Common Causes of Neck Pain and Relieving Neck Pain.

Common causes of neck pain and relieving neck pain.
6 out of 10 people are likely to have experienced neck pain at some point in their lives, if they have a sitting job. The most common cause associated with neck pain is the overuse injury due to sitting in a hunched over position for too long. When a muscle stays in a position for too long, it may become stiff and cause pain. This is especially common for people who are inactive. Other common and less severe causes include bad sleeping posture and wrong pillow choice. Overuse injury can be prevented and relived through a simple method known as stretching. When we stretch a muscle, our goal is to bring the muscle in its natural state. Stretching relieves pain and releases any tension present in the affected area.

Poor Posture

Long periods of time spent slouching or hunched over a computer screen can lead to forward head posture, which places extra stress on the neck. Repeatedly looking straight down at a phone or tablet may also cause pain. Try to sit upright with neutral spine. Move and turn your neck regularly during the day.
Bad sleeping posture:
It is better to sleep on your side or back. Belly sleeping causes strain on the spine which can result in pain.
Pillow choice:
If you sleep on your side, make sure that the pillow is high enough to support the neutral position of spine, If the pillow is low it will cause lateral flexion of spine and overuse injury.

If you sleep on the back then the pillow should be low and flat so that it does not cause dorsal flexion of the spine.
Inactive and overused muscles both cause problems. Inactive muscles tent to get weaker due to lack of movement and overused muscles become stiff and rigid. The best preventive methods are

1.      Being active and exercising regularly.

2.      Strengthening and stretching neck muscles.

Watch this video as we explain and demonstrate simple stretching exercises which you can do anywhere and anytime.

Backward Bending
Gradually lower the chin toward the chest and look downward while only moving the head. Once the head has been flexed forward as far as it can comfortably go, hold the stretch for 5 seconds before returning to neutral position.
Forward Bending
Gently extend the neck by looking upward and bringing the head backward while keeping the shoulders and back stationary. Once the head has gone back as far as it can go without increasing pain, try to hold the stretch for 5 seconds before returning the head to neutral (starting) position.
During a neck extension exercise, the stretch is felt along the front of the neck through the throat.
Bending Side to Side
Slowly bend the head to one side, such as by bringing the left ear toward the left shoulder. During this stretch, the shoulders and back remain still while the neck flexes laterally to the side. Once the head has flexed as far as it can comfortably go to the side, try to hold the stretch for 5 seconds before returning the head to neutral position. This stretch is then repeated in the opposite direction.
Neck Rotation Side to Side
While keeping the back straight and shoulders still, gradually turn the head to the left as far as it can naturally go without increasing pain. Once the head has reached its rotation limit, hold the stretch for 5 seconds before bringing it back to neutral position. This same stretch is then repeated to the right.


Working your upper body through compound exercises indirectly engages your neck muscles which will strengthen them overtime. Exercises that directly engage the neck muscles may not be suitable for everyone and have a risk of injury if the neck muscles are presently weak due to lack of movement. The exercises that work your neck are the deadlift, shoulder press, lateral raise, shoulder shrugs, and upright row. If you are a regular gym goer or athlete and interested in strengthening and hypertrophy of the neck muscles you can include neck isolation exercises like neck ups, neck extensions, isometric neck flexion and extensions. Advanced individuals can go for neck bridge exercise.


Taking a multivitamin and multimineral supplement may help improve neck pain caused by general weakness of muscles.

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Other Causes:
Other more serious causes include, Muscle or spinal injury due to impact or sudden jerk(whiplash), herniated(slip) disk, narrowing of the spine due to aging, Arthritis and fracture of the vertebra.
These cases require medical treatment which will include medications accompanied with physiotherapy. Chronic neck pain may be a cause of serious underlying issue. Consult your doctor if the pain persists for more than 10-15 days.

Article by Coach Rehan
Certified Personal Training
Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach
Certified Nutritionist 

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