Saturday, December 4, 2010

Got a Pain in the Neck?

Seriously! If you have a pain in the neck like I did today, the day seems endless and you're just not functioning as well as you could be. My 15 hour days hunched over my keyboard are the worst culprit. Take my word for it, the following tricks really helped to unkink the neck muscles and alleviate my neck pain so I wasn't completely miserable for the whole day. Use one or two of the following tips to increase flexibility and strength, and alleviate your "pain in the neck!"

1. Apply heat. Take a hot shower to soak those painful neck muscles. Or use a hot, wet towel or heating pad applied directly to your neck. Don't make the mistake of applying the heat for too long a period of time or you will wind up aggravating the pain and making it worse.

2. Stand up straight. For every inch the head is forward in posture, the weight of your head on your neck increases by ten pounds. Keep your shoulders down, not rounded forward. Center your head over you
neck and spine, not down on your chin while you are pounding away on the keyboard. Higher monitor placement so that your work is at eye level is crucial!

3. Talk a friend or loved on into a quick 10-15 minute neck massage. Massages are a great way to provide temporary pain relief. Make sure your buddy or partner uses oil or lotion and uses gentle to moderate pressure while rubbing your neck in small circles of downward strokes.

4. A few minutes of abdominal breathing will do wonders to relieve stress, one of the main causes of most neck pain.

5. Try a few gentle neck-stretching exercises:

Slowly bend your neck towards the right side. Stretch your right ear to your right shoulder. Hold for 5 seconds. Return to your original position. Then bend your neck to the left and hold for 5 seconds. Return to your original position. Repeat 5 times.

Turn your head slowly to stretch your neck as far to the left as you can. Hold for 10 seconds. Then turn your head as far to the right as you can for another 10 seconds. Repeat 3 times.

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