This article discusses the primary causes of neck pain as seen in our clinics, and how to avoid issues in the future.

Very often we see clients present to the clinic with long-standing neck pain that has been troubling them with day-to-day activities and the causes of neck pain are varied. Neck pain is one of the most common types of pain experienced, alongside back pain, with around 1 in 3 people experiencing it at least once a year. 

In order to achieve neck pain relief, the most important thing to understand is exactly what the cause of the neck pain is, then work towards resolving the root cause rather than just treating your symptoms.

In this article, we will discuss the top 3 questions asked to identify the causes of neck pain and then discuss these in greater detail to help you with neck pain relief.

As always, remember that this advice is general in nature and you should always consult your physiotherapist prior to commencing any neck pain treatment or neck pain exercises.

How to Identify the Cause of your Neck Pain

Firstly, here are some common questions we ask our clients when they first present to one of our clinics to help identify some of the common causes of neck pain: 

  1. When you are sleeping at night, do you wake up and find you are sleeping on your stomach? 
  2. How much time do you spend on your phone/computer per day? Is it more than one hour? 
  3. Are you regularly carrying a heavy bag on one particular side of your body? 

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, this will give your therapist a pretty good idea about the causes of your neck pain and what needs to be done to give you neck pain relief.

So in order to begin your journey of neck pain relief, let’s look at those three issues above in greater detail:

What causes neck pain?

1. Too much screen time

Poorly Designed Workstations

Photo by Timi David on Unsplash

Neck pain can often be associated with too much screen time. Did you know that the average adult head weighs around 5kg? Spending excessive time with your head looking down causes this ‘bowling ball’ to place additional strain on your neck muscles and over time causes neck pain and joint stiffness. 

How to fix it

The best thing you can do to get neck pain relief is to elevate the screen so that your chin is neutral as opposed to looking downward with rounded shoulders which is a definite way to get neck pain!

2. Your daily bag

man with heavy bag has bad posture

Another cause of neck pain is overactivity in your shoulder muscles. Your shoulder muscles have to work a lot harder when they are holding a heavy bag on one side of your body. These muscles are called your trapezius muscles and run up your neck and down to your shoulder. When they are too tight, they pull on the neck joints and cause neck pain. 

How to fix it

In order to get neck pain relief you have to reduce the weight of the bag or switch sides regularly. This will significantly reduce the load on the muscles and subsequently provide you with neck pain relief.

3. Your Sleeping position

man with bad sleeping posture has bad posture

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

Finally, one of the best ways to provide you with neck pain relief during the day is to manage what you are doing at night! 

Sleeping on your stomach is a sure-fire way to cause excessive strain to be placed on your neck and is a common cause of neck pain. Spending many hours at night with your head fully rotated to one-side leads to joint stiffness, muscle tightness and results in pain during the early morning or during the day. 

How to fix it

The best sleeping position is on your side with a supportive pillow, this will provide neck pain relief and reduce the load on the joints in your neck. Please discuss which pillow is right for you with your local physiotherapist.

If you are struggling with neck pain and you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above questions, the first thing you need to do is implement a change with one of, or all of the above issues. This will more than likely give you some neck pain relief.

Remember that the causes of neck pain are wide and varied and quite often, chronic neck pain will take a while to resolve and may require physiotherapy treatment in order to achieve full neck pain relief. 

If you are struggling and would like a professional opinion on ways to reduce your neck pain, please contact us at Benchmark Physiotherapy.