People often begin to experience neck pain due to a strain or injury, however sometimes the cause of the pain is not so clear cut. If you are experiencing neck pain then you should see a physiotherapist. However there are some daily habits that we don’t even think about that might be causing stress and strain on our neck. The injuries to your neck may be minute, but when the tiny strains are repeated again and again it can cause bigger problems. Slight changes to your routine could help you keep your neck healthy.
 

Avoid sleeping on your front

 
When you sleep on your front you have to jut your neck sideways so that you can still breathe. If you’re sleeping with a large pillow then your head is being pushed back as well. Over time this can cause problems due to the repeated misalignment of your spine. If you’re a person who sleeps on your belly and you absolutely can’t get out of the habit then sleep with a thin pillow, or no pillow at all. The flatter the pillow the less pressure will be put on your spine. And make sure you get a good stretch when you wake up in the morning!
 

Sleep with a cervical pillow

 
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Even if you’re a back or side position sleeper, using the wrong pillow can cause damage. Cervical pillows are shaped with a grove for your head, so that your head isn’t being pushed forward and rests at a natural angle for your spine. The right pillow can really make a difference, especially if you’re waking up in the morning with a stiff neck.
 

Use a telephone headset

 
If you take a lot of calls at work it can be a natural impulse to hold the phone by leaning your head to one side and pushing up your shoulder, so that you can continue working with your hands while talking. This is really bad for your neck! Using a telephone headset will stop this, you can continue working or typing and have a healthy neck. If you don’t take a lot of calls and don’t feel like you have a need for a headset, then make sure you hold the phone to your ear with your hand, you could even use loudspeaker if you’re in private.
 

Avoid ‘text neck’

 
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Text neck is when you strain your neck from looking down at your phone all the time. Our heads weight a lot, they’re about 10-12 pounds. When you look down at a 60 degree angle you increase the weight on your neck to about 60 pounds. If you’re looking at your phone, keep it at eye level, if possible. If you’re at a table rest your elbows on the surface to prop the phone up. Keep your neck straight, even when looking at your phone while standing. This doesn’t just apply for texting, if you listen to songs on your phone, think of how many times you twist your neck and look downwards to change tracks. Don’t think that because you are young you are immune to neck problems, a recent study has shown that children and teenagers are damaging their necks because of looking down at their phone and tablets for too long. It may seem like it’s not a big deal, but remember that repetitive micro strains can cause injury.
 

Keep your computer screen at eye level

 
Some of us work at big desks with huge screens but some of us work from little notebook laptops, at a desk, or in a cafe or on a train. This means that we are constantly looking down at the screen, causing pressure on our spine. If this is something you do, then prop up your laptop so that it is at eye level. At the very least, make sure you’re working at a high enough table, not with the laptop on your lap or on a small coffee table.
 

Don’t carry heavy bags on one shoulder

 
A heavy purse or briefcase can really shift your posture, causing your shoulders to become uneven and strain your muscles. If you have to carry heavy things around, it’s better to use a backpack. It might not be as stylish, but it’s much better for your spine!
 

Drink lots of water

 
Keeping your body hydrated has so many health benefits, but it’s also good for the joints in your neck. The cartilage in-between your spine is mostly water, so if you become dehydrated these can shrink and cause pain. Drinking lots of water will help keep your spine in good condition.
 
If you’ve been having neck pain that isn’t going away, then seeing a physiotherapist can help. It’s important that you get the right diagnosis so that you can get the correct treatment. Call 0114 268 6677 or email info@sheffieldphysiotherapy.co.uk to enquire about an appointment.