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Coping with Neck Pain

Let’s talk about that pain in your neck, literally.

Neck pain is common and typically comes with age-related wear and tear and poor posture, especially when sitting at a desk.

That’s why Matt Baloun, Kendal’s therapy and rehabilitation director, decided to hold a two-hour clinic on neck and head posture. He figured the information would be beneficial for both residents and staff.

“I have problems too, because I stand a lot,” says Matt, an occupational therapy assistant.

Tips to Reduce Strain on Your Neck

A few of Matt’s recommendations to reduce neck and pain strain include:

  • Take frequent breaks from sitting and driving to stretch and move around;
  • When reading, hold the book or device at eye level – you may need a pillow or book holder;
  • Use a headset or speakerphone when talking on the phone;
  • Regularly stretch neck muscles by moving head side to side, and up and down.

Diagram - Good desk posture - UC DavisMatt often visits residents in their homes to evaluate their work stations, making sure it is set up properly and includes a supportive chair and good lighting. He likes to share a handout from University of California, Davis (UCDavis) on proper posture at a desk.

More Tips from the Mayo Clinic

The Mayo Clinic offers other suggestions to reduce neck pain:

  • Use good posture. When standing and sitting, be sure your shoulders are in a straight line over your hips and your ears are directly over your shoulders.
  • If you smoke, quit. Smoking can put you at higher risk of developing neck pain.
  • Avoid carrying heavy purses and bags with straps over your shoulder. The weight can strain your neck.
  • Sleep in a good position. Your head and neck should be aligned with your body. Use a small pillow under your neck. Try sleeping on your back with your thighs elevated on pillows, which will flatten your spinal muscles.

If you suffer from neck pain, do you have any other tips or tricks that help you relieve your pain?