5 Outrageously Simple Ways to Prevent or Relieve Neck Pain

We're all familiar with chunky whiplash braces. Although auto accidents are responsible for many neck injuries, they can also occur even when you don't slip on the ice, get into a fender-bender and spill hot coffee on your new white blouse. Actually, most neck injuries can happen on days that aren't the “worst day of your life” like when you're sitting at your desk, looking at your smartphone or sleeping. 

Without realizing it, we injure our necks all the time, causing painful symptoms like headaches and migraines, stiffness, numbness and tingling, insomnia, fatigue and depression – not to mention debilitating back, shoulder, arm and neck pain. Though they often result from minor neck injuries, these symptoms can be brutal.

Check out these five easy ways to protect your body and relieve neck pain.

5 Neck Injuries at Zero Miles per Hour

5 Outrageously Simple Ways to Prevent Or Relieve Neck Injuries

Poor Posture - Forward head position which occurs when texting, working on your laptop or sitting at your desk puts unnecessary strain on your neck (and the rest of your spine).

Pay Attention - Remember to practice healthy posture (chin tucked, shoulders back and a neutral pelvis while sitting). Set a reminder on your phone until you get in the habit of practicing good posture.

Repetitive Stress - Squeezing your phone between your ear and shoulder, watching television with your head turned, playing games on your laptop or smartphone, bopping to your favorite song: if you do these things often enough, you could injure your neck, causing stiffness and pain. 

Try Self-Traction - Manual stretching relieves pressure. Support the back of your head with your hands, while tucking your chin and imagining a string pulling on the crown of your head. Or lie on your back and sling a rolled up towel behind the base of your skull. Gently pull upward until you feel a gentle stretch. 

Awkward Work Position - We don't mean being able to hear through your boss's office door; we mean working with your monitor, keyboard, mouse or chair at an awkward angle.

Desk Arrangement - Ergonomically align your workspace (chair, mouse, monitor), purchase furniture which fits your body size and consider a hands-free headset for your phone. 

Sleeping Wrong - We know, how can there be a wrong way to sleep?  Well, sleeping  in awkward positions or without your neck, back or knees properly supported strains the neck’s soft tissues anytime you catch a few z’s whether night or day.

Sleep Right - You don't need to drop serious cash on a fancy pillow to support your neck in the Land of Nod. Place a rolled up t-shirt, towel or folded pair of socks under your neck to provide gentle support whether you snooze on your back or your side.

Muscle Atrophy – Inactivity also causes injury.  Sitting at a desk, chair or any surface continuously for long hours, weakens posture-promoting core muscles through lack of use, it also constricts the flow of blood, which muscle need to be strong. 

Exercise – Every 90 minutes, take a short walk to promote blood circulation.  Do easy neck stretches, like neck tilts (tilt head down so chin touches your chest, hold for 5 seconds; tilt your neck with ear trying to touch one shoulder, hold for 5 seconds then switch sides).

Protect your neck and relieve pain by sticking with these super simple changes. Added Bonus: Protecting your neck will keep you from ever having to wear an ugly neck brace without a good story to go with it!