neck pain

Stretch to maintain independence

No one wants to get hurt or lose their independence. But too few of us take the time to do stretching exercises to prevent that.

Maybe you have neck pain from poor posture, osteoarthritis or an accident.

See your doctor if:

  • Your pain is severe and isn’t getting better.
  • It spreads down your arms or legs, or you  have numbness or weakness in your arms or hands.
  • You also have a headache, numbness, tingling or weakness.

Your physician may suggest:

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers such as Advil, Aleve or Tylenol
  • Cold and heat: Reduce inflammation by applying an ice pack or bag of frozen peas for up to 20 minutes and then lying on your back on the floor with a tennis ball under your neck or standing under a hot shower with the pulse setting.
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises
  • Acupuncture
  • Chiropractic
  • Massage

What can you do at home to prevent neck pain? Stretch and strengthen your neck:

  1. Lie in bed on your back with a rolled up towel under your neck.
  2. Move your head down like you’re going to touch your chin to your chest.
  3. Stay in this position and lift your head up.
  4. Lay your head back down and relax.
  5. Stop stretching if you are in pain.

If your mom told you to sit up straight, you’re lucky. Most neck pain is caused by poor posture as well as general wear and tear as we get older.

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