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Raise your hand if your neck and back pain has gone from zero to sixty in the past month. Everyone? Ok, now raise your hand if you think that has something to do with us working from home more instead of going into the office.
Raise your hand if you’ve googled “how to relieve neck pain” multiple times in the last week, with unhelpful results.
Huh, everyone again.
It seems that while our schedules are clearing up from the growing work from home trend, our body health is getting worse.
It’s likely because your home office isn’t set up to be as ergonomic and functional as the one at work. But, don’t worry – you don’t have to be in pain every time you work from home.
We’ve got actually helpful (and free or almost-free) neck stretches and movements that can relieve your pain in minutes – below.
How to Relieve Neck Pain: Preventative Measures
As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So if you haven’t been struggling with neck pain yet and want to fend it off – you’ve come to the right place.
Using the right stretches, setting up your workspace correctly, and making sure you’re not messing up your neck while you sleep are all important things to consider.
If you’re already experiencing neck pain and need relief, we’ve got some tips for that too.
Neck Stretches Everyone Should Do
If you’re not doing any neck stretches on a daily basis, neck pain is in your future. Don’t know where to start or if you’re doing the right ones? Here are some of our favorites.
1. The Up-Down Stretch
It doesn’t get any simpler than this stretch. While sitting down with both feet on the floor, tilt your head up and back until you feel the back of your scalp touching your neck. Hold for 20 seconds.
Then, keeping your shoulders neutral, tuck your chin to your chest, so you feel the stretch in the back of your neck. Hold for 20 seconds.
Do this about three times twice a day – or when you sit down to work, when you get up for lunch, and before you leave.
2. Side Tilt
None of these stretches are complex. For the side stretch, you can do it standing up or sitting down.
Without lifting your shoulders, bring one ear as close to the top of your shoulder as you can get. You should feel tension, but it shouldn’t be painful. Hold for 10 seconds.
Switch and do the other side. Three to five sets (one set is both sides) should do.
If you’re doing this stretch standing, keep your arms flat by your sides and try to reach the opposite hand (not the shoulder your ear is on) down your body.
You’ll feel this opening up more space in your neck, and it acts as a mild shoulder stretch, too.
3. The Neck Roll
If you ever took any dance classes, you’ll remember this one. It’s when you simply roll your neck down, to the side, back (up), and side again.
But now that you’re an adult, you need to pay more attention when you do this stretch. Don’t just roll like you’re trying to unscrew your head. Be conscious about moving your neck through every position as you rotate. A full rotation should be at least five seconds long, to give your muscles enough time to open up.
This stretch is a good one to start out every morning with, as it’ll show you which of the previous stretches (side or front to back) you need, especially today.
4. Fix Your Sleeping Position
You know what’s terrible for your neck and your eyelashes? Sleeping on your stomach.
That’s right – not only can sleeping on your stomach mess up your neck, but it can make your eyelashes fall out faster (from the friction and pressure), too.
Those are two things nobody wants.
The best sleeping position is on your back or your side, depending on what your body prefers. If you’re waking up with neck pain and you already sleep on your back/side, it may be time to re-address your pillow situation.
Your head is only supposed to be slightly elevated from the rest of the mattress. There shouldn’t be a large and intense incline between where your neck starts to rest on your pillow, and the part of your body still on the bed.
Do you have good pillow ergonomics? It may be time to invest in new ones. Pillows have a shorter lifespan than you’d think.
5. Move Your Computer Screen Up
Did you know you’re supposed to have your computer screen at eye-level? You shouldn’t need to move your neck at all to see your entire screen.
Don’t have an adjustable monitor? Put some books under your stand or lower the height of your chair for neck strain relief.
How to Relieve Neck Pain Right Now
All those preventative measures are great, but they won’t make your neck stop hurting right now.
What will, however, is a good neck massager, some menthol muscle cream, and an ice pack (if need be).
Your neck is part of your spine, which is the most central and delicate part of your body. If something gets permanently messed up in your neck, it could affect the rest of your body – down to your toes!
Take your neck health seriously and get seen by a health professional if the tips above don’t help.
No Longer a Pain in the Neck
The preventative tips above will help those who already have neck pain (going forward) and help those without it avoid issues in the future.
We hope you enjoyed this quick guide on how to relieve neck pain and that you’ll come back to our blog for the rest of your health needs.