Healthy Ways to Care for Your Neck
You know you need your neck to function. It holds up your head and allows you to look in all different directions. However, did you know that if you are suffering from neck pain or tension, your entire body might be suffering? The reason is because of the vital arteries that carry blood from your heart into your brain. You know, the brain that happens to control everything you do.
If your neck is out of whack, chances are your brain isn’t getting its full blood supply, which can lead to a weakened immune system, decreased energy levels, and poor overall health, according to UCLA Health. Luckily, there are plenty of options to alleviate your neck discomfort besides having to use medications or get surgery. Here are three to get you started:
Pay Attention to Your Posture
If you are not sitting or standing correctly, there is a pretty good chance that is contributing to your neck pain. Whether it is straining to look at your phone or slouching at your desk, you are compromising the correct position for your spine. Harvard suggests that you keep your computer screen at eye level when you are working, and try view tablets and smartphones while keeping your neck straight.
And just like your mother always told you, keep those shoulders back. If you need a quick posture check, stand up against the wall. If only your shoulders and buttocks are touching it, then you are standing up straight.
Do Your Own Neck Therapy
Most neck pain is caused from tension in your muscles. One of the best ways to remove this tightening is by doing some range of motion stretches. Mayo Clinic suggests performing multiple sessions every day, holding each of these positions for 15-30 seconds:
Chin to chest. Slowly look down until your chin is touching your chest. Do not try to look up or multi-task. Just feel the stretch and make sure to keep your shoulders straight.
Turn to each side. Look to the right as far as your neck will let you and hold. Repeat on the left side.
Tilt to each side. Try to get your left ear as close to your left shoulder as possible and hold. Just be extra careful that you don’t lift up your shoulder. Repeat on the right side.
Get MovingFinally, you need to move your body. The Mayfield Clinic reports that keeping your body in motion is much more effective at alleviating neck pain than simply resting it. This doesn’t mean that you need to lift heavy weights or cause any additional strain on our neck, but you should do basic exercises that will make your neck and back muscles stronger while improving their flexibility. Yoga and swimming are especially great for neck problems because they are low impact while still giving your muscles a thorough workout. As an added bonus, you may even lose some weight, which can benefit your entire body.