Search This Blog

How to Reduce Pain in the Neck, Part 2

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

Courtesy of Collective Education
Lots of people suffer from neck pain. It can be caused by injuries and sprains of the muscles, tendons, and ligaments around the neck. The neck is also known as the cervical spine. In my previous post, I mentioned some of the things people can do to reduce or eliminate neck pain. Here are several more.
Be Mindful of Weight Slung Around the Neck
When you carry something with a strap around your neck, it may not seem like the kind of activity that will do any damage. However, there can be a cumulative price to pay if you’re not careful. People who frequently carry a heavy purse, book bag, or piece of luggage with a strap around their necks sometimes have neck problems. Photographers who carry lots of equipment in their camera bags sometimes develop arthritis in the neck as the result of the weight they carry.
Courtesy of Collective Education
If you have to carry heavy things with a strap around your neck, be mindful that if the strap goes around the same side of your neck every time, the natural result will be more wear and tear on that side of your neck. It will be much better for you if you switch sides so that the burden is spread out evenly over time.
If you have to carry a heavy load frequently, a high quality backpack that will distribute the weight evenly could be a very good investment. Backpacks are now available with inflatable air bladders for extra lumbar support. This can help to distribute weight more evenly as well.
Sleep Position
The position you sleep in can have a major impact on the health of your back and neck. Many in the medical community believe that the best position for sleep is on your back. This allows your neck and back to rest comfortably in a neutral position.
If you prefer sleeping on your side, a pillow that is at least four to six inches thick is recommended. This will prevent your head and neck from turning in an unnatural way. It will also allow your muscles to rest without strain.
Sleeping on the stomach is generally not recommended.
Get the Right Pillow
According to research listed in an article titled Consequences of Sleeping the Wrong Way in Everyday Health, “Finding the right pillow can improve the quality of your sleep and prevent or reduce neck pain. If you sleep on your side, pick a pillow that just fills the space between your ear and your mattress without tilting your head. If you sleep on your back, your pillow should keep your head from tilting backward or forward.”
Considering that most people spend about a third of their life in bed, it’s a good idea to invest in a high quality pillow that will help provide a good night’s sleep. Years ago, there were only two options for pillows: feather pillows or foam pillows. Today, there are many other options. Memory foam pillows are now on the market as well as water-filled pillows which can be adjusted.
Courtesy of Wikimedia
Cervical pillows are roll-shaped pillows designed to relieve neck stress and neck pain by maintaining the natural shape of your head and neck throughout your sleep cycle.   Cervical pillows provide extra support under the neck and the head. This helps to keep the neck in alignment with the spine. Whereas traditional pillows are flat, cervical pillows are shaped with deeper depressions to cradle the head.
Use a Telephone Headset
Before the turn of the millennium, most telephones were attached to cords. In office settings, people frequently twisted their necks in an unnatural way to cradle their handsets between their ears and shoulders. There were even braces that could be attached to handsets to make it a bit more comfortable. For most people, those days of discomfort are gone, thank goodness. Now we have wireless office phones, speakerphones and/or cell phones.  
If your work requires you to spend lots of time on the phone, consider getting a telephone headset. A hands-free headset doesn’t require a person to get into position to make a telephone call. It allows the user to move about freely and to stay in the most comfortable position possible. There are lots of different styles of headsets to choose from. The more lightweight the headset is, the less strain it will put on a user’s neck muscles.  The weight of a headset may not seem like enough to ever cause a problem. However, even a little weight day after day for a long time can take a toll.
Periodic Adjustments by an Experienced Chiropractor
It’s very important to do whatever you can to keep your back and neck healthy. Problems with the back or the neck can have a profound effect on a person’s quality of life. A neck adjustment by a chiropractor can be one of the keys to reducing or eliminating neck pain. At Vibrant Life Health Center we apply specific scientific spinal adjustments to alleviate and eliminate pain in the neck.
We also treat related soft tissue abnormalities and resolve any underlying problems so the patient experiences relief as expeditiously as possible. We have the technology and the skill to identify the root causes of many health problems. Our time-tested techniques effectively address a multitude of problems in the body. To help our patients get well and achieve their health goals, we provide them with customized plans.
In this article, I have discussed how to reduce or eliminate neck pain. I’ve suggested that people should be careful when it comes to carrying things around their necks. I’ve also discussed sleep positions, pillows, and telephone headsets for people who work on the phone a lot. Finally, I’ve noted that a neck adjustment by a chiropractor can be very helpful.
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 neck, back, or any other health concern, 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.


  1. Neck pains are a pain - I get regular adjustment (tweaks) to keep my head turning with ease. Dr. Jon is really good at this.

  2. Great article with some awesome tips on how to improve/reduce neck pains!! Now I just need to work on getting phones that have a working speaker phone capability to reduce the neck pains even more!

  3. One of the ways i reduced neck strain was to purchase a wheeled satchel to tote my 18-inch laptop around. It made a huge difference in wear and tear on my neck and shoulders.

  4. This article had good information. I used to photograph lots of events for my employer. Didn't think much about what it was doing but over time it did take a toll.

  5. I suffer from chronic neck pain...and I think my pillow is the main culprit behind it. Thanks for the info!

  6. When you sleep wrong, you know it immediately upon waking up. It's like your body is telling you, "hey, don't do that anymore". It's also saying "get me adjusted!"