pain.
Making sure that the chair you sit in is adjusted properly and the desk you use is at a good height is crucial and giving you the advantage when it comes to keeping good posture. Using a standing desk can be beneficial in reducing the amount of time you spend slumped over in a chair.
Getting up and walking around every 1-2 hours is great to break the cycle of prolonged bad posture.
Adding mobility exercises to keep your body moving through the day for a brief amount of time can go a long way in preventing the build up of stiffness throughout your neck and shoulders.
On top of environmental and behavior changes, mobility and strength work is great to help take the tension out of the wrong places around your neck and put it when it can be beneficial.
Mobilizing your cervical and thoracic spine can help free up tension in the joints. Strengthening your upper and mid back helps reduce the tension around the front of the chest/shoulders that can be causing you pain.
Building endurance in your neck and upper traps can also help in your ability to hold good postures for longer.
The most essential thing for reducing tension and pain throughout your neck is recognizing what the biggest contributing factor is and breaking the cycle of allowing that thing to keep causing you pain.
Whether it be sitting or standing too long in one position, sitting or standing with bad posture, or the building of tension from stress, it is important to find ways to break the behavior so you can live life more comfortably.
To be able to help yourself reduce your neck pain, identify the primary cause of your pain, devise a plan to introduce variable movement throughout your day, add strength training into your week, and stay consistent with this until your pain reduces!
About the author:
Dennis was born and raised in Cincinnati and went to the University of Cincinnati for health promotion and education, focusing on fitness for his undergraduate degree. Following completion of his undergraduate studies, he then went on to the University of Dayton and received his Doctorate of Physical Therapy.
Dr. Mirosh has been practicing in outpatient orthopedics since graduating from UD treating a variety of physical ailments from musculoskeletal injuries to strokes and deconditioning. He has a true passion for working with any client that has the drive to better themselves but has a special interest in working with athletes. In particular, he enjoys working with weight lifters and martial artists
He has always loved the medical field and was directed towards physical therapy from the time he was in middle school. He has been around sports his whole life and had a high appreciation for rehabilitative medicine.
He loves being able to go in every day and help people in his community better their lives and allow them to return to the activities that they hold dear. He enjoys educating clients on proper movement and how to optimize their performance in their everyday life and hobbies. He was also is very blessed to be able to use his hands to alleviate pain and allow people to get back to doing the things they love.