3 Things We Do Daily That Cause Neck/shoulder Pain

Let’s take a real quick quiz that might help you live with less neck pain…

(And if you answer “YES” to any of these questions… Keep Reading!)

  • Do you find yourself carrying your purse or briefcase in only one hand? Does it weight more than 10 pounds?
  • When relaxing at home, do you find yourself looking up at the TV screen because it is hung too high on the wall?
  • When asleep, do you find yourself sleeping face down on your tummy? Or you do you wake up in a twisted position with pillows no where to be found?

Chances are good that you answered YES to at least one of the above questions.

The reason I know this is because for years, the vast majority of the clients that I help with their neck and shoulder pain tell me about these three things.

The Bag You Carry

There really are two issues here. One is how heavy is it? I occasionally will weigh a ladies purse ( but never looking inside) and find them nearly 15 pounds. That’s like carrying 2 gallons of milk around with you all the time. WITH ONE ARM!!! (HINT: Split the contents into 2 parts, make one bag for the items you want to have nearby, but they can stay in the car. The remaining essentials go in your shoulder bag.) Secondly, most people get used to only carrying on one side, which can lead to a change in posture and uneven muscle tension. (HINT: Try switching sides every 10-15 minutes. Expect it to feel a little funny at first, but you can learn a new trick right? And it will give your body a much needed break.

How You Watch TV

It’s really easy to just plop yourself into your favorite chair and start to watch your show or to try to get caught up on the Olympics. But finally after clicking the tube off, you realize you’ve sat there for an hour or two, and not even moved at all… and then when you get up realize your neck is sore from sitting with your head forward and without a pillow behind it. The real issue is not how many shows you watch but the posture you choose. One hint you might try is to leave smallish soft pillow on that favorite chair to remind you the next time you sit to watch to just put the pillow behind your neck so it is supported and can relax from holding your head up all day. Also take care if the TV is much higher than your eye level, straining your neck by having your head tilted back. In this case again use a pillow to support your neck in restful positions while your eyes look up.

How You Sleep

Another daily habit that often brings on pain is the way we sleep. How can you tell if it’s the culprit? Well, if you wake with pain, then a first suspect may be that your chosen position to catch some ZZZ’s is not optimal. Sleeping face down for hours on end is one common posture for people to get a “crick in the neck”. You may try side sleeping, putting a smallish pillow from underarm down to your hip to take pressure off your shoulder and neck. If you are a back sleeper, you may try to take that extra pillow out from behind your head so it is more in line with your body. The bottom line is to play with your sleep posture to see if you can make it better. Some physical therapists are experts at helping others find that position of comfort they have been searching for.

For more ways and advice to ease neck and shoulder pain, click the image below to collect your free tips report:

I hope this has been helpful for you.

If you have a helpful hint that your have found useful, share it with me so I can pass it along to the rest of us. Any other comments or questions, please direct them to my email or Facebook.

Jeff Rau PT MS MPT CFMT FFMT FAAOMPT

Specialist Physical Therapist at Jeff Rau Physical Therapy
Jeff Rau first trained with a Master of Science in exercise physiology then after working in California and Texas gained a Masters Degree in Physical Therapy (MPT) in 2000 from University of Texas SouthWestern at Dallas (UTSW). He then added years of training as a functional manual physical therapist (CFMT) because he saw first hand the immediate benefit of and lasting changes made with skilled manual therapy.

Passion-driven to further help people who had tried and failed with traditional treatments of stretching, exercises or just taking pills, Jeff completed Fellowship training with the Institute of Physical Art (FFMT). He is also recognized as a Fellow by the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists (FAAOMPT). Jeff pulls from both traditional training and an alternative mindset for an innovative and personally tailored approach to physical therapy and he stands among a very small percentage of physical therapists who look beyond your diagnosis to offer the most complete, effective, and efficient treatment possible.
Jeff Rau PT MS MPT CFMT FFMT FAAOMPT

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