5 Reasons Why Your Neck Pain Won’t Go Away

Neck pain is a very common problem to have and it can be extremely frustrating to deal with because it can affect multiple different areas of your life – like how well you can do your job, your ability to get a good night’s sleep, your typical workouts/active lifestyle,  even just your overall daily mood, and so on.

 

1. You Haven’t Actually Done Anything To Fix the Problem

This is easily the most common reason why your neck pain isn’t going away and continues to cause you to suffer.  Or why your neck problem “goes away” for a week and then comes right back the next week.

How can you expect anything to get better if your “treatment” method is to do nothing and just hope it disappears!?

The body just doesn’t work like that.  Pain is the signal from your body’s alarm system going off and saying “something isn’t right here and you need to do something about it.”  And medical professionals exist for a reason – because what we do works and helps you get out of pain and back to doing what you love…and in our case, we do this without the use of painkillers, injections, or surgery.

And while some people fall into the category of people who just cross their fingers and hope it goes away, there are other people who want to do something for their neck pain but simply don’t know what they can do to help it…so they just continue to go on suffering.

This is why I offer a few different free options to help people BEFORE they commit to us for help.  It’s a way for people to learn what they can do for their problem and see what option works best for them.

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2. You Are Constantly Stressed

In my 10+ years of treating patients, I can tell you that I've noticed a big connection between neck pain and stress.  Now, this doesn't mean that if you are stressed you will get neck pain or if you have neck pain that means you must be stressed.  Rather, that I've had plenty of patients who notice a significant difference in their neck pain when they remove some stress from their lives.  That's why everyone feels better when they are on vacation, right!?

So, if you have had lingering neck pain and are someone who is under a lot of stress - could be from your job, spouse, kids, etc. - I can say with almost certainty that that stress is playing a big role in your neck pain not going away.

Finding ways to "de-stress" can have a huge effect on your neck pain...and overall health (weight loss, improved mood, more productive, better sleep, etc).  And there is no one way that works for everyone.  Whether it be exercise, meditation, journaling, delegating more, etc, there are so many options out there to try.  So do yourself a favor and identify your biggest stressors and try a couple different methods to lessen that stress.

3. You're Sleeping in the Wrong Position

So many of my patients tell me that when they wake up in the morning their neck feels stiff, achy, and/or painful.  And many of these people went to sleep without any of those feelings.  So the obvious answer is their neck was in a bad position while they slept and now they suffer the consequences.

I'm not a big fan of telling people that they have to sleep in one specific position if they have neck pain because everyone has different preferences (and most people toss and turn anyway).  But, when it comes to neck pain, I highly recommend people not sleep on their stomach - because it forces you to rotate your head all the way to one side and that is usually problematic for most people with neck pain.

What I do recommend is that you sleep on your side or back.  When you sleep on your side, make sure you head is level - in other words, you don't want it to be angled down (too thin of a pillow) or up (too big or too many pillows).  What seems to get a lot of people in the right position (level) is to use two pillows - one fluffy and one not so fluffy (and put the one you like to lay on on the top - for comfort reasons).  When someone looks at you from the side, your head should be level (or in-line with the rest of your body).

If you like to sleep on your back, make sure your head isn't extended too much (i.e. looking at the ceiling behind you) or too high (how most people watch TV from their bed).

Try this simple tip out and see how you feel in the morning.

 

4. You Have Bad Posture at Work

Just about everyone is guilty of sitting with bad posture while at work.  While most people think of bad sitting posture as affecting their back, it also has an effect on their neck.

And I'm not someone who is going to tell you that you have to sit with good posture every second of the day.  I'm a realistic guy and understand that when it comes to bad posture, it's more a matter of reducing how bad it is and/or how long you are in that position.

What I commonly see with people who have neck pain is that they sit in a slouched position with their heads looking slightly up and their right shoulder a little hunched up to use the mouse.  If this sounds like you, then try these simple tips to get yourself into a better position:

 

  • Adjust the height of your monitor so that it is eye-level (sit up with good posture first, then adjust the height) - put some books, a box, or stack of paper under it if it doesn't go high enough on its own.
  • Position your monitor so it is directly in front of you and not off to one side.  This way you're not constantly turned one way and causing stress on one side of your neck.
  • Adjust the height of your desk chair so that when you put your arms by your side and bend your elbows 90 degrees (like an "L"), your hands should rest on top of the desk. If your chair is too low, then it will force you to hunch your shoulders up and if it's too high, your neck muscles will be under a constant stretch the whole day.
  • Place a small pillow or towel in the small of your back. By getting your back into a better position, your neck will follow suit and not slouch as much
  • Buy an adjustable stand-up desk (or ask your company to buy it....I know some of you probably just laughed, but what do you have to lose by asking). I don't recommend people sit or stand all day long, rather that they vary the position they're in throughout the day.

These are some really easy tips to implement that have worked well for my clients in the past, so try some of the out and see how you feel.

 

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5. The Rest of Your Life Isn't Healthy

In addition to stress, which we already mentioned, there are other areas of everyday life that can cause neck pain to linger around and make you suffer more and more and longer and longer.

Maybe you don't sleep well or you work too much or you don't eat well or you're overweight or you're out of shape....or a combination of those.  I think you get the idea what I'm talking about and you can probably identify 1 or 2 problem areas in your life right now.  And I know it might be tough to think (or admit) that those things are a problem, but it really can make a difference.

All those things play a role in your recovery and can affect how much and long you continue to suffer and miss out the things you love to do.  If you can't get your everyday life in control, the odds of a quick and complete recovery go down...it really is that simple (and I'm well aware that simple doesn't mean easy).

 

So there you have it - 5 common reasons your neck pain won't go away.  Hopefully this article can help you with your neck problem and point you in the right direction so that you can put an end to your suffering and get back to enjoying life like you want to.