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Neck Problems and Injuries

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Prevention

To help prevent neck pain caused by posture or body mechanics:

  • Avoid slouching or a head-forward posture. Sit straight in your chair with your lower back supported, feet flat on the floor, and shoulders relaxed. Don't sit for long periods without getting up or changing positions. Take short breaks several times an hour to stretch your neck muscles slideshow.gif.
  • If you work at a computer camera.gif, adjust the monitor so the top of the screen is at eye level. Use a document holder that puts your work at the same level as the screen. For more information, see the topic Office Ergonomics.
  • If you use the telephone a lot, use a headset or speaker phone. Don't cradle the phone on your shoulder.
  • Adjust the seat of your car to a more upright position that supports your head and lower back. Make sure that you are not reaching for the steering wheel while driving. Your arms should be in a slightly flexed, comfortable position.
  • Use proper lifting techniques camera.gif. Lift with your knees, not your back.
  • Make sure children and teenagers use school bags and backpacks correctly.

To help prevent neck pain caused by your sleep habits:

  • Use a pillow camera.gif that keeps your neck straight. Special neck support pillows called cervical pillows or rolls may relieve neck stress. You can also fold a towel lengthwise into a pad that is 4 in. (10 cm) wide, wrap it around your neck, and pin it in position for good support.
  • Don't sleep on your stomach with your neck twisted or bent.
  • If you read in bed, prop up the book so you aren't using your arms to hold it up and bending your neck forward. Consider using a wedge-shaped pillow to support your arms and keep your neck in a neutral position.

Other prevention tips:

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 16, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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