In Italy alone, 60% of people suffer from neck problems, from the common “stiff neck” to more serious and recurrent diseases that are often invalidating. What is the cause of this surge in pain affecting that part of the body that (even metaphorically speaking) supports the head?
6 out of 10 Italians suffer from neck pain, but the numbers are pretty much the same everywhere. The cause of this chronic pain and suffering, which is unfortunately on the rise, includes bad posture, improperly executed physical exercises, excessive weightlifting, and poor-quality pillows and mattresses. As for stiff neck, though, a gust of wind, a sudden change in heat, or full-blasted air conditioning are all it takes: with this type of ailment the pain subsides in a few days, but it’s best not to underestimate its effects.
But what exactly is stiff neck? Well, it’s a pathological condition that causes a person to feel pain both when tilting the head towards the shoulder and when turning it sideways. A sort of muscle contracture around the area of the trapezius and shoulder bone. In some cases, when there is a significant level of inflammation, the pain is so strong that it causes complete immobilization without the person being able to perform any kind of movement.
Preventing neck pain
The way we walk, stay seated, drive an automobile, or sit on a bicycle or motorbike is a key factor in preventing neck pain. However, not everyone is good at being continually aware of his/her posture, which is why an ergonomically designed chair in the office or a back pillow when driving can prove extremely helpful. When our back maintains a healthy position, even the neck tends to do the same, thus helping avoid an unnatural posture.
Keeping our head tilted over a tablet or smartphone for too long is one of the possible causes of neck pain and is something that needs to be carefully monitored and kept under control, especially at a young age.
The strategies available for preventing neck pain include good body tone, targeted exercise, and a healthy number of sessions with a physiotherapist or posture specialist, which can prove very helpful.
Finally, high heels can represent a problem in the long run, causing muscle fiber to shrink and the Achilles’ tendon to become swollen. To be clear, high-heeled shoes are not the issue per se, although wearing them every day may prove risky.
Natural remedies for neck pain
Posture aside, our neck muscles may contract due to stress or excessive anxiety at the thought of something bad happening to us (in areas that are the target of repeated bombings, people often have neck pain because the fear of new military strikes causes unrelenting muscle tension). In this type of scenario, natural remedies such as a massage with lavender oil or a warm cloth (but not too warm, in order to avoid getting burned) can prove helpful. The next step requires learning to control stress, for which there are several valid techniques, from Yoga to meditation or stretching and tai-chi.
Neck pain: other possible causes
Dental problems, stomach-ache, and gallbladder disorders are other possible causes of neck pain, whether alone or in combination. Based on a psychosomatic approach, instead, the vertebrae of the neck form the link between the seat of our emotions (the rest of the body) and our rational mind (the head), and we may experience pain if these two parts are at odds. In a certain sense, therefore, our neck’s position symbolically “speaks”, and it says that people who have a physiologically inverted position are constantly contradicting what a person says or does, while people who have an overly stiff neck “repel” emotions and people who seem to be “without a neck” are overwhelmed with responsibilities.
The perfect pillow for people with neck pain
There’s no such thing as the perfect pillow, but on an individual level, each one of us can find the right pillow that is perfect for him/her. Our guide to choosing the perfect pillow is an excellent starting point. Help from expert and trained staff like the employees who work in Magniflex stores is always a guarantee that you’ll make the right choice, which is important, because the neck area is a very delicate body part and it’s best not to choose in a hurry. One thing to keep in mind to help you understand how important proper posture is when sleeping is that neck pain is especially severe in the morning.
The neck and medicine: a necessary binomial
As we already mentioned, the neck area is extremely delicate, which is why in the case of persisting pain a person should consult their doctor or a specialist. The same applies to the choice of specific professionals such as physiotherapists or masseuses, who will be able to intervene effectively only if they can rely on a doctor’s confirmed diagnosis.