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Sunday, October 4, 2015

How to Reduce Pain in the Neck, Part 1

By  Dr. Jon Thomas D.C PSc.D, Board Certified Chiropractic Physician.


Everyone experiences neck pain from time to time.  In Fact, neck pain is the third leading cause of chronic pain with more than a quarter of Americans being affected at any one time. Neck pain can be caused by injuries and sprains associated with the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that support the neck and head. More serious causes include disc herniation and pinched nerves. Fortunately, there are a number of simple things people can do to reduce or even eliminate potential neck troubles.

What is forward head posture?


Neck problems are very common for people who work with computers at desks. The condition they suffer from is known as forward head posture, and it can also be caused by watching TV or sleeping in an awkward position. The neck is supported by muscles and ligaments.  When the head juts forward out of its proper alignment, it places additional weight on the skeletal structure and soft tissues.

Forward head posture strains the muscles and ligaments in the neck. The more pronounced the forward head posture is, the more strain there will be to the muscles and ligaments in the neck. This type of strain, which is very common, is accompanied by pain, or even loss of sensation in the extremities. If left unchecked, this repetitive strain can result in permanent injury.

Put Your Computer Screen in the Proper Position


When people work at a desk that’s not set up properly, it can take a long time for them to realize there’s any problem. One of the keys to good posture while doing computer work at a desk is to have your computer screen at eye level. If you’re looking down, leaning forward, or allowing your head to drift forward over your shoulders in order to get a good look at the computer screen, you are putting stress on your neck muscles and ligaments. (This is especially problematic for those of us that use a tablet or smartphone to surf the web.)

Here’s how to find the right position. Sit in your office chair in front of your computer. Get comfortable and close your eyes. When you open them, you should be looking directly at the top of the computer screen. If you’re not able to look straight ahead at the computer screen, raise or lower it to align with your line of vision. Some computer monitors cannot be adjusted for height. In that case, you can get one that does adjust for height or you can place a book or other item under the monitor to adjust it upward to the correct level. You can also buy a stand or even use a box to raise the monitor to the proper level.  If you use a laptop, consider purchasing an external keyboard and mouse. Your neck will thank you.

Stretching Exercises for the Neck


When working at a desk, it’s good to get up and move around at least once every thirty minutes. This will allow you to stretch a bit and stay loose. Stretching the neck muscles throughout the day will keep your neck muscles strong and toned. Neck exercises also provide improved blood flow. This helps muscles and soft tissue to clear toxins from repetitive use, and it will also alleviate fatigue and soreness. A number of helpful videos demonstrating exercises for the neck are available on YouTube and elsewhere.

Hydration and Neck Health


The discs in the spine have no blood supply and are made mostly of water. Dehydration can cause sore neck muscles, dehydration of discs, and several other serious problems. Staying properly hydrated by drinking water throughout the day can significantly reduce the number of neck pain issues many people deal with on a daily basis.

At Vibrant Life, we suggest consuming one half your body weight in ounces per day. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, we suggest drinking 80 ounces of water per day. That’s ten eight ounce glasses of water. If you haven’t been drinking enough water, we recommend gradually increasing your intake by eight ounces every two days until you get to the recommended daily level.

Periodic Adjustments by an Experienced Chiropractor


“A neck adjustment (also known as a cervical manipulation) is a precise procedure, usually applied by hand, to the joints of the neck. Your chiropractor has received extensive training to perform this procedure. Neck adjustment works to improve the mobility of the spinal discs in the neck in order to restore full range of motion.  An adjustment will also increase movement of the adjoining muscles to relieve pressure and tension. Patients typically notice a reduction of pain, soreness and stiffness, and improved ability to turn and tilt their head.” American Chiropractic Association

Top 5 Signs That Your Neck May Need an Adjustment:


1.    Persistent stiff neck

2.    Clicking sound when you turn your head

3.    Tingling or loss of sensation in the fingertips

4.    Frequent headaches

5.    Posture problems

Neck adjustment by a chiropractor is the most important step a person can take to eliminate neck pain. At Vibrant Life Health Center we apply specific scientific spinal adjustments. We also treat all related soft tissue abnormalities so you can experience fast relief and resolve any underlying problems. We have the technology and the skill to identify the root causes of problems. We have several techniques for effectively addressing problems in the body, and we will provide all patients with a customized plan designed to return them to health.

In this article, I have discussed forward head posture and how to reduce or eliminate neck pain. I’ve noted that for people who do computer work at desks, it’s very important to get the computer monitors adjusted to the correct height. Also, stretching the neck muscles daily can dramatically 
reduce pain in the neck. 

If you know of someone who might benefit from the information in this blog, please pass it along to him or her. If you have a comment about this article, please leave it in the comments section.

At Vibrant Life, we address all of the key elements to add vibrance and vitality to your life. This includes nutrition, chiropractic care, and fitness. If you need to consult with a chiropractor about your health, please contact our office to set up an appointment.  

Dr. Jon Thomas is a Board Certified Chiropractic Physician. His practice, The Vibrant Life Health Center, is located in the Mandarin section of Jacksonville. His interest in health and fitness started early, and his athletic pursuits have included BMX racing, Professional Snow Skiing, Water Skiing, Baseball, Weight Lifting, and Martial Arts. After studying and learning from some of the top health experts throughout the world, Dr. Thomas dedicated his life to helping people of all ages to transform their lives. The objective for each patient is to initiate the body’s healing and to work progressively toward a body that functions optimally. Dr. Thomas is seen regularly on TV on First Coast Living, where he discusses the transformations of his patients. He also speaks at events throughout the community and writes informative articles to improve the health of residents throughout Jacksonville.

4 comments:

  1. Nice article! After reading this material, I elevated my computer monitor by three inches and it made a huge difference.

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  2. Having gone through the pain of forward head posture, I can tell you that it's worth it to raise your computer monitors to a height that doesn't require you to hand your head down to read the screen. It took my chiropractor 6-months to bring my posture back to normal.

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  3. My monitor is at a good height, but my feet aren't quite right. Thanks for the reminder that I need a foot rest!

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  4. I have to keep a note about stretching my neck when I sit at my desk! We all get so busy we forget about our bodies and posture while working... Great article, thanks for sharing!

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