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5 Causes Of Neck Pain And How You Can Help Alleviate It

By Dr Eva Selhub
Updated July 18, 2015

If you have ongoing neck pain, find out what could be causing or adding to your pain, and try these recommendations to alleviate it.

1. Threatened By Stress

When the brain perceives that you are being threatened for any reason the body will tense, and this includes the stiffening of the neck, shoulders and jaw muscles.

Advice: Practice meditation and stress reduction techniques, especially prior to sleeping or working.

2. Clenching The Jaw

Many individuals clench their jaw when stressed or grind their teeth, especially during sleep, which not only causes pain in the jaw, but adds to muscle tension in the neck muscles.

Advice: Visit with your dentist and get assessed for teeth grinding or jaw clenching. If you have a bit guard, use it. Practice meditation and stress reduction techniques as well.

3. Sleep Without Comfort

Another cause or a factor that can exacerbate neck tension is poor sleep conditions, like sleeping on a pillow that is too high or a mattress, which is not supportive enough.

Advice: Consider changing your mattress and especially changing your pillow so that it is not thicker than the curve of your neck.

4. Poor Posture

With the advent of smart phones and computers, many people spend the majority of their day looking down when sitting, standing and even when walking, which creates unnecessary tension on the neck.

In addition, most people usually slouch, causing more stress and tension to build up in the cervical spine because if the neck were to follow the curve of the spine, individuals would be looking down. And because they need to see where they are going, the head tilts upwards, causing stress and tension to increase in the cervical spine.

Advice: Adjust and correct the ergonomics of your positioning while working at your computer. Hold your phone up so that it is eye level (bring the phone to your eyes, rather than bringing your eyes to the phone).

Also, consider working with an Alexander technique therapist who can work with you on your posture while you stand, walk or sit.

5. Negative Beliefs

The chakra system of aryuvedic medicine associates the area of the neck with the 5th or Throat chakra (chakra is translated as energy wheel), an energy center that is connected to one’s ability to have a voice, to be heard.

Problems in the neck can thus be associated with problems with your voice being heard, you beliefs being questioned, your integrity being challenged or feeling overwhelmed by a sense of responsibility.

Advice: Ask yourself what is happening in your life that is causing you to feel that you are not being seen, heard or valued. Ask yourself if there is something happening in your life that you feel you are solely responsible for.

Then do the following exercise, which you can do as your relaxation practice any time, especially prior to going to sleep.

  • Close your eyes
  • Breathe in and count to four.
  • Hold your breath for a count of four.
  • Then exhale slowly counting to six (or longer if you can).
  • Do this for three cycles of breath.
  • On the fourth cycle, as your breathe out, imagine you block of energy that is stuck in your neck is being released into the wind, where it is broken up into particles of dust.
  • Pin It When you breathe in, your breathe in trust that you are being seen, heard, valued and supported.
  • You may wish to say to yourself the following as you breathe in and out:
    “I breathe out, and I let go.”
    “I breathe in, and I embody the feeling of being seen, heard, valued and supported.”
  • Do this for at least ten cycles of breath.

The cause of neck pain is multidimensional, and some of the causes are in your control to change. You have the power in your hands to lessen or even eliminate it.

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Katherine Hurst
By Dr Eva Selhub
Dr. Eva Selhub is an internationally recognized expert, physician, author, speaker and consultant in the fields of stress, resilience, mind-body medicine and working with the natural environment to achieve maximum health and wellbeing. Her clients and her audiences engage with her powerful energy, words of wisdom and scientific knowledge to be empowered to transform themselves, their health and their life for the better.

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