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Pain Management

Advice from Harvard: 6 Ways to Battle Neck Pain

Neck pain is one of the most common and annoying health problems. In fact, it can make ordinary life a lot more painful. Who hasn’t had a “crick” that just won’t go away?

According to the experts at Harvard Medical School, neck pain often develops over time. It might be linked to arthritis or degenerative disk disease, or aggravated by bad posture, weak muscles, stress or insufficient sleep, says Dr. Zacharia Isaac, medical director of the Comprehensive Spine Care Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and director of interventional physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School.

The Harvard experts have published a book, Neck Pain: A Troubleshoooting Guide to Help You Find Relief (http://www.health.harvard.edu/promotions/harvard-health-publications/neck-pain-a-troubleshooting-guide-to-help-you-find-relief) that gives an overall pictures of this surprisingly complex problem.

Here, to get you started on the road to relief, are six simple strategies for fighting neck pain.

Change position regularly. If you move around often enough, Isaac says, you’ll be less likely to get your neck “stuck” in a painful position.

Get comfortable. The Harvard experts recommend having your computer monitor at eye level so you won’t have a hard time seeing it. Wear a head set or use a speaker function. Put your laptop on a pillow at a 45-degree angle so you’re not looking at it flat on your lap.

Keep your eyeglasses prescription up to date. Isaac says that if your glasses aren’t doing you much good, you may lean your head back to try to see better.

Avoid piles of pillows. The Harvard experts say that if you use too many pillows under your head, you can hamper your neck’s range of motion.

Don’t try to do more than you should. If you need to move something heavy – a task that could injure your neck or back – ask for help.

Sleep well.  Poor sleep increases the risk of musculoskeletal pain, according to the Harvard experts.

For more information, buy  Neck Pain: A Troubleshoooting Guide to Help You Find Relief (http://www.health.harvard.edu/promotions/harvard-health-publications/neck-pain-a-troubleshooting-guide-to-help-you-find-relief.)

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