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Five Super Helpful Advice Tips to Prevent Neck pain

By Featured, neck pain, Osteopathy

Advice for Neck pain prevention

If you have a history of neck pain then read this article. It is all about Advice for Neck Pain Prevention. Based on over 10 years of experience as a practicing Osteopath treating thousands of patients with neck pain in the Kingston and Surbiton area , Hugo Firth shares his five key pieces of advice to help you prevent neck pain. It’s a combination of life/work station and functional therapeutic exercises. The article covers:

  • Focus on the main causes of neck pain
  • Advice on how to adapt daily life to reduce the work load on the neck
  • Really helpful exercises to improve flexibility and reduce the risk of neck pain recurring in the future

Causes of Neck pain

Neck Pain prevention advice

Whilst we hear of disc injuries and arthritis the main cause of neck pain is overworked or fatigued muscles

What are fatigued muscles?

Simply they are muscles that are overworked and have become strained

Typically a patient will say’ All I did was turn my head and my neck can’t move!’

So in reality a small movement that the neck should have been able to do became too much and the muscles became strained and went into spasm

What has happened to neck muscles that they have become so weak that they can no turn your head?

The answer lies in what we do in our every day lives

For many of us we have become more sedentary than our parents or our grandparents were

Our jobs are predominantly desk based

And with driving or sitting on a bus or train to get to work plus watching TV wh

Causes of Neck pain

en we get home we can be sitting for more than 12hrs per day

Add to that the popularity of cycling and gym as exercise and we are still asking our bodies to be flexed (bent at the hips) , shoulders and arms forward

So our bodies could be forgiven for thinking that this is our desired position

Hips flexed, upper back arched, arms forward, head up!

Adaptability of our bodies

Our bodies adapt to the inputs they receive

Ask a body to sit , arms forward, head up for hours on end and it will readily assume that position

Neck muscles contract constantly to keep our eyes looking up at a screen

Upper back muscles will be more stretched as we reach forward to our computers

Pectoral muscles will become shorter as our arms are always forward

It has its advantages. We can stay in this position for longer and longer periods.

However It comes at  price………

The Price we pay

Muscles in our shoulders, upper back and Neck are being asked to work in excess of 12

Key muscles causing Neck pain

hrs a day in this slightly stretched or contracted  position

The muscles (sub-occipitals) under the base of our skull are constantly contracted to keep our eyes level with screens causing stiffness

Muscles in our upper back and shoulders also become stiff through lack of movement during the day


Preventing Neck Pain Advice #1

Being static  involves a lot of work for our neck muscles.

We can change the inputs our bodies receive.

From a ‘be static for 12hrs’ to ‘static for 58 mins then move for 2 mins, repeat x 12!’

If you change the messages that the muscles receive regularly enough during the day the body will adapt.

It will increase blood supply to nerves and muscles and joints. More oxygen and nutrients to muscles  means less lactic acid build up and less fatigue.


Neck pain Advice tip # 2

Repetitive turning, looking up or down will increase fatigue in neck muscles


Check your monitor height

If you have more than one screen align the one you use most to be the one in front of you

Turn and face colleagues directly rather than turning your neck


Make sure TV is directly in front of you- not too high or to the side

Neck Pain Advice tip # 3

Sleep is the great muscle recharger. So it’s important for neck muscles to get a good rest


Get a supportive pillow

You need to have a NEUTRAL spine

Pillow needs to be firm enough and the right height to achieve this

To thin and neck muscles will be contracted one side and stretches on the other

Stop sleeping on your front

Have enough sleep 7-8hrs is ideal. This will give your muscles  enough time to recharge for the day ahead.

Advice Tip # 4

Upper Back Exercises that can change your life

(1)Ensure that your upper back maintains its flexibility

As with all exercises watching them is the easy bit. Incorporating them into your daily life takes effort.

(2) Maintain neck rotation mobility and prevent neck pain

This is a great way of maintaining and preventing a tight neck

But if your neck goes into spasm then this will be too painful

Seek the advice of your physical therapist

Advice tip #5

Managing your stress levels

Everyone deals with stress in different ways

It can manifest itself as tension into neck and shoulder muscles

One way to manage it is through exercise or any activity that can stop you thinking about the stress causing issue for 30 mins or longer

Here are some ideas

Go for a walk, paint/sketch, do a jigsaw, build lego, knit, go for a run, read a book, meditate