Neck Pain Or “Text Neck” Treatment With Chiropractic Care
Sylvie recently transitioned to working from home more. She was spending hours each day on her laptop at her dining room table. After a couple weeks, Sylvie started having soreness and pain in her neck, upper back and shoulders as well as headache. As the pain was not going away, Sylvie went to see her chiropractor.
She received chiropractic adjustments focused on her neck and shoulders. Her chiropractor showed her exercises she could do to stretch out her tight muscles and work on her posture. Most importantly, her chiropractor helped Sylvie improve her work set up at home so there would be less stress on her neck and back as she worked.
But I Just Woke Up With It
Sylvie’s situation happens to people everyday. Another common neck problem is when you wake up and suddenly start having neck pain. When this happens, you may blame sleeping in the “wrong position”. A useful question to ask yourself then would be, “why this time”, as compared to all the other nights when you slept and woke without issue.
Sometimes this happens due to a recent injury or more commonly due to build-up of tension from small repetitive stress over a period of time. Things that cause this build up of tension and stress in your shoulders and neck include long periods spent:
- Arts and crafts
- Computer work, especially laptops
- Electronic devices especially excessive texting, “Text Neck” (eg. tablets, phones)
- Watching television
What all these activities have in common is the long periods of time spent with very little change in your posture. As well, your head is usually positioned in front of your body
Other Symptoms With Neck Pain
When you have neck pain, your neck and shoulders might feel tight, stiff, sore or achey. With your neck pain, sometimes you might also have some of these other symptoms:
- Difficulty concentrating or focusing
- Pain going down your arm
When To Visit Your Chiropractor
Sometimes your neck pain goes away by itself after 1 or 2 days. If your pain does not get better or even gets worse over the next day or two, then it is best to get help. Some things to think about when you are deciding if it is time to get help are:
- It hurts to turn or bend your neck
- Pain that comes from trauma like an accident or injury
- The pain has spread to other parts of your body like your arms or head
- You are getting worried about your pain
The goal of chiropractic care is to improve and restore proper joint movement and spinal mechanics, especially the ones in your neck and upper back. By doing so, this improves your body’s ability to repair and recover. Some of the treatments used may include:
Things You Can Do At Home
One of the easiest and best things you can do at home to help your neck pain is to have a good set up for when you do work on your computer or read for example.
If you use a laptop, consider attaching an external monitor. Adjust your monitor so that when you look straight ahead, you are looking at the top 1/3 of the monitor. Use a good supportive chair. Position your mouse and keyboard so they are not too far away and at the right height.
Other things you can try at home include:
- Have good posture: keep your head on top of your shoulders rather than sticking forward like a turtle
- Make gentle, small neck movements to try and ease your pain
- Take frequent breaks every half hour by getting up for a short walk
- Try using ice or heat
Q: How do I quickly ease my neck pain?
A: Try simple, easy movements with your neck and shoulder to loosen them up. Stay within ranges that do not bring on pain. For example, shoulder rolls, turning your head slowly and gently left and right, or dropping your ear down to your shoulder on each side. You can also try alternating cold and hot therapy.
Also, make sure that your work setup is correct and try to improve your posture. This means not looking down for too long and keep your shoulder back
Q: How do I stop neck pain from coming back?
A: Posture, posture and more posture. Also, stretch once in awhile and hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds. Get up and take more breaks, at least once every hour even for just a couple minutes.
Try and have good ergonomics for your work area. This includes using an external monitor and keyboard if you are using a laptop. Set your monitor to the right height. Get a supportive chair, one that has armrests and proper back support. Ensure you make use of your back support by sitting all the way back in your chair if possible. Position your keyboard so it is at the level of your elbows and not too far away
Q: How long does it take for my neck pain to go away?
A: If your neck pain only started recently, it will usually get better in 1-2 weeks. If you have had neck trouble for a long time, for example more than a few months, it may take a few weeks or even longer to fully resolve your neck pain.
Generally, the longer that you have dealing with a problem, the longer and more treatment it will take to get better. Also, what you do for work and your daily activities can affect your recovery. If you are in good physical and mental health, this sets the stage for a better and faster timeline.
Results can vary from person to person