If you’re like most people, you have experienced neck pain at some point in your life.
Whether you just woke up with a stiff neck or you strained a neck muscle at the gym, neck pain is real. And when it happens, it hurts real bad.
True, there are certain factors like aging, arthritis, or injury that cause neck pain.
But also, some of the causes of neck pain stem from our habits. Habits at bedtime, at work, at the gym or even when sitting.
The good news is that once you fix these habits, you’re less likely to experience neck pain.
1. Using an inappropriate pillow
One of the habits that might be causing neck pain is your choice of pillow. Here’s why.
Your pillow is supposed to keep your head in a proper position. Your nose should be aligned with your spine and center of the body.
An oversized pillow will keep your head uplifted and put a strain on your neck, and a too soft pillow will fall your neck downward. Your goal is to choose a sleeping pillow that is neither too soft nor too stiff.
2. Sleeping on couch
Falling asleep on a couch is not always the best thing for your neck. Let me explain.
Because some couches are not full-sized to hold the full length of our bodies, we’re forced to slouch when we sleep on them.
Sleeping on the couch puts your body and neck muscles in a stiff position. It is common to feel pain in the neck after sleeping on a couch, because of the wrong body posture.
So, kick this bad habit out and make sure you sleep on a bed to avoid neck pain causes. (Pro tip: One easy way to start is to practice yoga stretches to loosen stiffness.)
3. Looking down on the mobile phone
When I take the subway, I see people staring at their screens all the time.
Most of the time, we don’t even notice the slouched position of tilting our necks and arching our shoulders just to look at the screen.
Most of us are all the time glued to the phone screens.
When you use your phone too often in a position that you’re always looking down at your phone, it can badly strain your neck muscles.
Keeping your neck in this position for longer can hurt neck muscles permanently. Avoid this habit as much as you can.
If developed as a habit, it can go on to become part of the neck pain causes.
4. Always sleeping on the stomach
Sleeping on the stomach is the least healthy sleeping position.
When you sleep on the stomach, your head twists in an awkward position and puts a strain on your neck muscles.
Keeping a straight position while sleeping can be helpful.
5. Slouching forward while cleaning
Most of us, while cleaning dishes, tend to slouch forward. If you develop this as a habit, keep in mind that this can harm your neck.
A very basic recommendation is to keep your neck aligned with your back to avoid any strain on your neck muscles.
This also helps to keep the movement of your body as natural as possible.
6. Reading in an awkward position
Speaking from my own experience, I mostly read in a hands-on-cheek position.
Although these awkward positions might work great for us to keep our interest in reading, they are terrible for our neck muscles.
These awkward positions put your neck in a drastic position and hurt the neck muscles badly.
Read in a way that book is right at your eye level, and you are not dropping your neck forward or backward for a long time.
7. Sitting all the time
A desk job can be extremely painful for the neck if you spend most of your time sitting on your chair.
Several studies have shown that a sedentary has been linked with all kinds of health risks. Here’s the thing: keeping your neck in one position is also bad for your neck.
New research states, “sitting is the new smoking.” Sitting for most of the time can make your neck muscles stiff and hurt badly.
After every half hour, do a walk around your office or stand for some time to relax your neck muscles. Set a timer to remind yourself to stand more and sit less.
If your pain is a result of sitting, yoga can help provide neck pain relief.
8. Listening to calls holding your phone with shoulder
If your job involves spending most of the time taking phone calls, then avoid this one dreadful habit of holding the phone with the shoulder support.
For a moment or so, it is okay.
But this prolonged ear-on-phone-on-shoulder is not a good habit and can cause neck pain.
It puts your neck muscles in an inappropriate position and stretches your neck muscles.
There might not be any problem that smoking doesn’t cause. Nicotine is found in cigarettes, which restricts the blood flow.
Restricted blood flow damages the cervical disks in the neck. This is a very bad habit and among the neck pain causes.
10. Poor exercise techniques
Though workout and physical activities are great for health, body, and mind, doing it the wrong way can lead to neck pain.
Whether you’re doing crunches, swimming, weight lifting, cycling, or riding- bad technique can result in straining your neck muscles.
Make sure you get proper guidance on the right technique from your physical fitness or sports trainer. A good proper technique can even help to ease lower back pain.
11. Not drinking enough water
While there are many reasons to stay hydrated, keeping your discs nourished and hydrated is one major reason.
This habit is among the neck pain causes and results in poor health overall and damages the cervical discs of the neck.