December 2021 – Issue 33
This month, we’re talking about neck and shoulder pain. Specifically, it’s causes and what you can do about it.
Often, patients have no clue what caused their neck and shoulder pain. The reality is that there isn’t really anything wrong that caused it – it’s just your life! Posture, sitting at your computer and doing repetitive things are usually what’s going to give you most of your neck and shoulder stress.
Often times, when people are coming in to tell us about their pain, they’re pointing to specific areas along their neck or shoulders. They’re going to point to the back of their head or even down their arm. All of these areas can be a little bit different, which why we often lump in neck and shoulder together. Even though you can have separate pathologies, they usually do affect each other. Neck and shoulder issues can be causing shooting down your arm, it could be causing neck pain that’s shooting up into your head and giving you headaches and it can also give you a lot of shoulder pinching! Our job to figure that out for you.
You probably haven’t done anything to directly cause anything, so if you have a desk job, if you have kids and you’re bent over all day, things like this cause a lot of the neck and shoulder issues.
The main thing I wanted to teach you today is the fact that a lot of people have this condition. You don’t have to have an underlying and serious cause to the problem because it’s something that’s based on normal life.
I’m going to give you three main tips to help you deal with this.
The first is posture. I know it seems simple, but the best thing you can do throughout the day is start forming better postural habits.
We’re going to give you a couple easy exercises and the key is only doing it once or twice an hour throughout the day, as opposed to just one time each day. For the first exercise, sit up tall in a chair and just squeeze your shoulder blades together (a). Doing that four or five times once an hour is going to make you aware of having that good posture. Another great exercise to utilize is called a chin tuck (b). You don’t have to go real hard, you just want to get your neck back. Oftentimes, if you really look at how you’re sitting at your computer, your head is forward. This gives you a lot of that stress.
The second big thing is ice and heat. You really need to start making sure you use ice if you have a really bad condition that’s radiating a lot of pain. I usually tell people try to put it closer to the neck area.
You can follow it up with heat if you want to, if you strongly dislike ice. Put the ice in the back of your neck and put the heat right below that. This way you can avoid being too chilled, but still take advantage of the natural anti-inflammatory properties of the ice.
The last thing is obviously physical therapy. Not only are we going to be able to tell you exactly where this is coming from and why, but also with our treatment regimen we’re going to be able to work on it immediately. We’ll show you all the things you need to do for self-care, for exercise and better long-term maintenance.