Does your neck frequently feel stiff or sore after a long day at work? It probably comes as no surprise that you’re not alone. Jobs can be stressful, and we tend to hold that tension in our necks throughout the work day. Workplace stress can be so severe that it causes around one million employee absences every day in the United States. So the question becomes: How do we deal with neck pain? Here are three simple remedies you can try to keep neck problems at bay and help lighten your stress load overall.
- Stretch and Exercise
One of the reasons our necks become so susceptible to stiffness and soreness as we get older is because the muscles there weaken from lack of use. Take five minutes every day to give your neck and shoulders a soft, gentle workout. Start by moving your head slowly in a “yes” or “no” motion, then graduate to full head rolls from side to side. Give your shoulders and upper back a stretch too while you’re at it.
- Ice and Heat
Applying cold and warmth to the painful area can also help the muscles relax. Ice helps reduce swelling, while an extra long neck heat pad helps blood and oxygen flow back into the area. You might even try an aromatherapy neck pillow to encourage further relaxation, or alternate days with a microwavable shoulder heat wrap to ease the tension held there, which can crawl up into the neck.
- Mind Your Behaviors
Whether you sit at a desk, drive down long highways, or spend a lot of time staring down at a smartphone, remember to take frequent breaks to move your muscles. Bring your extra long neck heat pad to the office to encourage better circulation and position your computer screen so that it stands at eye level. You might also want to reconsider your sleeping area: opt for a firm mattress and a special neck pillow to prevent morning aches.
We may not be able to get rid of the stress and tension in our lives, but we can take the right steps to make sure that it doesn’t control our lives. Be mindful of the way you treat your neck and shoulders; take care of them, and they’ll take care of your for a long time to come.