Greetings from Dr. T:
Many times, ‘a pain in the neck’ is caused by an accident (usually a car accident), poor sleep position or posture, or work-related repetitive motion. Neck pain may come from standing or sitting too long, from gazing too long in a certain direction, or even from lying down or sleeping in the wrong position.
Normal head posture is with the head balanced over the shoulders with a nice “C” curve when looking at someone from the side. A head that sits too far forward or has its curve diminished can be painful due to muscular fatigue.
Here's a good strengthening exercise to use if your head is forward on your shoulders. Pull your head back (like a turtle) without lifting the chin. Keep your chin tucked down and draw back as far as you comfortably can. Hold it for 3 seconds. Do these ten times a day.
For those who sit all day, you can reduce neck fatigue and pain by sitting in a chair with good back support, looking straight ahead at your monitor at eye level, and by using a headset or speakerphone. Have your reading material as close to eye level as possible and not flat on your desk. Stretch and walk around at least every 45 minutes.
One of the best things you can do for neck health is to support the natural curve of your neck by sitting correctly at work and by using a neck pillow at night.
Dr. Thorburn is a Registered Nurse and a Doctor of Chiropractic. She also has advanced training in nutrition.