Neck pain is one of those conditions that affect most people at some point during their lifetime. All you have to do is ask just about anyone, “…have you ever had neck pain?” Then again, maybe you shouldn’t since you’ll probably get overloaded with way too much information from several people willing to share every little detail with you.
Because of the way we are anatomically built, the neck is particularly vulnerable to injury (it has to hold up an average head weight of 15 pounds which can be quite a job, especially when we slump or slouch and that 15 pound weight falls forwards). Injury to the neck can result in minimal symptoms all the way to complete disability, making it one of the most common reasons people see doctors of all varieties for help.
Couple neck pain with headaches and now you have a real potential for disrupting lifestyles. With simple causes like poor posture, stress, work station problems or long hours at a computer, not to mention anxiety, depression and more, it’s no wonder most of us have needed help for neck pain at some point in time. So, the question remains, “…what can I do about it?”
From a chiropractic standpoint, manipulation, neck pain exercises, massage and other soft tissue techniques, and several forms of physiological therapeutics (such as ultrasound, electric stimulation, light – low level laser therapies), all work great! But, instead of (or, in addition to) things that WE do to you,let’s discuss things we can teach YOU to do on your own. There is a long list of aids that help neck pain that you can self-manage, of which some include: a home traction device, cervical pillows, neck pain exercises, posture retraining, stress management, work station modifications, work / job analysis and subsequent modifications, and more.
Most important is that YOU are in control of your own management program. All you need is a little motivation (your job) and proper training (our job). Many of these “self-help approaches” include an apparatus or device of some sort, which are technically coined, “hard durable medical supplies.” More specifically:
In our Columbus Ohio Office we use cervical traction units including (but are not limited to) inflatable collars, seated over-the-door traction units, laying on the back varieties, as well as towel traction. The concept here is that you are stretching the neck vertebra apart and if it’s done proper, it should feel good!
Don’t do it if it doesn’t or, reduce the weight until it does feel good. Another type of traction is placing a fulcrum (dense foam triangle) behind the neck while lying allowing the head to hang off the edge of the bed. Please remember to check with your doctor before starting any exercise program!
Cervical Pillows share the common concept of being contoured to fit the neck and head. These are thicker on the edge so the gap between the neck and shoulder point is filled in so the head is pointed straight ahead. There are many types of contoured pillows including water pillows, foam, inflatable, buckwheat, rice, and other types. However, a word of caution is in order: you may not like it at first as it can take 3-4 nights to get used to it. But, once you do, you’ll miss your pillow when you’re not able to travel with it.
The first series of exercises for neck pain are simple front to back movements. Hold each movement for 10 seconds and repeat 3 times each.