In last month’s blog, I wrote about what causes pain when we sit too much, a common problem for all of the people working from home these days. When we sit for long periods, if our bodies are not functioning with ease and balance, we can pinch the nerves around the spine and hips. Depending on how we balance our bodies when we are sitting, chronic neck pain could result from such imbalance as well.
When clients come to see me with issues related to neck pain, I view their pain as a symptom of this imbalance. The neck is connected to every other part of the body, so when I try to find and treat the cause of their neck pain, I do not focus solely on the neck. Just as in back and hip pain caused by sitting too long, neck pain is often the result of focusing too intently on a single task—in this instance, staring at a computer screen without moving anything but the eyes—without a break. Awareness is the key to maintaining a comfortable position. Unfortunately, the work we do at the computer forces us to lose awareness of our bodies and surroundings.
To counteract the loss of awareness, you can use the tips that I shared in last month’s blog: first, drink more water, and second, pay attention to your breathing. When you focus on drinking more water, you will not only hydrate the tissue that surrounds your spine and neck but also give your body a reason to get up every couple of hours for a bathroom break. When you focus on your breathing while performing your task at the computer, you can make yourself more aware of how deeply you are breathing and make conscious adjustments if you are breathing in confined, tense breaths.
What Causes Neck Pain?
Depending on the cause of your chronic neck pain, you might be able to find relief using the simple tips above.
The causes of neck discomfort are as varied as the people who experience it. However, knowing some of the common causes could help you understand your own situation better. Some common causes include:
Unchanged postures for long periods
While these are not the only causes of chronic neck pain, one of them could be causing yours. Take a moment to think about your conscious and unconscious behaviors when you are sitting at your computer. Do you notice tightness or strain in your shoulders? Do you clench or tighten your jaw or other muscle groups? How often do you get up and move around?
Once you understand where your discomfort is coming from, only then can you start to treat it and work toward a pain-free future.
Ready to Learn How to Relieve Your Chronic Neck Pain?
Are you currently experiencing neck pain? Join me online so we can work together to find the relief you are looking for.
Carol is a physical therapist, a co-creator of Integral Human Gait theory, a certified Feldenkrais practitioner, and a Senior Trainer in Movement Intelligence. Focus, Align, Teach and Inspire! These qualities not only describe her work, but they also describe her presence. She is passionate when it comes to reconnecting learning with human function and health. Carol is in private practice at MontgomerySomatics.com in Columbus, Indiana.