Neck pain is a common problem that affects about 30 percent of adults in the United States. Approximately 50 percent of people will continue to experience chronic neck pain or frequent occurrences.
Oftentimes, this type of pain stems from poor posture or overuse. While, in most cases, neck pain doesn’t mean something serious and can be alleviated within a few days, sometimes, it might indicate a health condition or severe injury requiring a doctor’s care. Here are some unexpected reasons for neck pain everyone needs to be aware of:
1. Gum chewing
While gum chewing can help reduce heartburn, eliminate nausea, keep your teeth healthy, and lessen depression, consistent strenuous jaw movement can contribute to neck pain and even headaches. Gum chewing provokes stress to the area where the jaw connects to the skull and strains the muscles in your neck and head. To get rid of neck pain, just cut down to see if it’s a culprit.
2. High levels of stress
Stress can do a number to your health: it can cause acne, headaches, frequent sickness, digestive problems, and even depression. Stress is also bad for your neck. When your body is under stress, your muscles get tense, making you pull your shoulders up. This leads to muscle tightness and headaches.
Pay close attention to how stress is affecting your body, identify your triggers, and take measures to get relaxed. Things like regular exercise, meditation, getting good sleep, and following a healthy diet will help you decrease your stress levels and fight neck pain.
3. Incorrect sleeping position
It happens to everyone, particularly to those who sleep on their stomachs. To avoid neck pain in the morning, consider sleeping on your back or side and use a smaller pillow to allow your neck to rest in a more neutral position.
4. Staring at the phone regularly
Poor posture is the most common reason for neck pain. The more time you spend with your head pulled forward or down, the more stress this puts on the muscles of the upper back. You run the risk of getting text neck. This problem, in turn, makes you more likely to develop premature arthritis and possibly nerve irritation.
Smoking is one of the worst things you can do for your body. In addition to increasing your risk of multiple serious health conditions, it can hurt your neck. Why? Smoking speeds up degenerative disc disease, a condition in which one or more of the discs between the vertebrae of the spine break down or deteriorate. Chemicals found in cigarettes harden the arteries and lower blood supply to your muscles and bones, which starves them of essential nutrients. Plus, smokers usually lean their heads back when smoking.
People with poor posture who just started exercising often get post-exercise neck pain. Poor posture is characterized by failing to keep your chin and spine in a neutral position. Try keeping your chin down, rather than jutting it forward to prevent neck pain.
7. Wearing heavy purses
According to the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care, women are more prone than men to develop chronic neck pain. One in three women ends up with neck pain annually. That’s because women wear purses more frequently. Most women don’t realize that their filled-to-the-brim purses negatively affect neck and shoulder muscles.
Those who have a habit of wearing purses usually wear them on one side, the purse pulling on the shoulder, making it slope. Avoid loading your purse with unnecessary items and switch sides frequently to avoid neck and shoulder pain.