How to manage and prevent neck pain in Pakistan

Preventing and then managing neck pain in Pakistan, once it appears, just requires discipline. 

Neck pain is a very common problem in Pakistan, at least 9% to 18 of people suffer from neck pain. And one in every third person can recall one episode of neck pain in their lifetime.  There are many causes or reasons for neck pain Mechanical (neck strain and sprain, spondylosis), Rheumatologic (Ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis), Infectious (vertebral osteomyelitis), Metabolic (Osteoporosis), and tumors (cancer). It would be difficult to describe all these neck pain illnesses in Urdu. 

Neck pain with fever indicates weakness, that the body is fighting bacteria or viruses.

The neck pain due to stress can be reduced by jogging for 25 minutes or 5 kilometers, every day.  

The commonest cause of neck pain is poor neck posture (mechanical) due to excessive use of computers and cell phones and that is what I will be discussing. 

Symptoms of Neck pain can also appear in the form of headaches and subsequent dizziness. A swollen face along with a headache could be because of heightened blood pressure

Even children can develop neck pain if they are not careful.

The ICD-10 code for neck pain for all those interested is here.

Tablets for neck pain are mostly off-the-shelf pain killers.

To expect any sort of relief from neck pain, or any sort of solution, go over these non-medicinal remedies, that is also its treatment in 

Posture is a very important part of the balance and correct posture distributes the weight equally and does not put the cervical spine under undue pressure. The commonest postural issue is forward head posture, it can result due to poor sleep posture, use of excessive cell phone and computer, and lack of exercise resulting in deconditioning of muscles. Neck pain at the base of the skull can be due to bad posture.

It is very easy to check your own posture ( how correct it is) by standing against the wall, your heels, buttocks, shoulder, and head should touch the wall without having to look up and down.

Becoming aware of whether you have right neck or shoulder posture is the first step towards improvement. When your head moves forwards an inch, it means that your neck muscle has to hold extra 4.5Kgs (10 pounds) of weight.

The second is to make the right adjustment in your workspace. Place your computer monitor height so that the top third of the screen is even with your eyes and the screen is 18-24 inches from your face. Take frequent breaks that is after every 30 minutes for one to two minutes, and do stretch your neck when you are taking a break.

While using the phone, keep your neck straight, either raise your hand and bring the phone to eye level or move your eyes.

Care of neck while sleeping. Two positions that work best for the neck are sleeping on your back and sideways. In both cases, it is important to support the neck and head and maintain the natural curve of the neck. Avoid sleeping on your stomach as it puts unnecessary stress on the neck.

Also avoid using too high, too low, and stiff pillows.

While traveling or watching TV, use a horseshoe-shaped pillow to support your neck and to prevent your head from dropping to one side if you doze.

Do learn simple neck stretches that you can do throughout the day. These will help you relax tightened neck muscles and prevent any future neck pain. They will also improve the general flexibility of the neck. Following is the link to neck stretches.

If you are in a phase where you have developed neck pain, in that case, you will have to consult a doctor for proper diagnosis and management. And if it is mechanical neck pain then all you need to do is to strengthen the neck muscles, not immediately but when the pain has settled.

Apart from these things specific to neck, you need to have a healthy life styles that includes 30 to 40 minutes of brisk walk at least five times a week and also eating healthy.

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