What is neck pain?
Pain in the neck region is very common. About 40% of the adult population will experience pain in the neck during their lifetime. Neck pain has many different causes.
In most cases, the pain is not caused by a damaged structure (e.g. the spinal disc, a ligament or a bone). Most frequently, neck pain is caused by the muscles in the neck region working incorrectly.
Causes of neck pain
The most common causes of neck pain are:
- Tight and sore neck muscles
- Reduced or no mobility in one or more of the neck joints
- Headache radiating from the neck due to muscle tension (also called a tension headache)
- Osteoarthritis or sprains in the neck.
Pain in the neck typically occurs due to heavy workload, monotonous or recurring movements at work, as well as stress, poor posture or a trauma (a trauma is an external impact, such as having to suddenly brake in traffic).
Diffuse neck pain that can radiate down into one or both shoulders. Muscle tension may occur, which results in headaches. Dizziness may also occur in some cases.
What can you do to treat your neck pain?
Avoid hunching your neck while sitting down. Maintain a firm and straight posture when you sit and stand, and make sure your computer screen is set at the right height. It is also important to stretch the tense muscles. Maintaining strength and balance in your neck is important as it will reduce the risk of relapse.
Keep your neck active
Keeping your neck active without irritating it is important. If you don’t keep your neck active, then there is a risk that it will stiffen up and cause muscle tension, which will further exacerbate your neck pain.
Train your neck with simple exercises
Performing simple exercises at home can be helpful. In the beginning, it is important to focus on increasing mobility in your neck by performing exercises that will give you more control over your neck movements.
To achieve this, it is necessary to perform exercises that will strengthen the small muscles that govern and stabilize the neck. To achieve lasting results, you must gradually increase the difficulty and load of these exercises.
Most people will not be familiar with these exercises. However, they play a very important role in preparing your neck for handling later stress.