You don’t realize how often you move, twist and turn your neck until you’re affected by stiffness and limited mobility in the area. Sometimes the reason behind your stiff neck is obvious, like if you were involved in a rear-end collision, while other times patients can be left scratching their heads as to why their neck is so stiff. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at five everyday actions that can contribute to neck stiffness.
Here’s a look at some everyday items and actions that can leave your neck feeling sore and stiff.
1. Your Cell Phone – Likely the most common culprit for people nowadays, the smartphone is a major contributor to neck soreness and stiffness. People often spend hours a day on their phone, and much of the time their phone is located in their lap. In order to read and compose messages, you have to lean your head forward and put a bunch of extra stress on your cervical spine. Limit your phone time or be cognizant of your posture when you’re using your phone throughout the day. Try to have it more in front of you than in your lap.
2. Your Car – You probably don’t rest your head against the headrest while you’re driving, but at the same time, if your seat is reclined to the point where you’re leaning your head forward and out of a natural alignment to drive, you’re going to be increasing your risk of neck pain and stiffness. Make sure your seat back is nearly straight up and down so as to naturally help support your spine and keep your neck in a healthy position.
3. Your Office Setup – Regardless of whether you’re in the office or working from home amid the pandemic, there’s a good chance your workstation could be contributing to your neck stiffness. If you’re hunched forward staring at a computer screen for hours, you’re going to feel it in your neck. Even if you have decent posture at your desk, stagnation can lead to neck stiffness. Make sure you get up, move and stretch a bit each hour or so to help avoid neck stiffness.
4. Your Workout – Performed correctly, a regular workout routine can help to strengthen your neck and prevent stiffness, but performed incorrectly, it can be a direct contributor to your discomfort. For example, if you’re an avid runner, try not to lean too far forward or look down when you run, because this channels stress to your neck. For weightlifters, don’t ignore exercises that target and improve your neck, shoulders and your core.
5. Entertainment Options – Do you like to unwind with some television or reading after the kids go to bed? How’s your posture during these activities? Although your seated position may not feel all that strenuous, if your head isn’t above your shoulders, oftentimes it’s your neck will be handling extra stress. Over days and weeks, this stress will add up and can manifest in the form of stiffness.
The good news is that all of these forms of stiffness can be managed by posture awareness and hands-on treatment from a back and neck specialist like Dr. Chang. For more information, or for help with your neck issue, reach out to his clinic today.