Neck and shoulder pain is something that a lot of us experience from time to time. But for some it can be a real nuisance that causes us pain and can affect our lives. In this blog I thought I would try and answer some questions I am commonly asked by patients about their neck and shoulder pain.
What causes neck and shoulder pain?
The causes of neck and shoulder pain can be wide ranging. The causes I often see are;
Specific Injury – Such as a sports injury or car accident.
Postural – From sitting badly at a desk or hunching over laptops, tablets or phones.
Repetitive actions – Sitting badly at a desk comes under this heading too but this can also be hobbies such as knitting, sewing, painting or drawing. Looking after babies and small children – due to the amount of lifting carrying and feeding them – as if you are breast or bottle feeding the position can put strain on the neck and upper back.
What can I do to help myself?
My top three tips for helping yourself are:
1) Vary your position – try not to spend too much time in one position. Especially when you are hunched over phones, tablets and laptops. Make sure you move around and change position this helps take the pressure off your muscle and joints.
2) Check your desk posture – Make sure that you have a good posture as this will help minimise the stress on your joints and muscles. The picture below shows you how to set up your desk.
3) Take regular breaks – This is from whatever you are doing whether it is sitting at a desk, working from a laptop, using your phone or sitting doing hobbies such as sewing, painting or knitting. Staying in any position for a long period of time is not good for your neck and shoulders.
Stop what you are doing, get up and move around.
What if the problem isn’t getting any better?
One of the most common things patients say to me is “I should have come to see you ages ago“.
When should you come for treatment. If you are in a lot of pain then it is an easy question. People don’t tend to wait long to seek advice or treatment if they are in a pain or if they are unable to carry out everyday activities.
But what about that pain that isn’t dreadful but that gets you down, stops you from doing your favourite activities as often as you would like or just makes you short tempered and grumpy?
When do you seek treatment for that?
Well for that kind of pain I would say 3 weeks. After 3 weeks if it hasn’t got any better then seek advice. (If you are in severe pain, are having difficulty moving, or any symptoms other than pain seek advice sooner. You can contact 111 or your g.p for advice)
I offer a free Chiro Chat appointment. You can talk to me on the telephone about your problem for 20 minutes for FREE and I will tell you if I think I can help and if I can’t who I think you should go to next for advice.
I hope this blog has answered some of your questions about neck and shoulder pain.
Rosie Piercy MChiro DC