Neck Pain: Cause and Prevention

The saying, “pain in the neck” is often used metaphorically, but the real pain in the neck is what this article is about. There are many reasons why the “real” pain in the neck can be a problem, but you can prevent it by doing whatever is necessary – a common-sense approach in the way of protecting your neck from pain and discomfort.

The words, “pain in the neck”  is a trite saying, applied to those that keep you focused on their idle talk while your good nature does not allow you to change the subject.   The saying can also be applied to any kind of hectic arrangement that you have to make before the party that is fast approaching.  Anything can be a “pain in the neck.”  For some reason, the bridge between the head and neck has become a metaphor for all of life’s woes?  Literally, you can experience the real pain in the neck.  The neck is so sensitive that anything can cause it pain and discomfort.  It is an area where major nerves, arteries and vessels are channeled through a narrow opening that can be called a real “bottleneck.”


Posture can be the real culprit.  How you stand, walk and work, can make a great deal of difference.  When walking, your head should not be thrust forward and your chest and back should be straight.  Your clerical work can have a profound effect on the condition of your neck.  In other words, bad positioning can stiffen your neck and cause it a great deal of pain. It is, therefore, advisable for you to get up and move around, from time to time, which is why breaks can help a sedentary worker relax throughout the interval of his pause from work.   When you sit in front of your computer for hours, you can expect some neck discomfort and pain, making it all the more important to stand up and stretch, as well as roll your neck around gently and carefully a few times.  Cradling the telephone receiver between your ear and shoulder is not a good idea.  Instead, you should use your hands for which reason, handsets were made. If you are using the telephone a lot, it is best to use a headset.

The kind of pillow that you are using for sleeping at night can also be the reason why your neck gets stiff and painful.  The pillow may be too soft, or you may be sleeping on a number of pillows, unless you have been told to do so by your doctor, for some reason or the other.  Generally, a high stack of pillows under your head forces your neck  into an uncomfortable, flexed position, for an extended period of time.  Actually, the pillow should be no thicker than the distance between your shoulder and your ear, in order to keep your neck cushioned and straight.

Dozing on your stomach with your head turned to the side can also cause neck pain. Sleeping on your back is fine.  Mattresses can also cause neck pain.   If you sleep on a mattress that is too firm, you can wake up with a painful, stiff neck.

Some helpful tips:  Tilt your head to one side.  Try to touch your ear to your shoulder.  Gently roll your head down to your chest and around to the other shoulder.  Repeat two or three times.   This helps loosen the muscles in your neck and help reduce the pain and discomfort.

Ice and heat treatment may also be helpful.   Pain in the neck (in the true sense) can be treated at home.

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  1. I was sitting here wondering how to get through a long session on the computer when my neck and shoulders are already aching. I have a schiatsu cushion which helps but you have given some good tips. I will try them. thank you.


  2. Very informative article, I find that a good professional massage at least once a month helps relieve the stress that contributes to tightness and stiffness which also causes the pains in our neck and shoulders.

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