Normally, when you have neck AND back pain at the same time, it is associated with problems with posture or sleeping position. Until those issues are fixed, it will be impossible to relieve any long term pain.
I have recently suffered from back and neck pain after using an old Tempur-Pedic pillow that had hardened with age. It affected me for weeks, even when I switched pillows, so I finally decided to do some research on how to fix it for good. I found a lot of different exercises and stretches, but only a few gave me some relief.
As I mentioned earlier, chronic neck and back pain is associated with poor posture. If you truly want to be rid of your chronic back and neck pain you must first make sure that your standing posture is not working against you. To help you out with that, there is a simple exercise you can do to help you understand and feel what a normal posture feels like.
All you have to do is place your heels against the wall and align yourself so that your butt, shoulder blades, and head are all touching the wall with your chin perpendicular to your body. This is normal standing posture and if it feels awkward it is because you have poor posture. Try and align yourself in this manner whenever you are walking or standing. It may feel a bit goofy at first but it is the first step to relieving your pain.
Sleeping Posture Correction
Another major cause of back and neck pain issues is the position that you sleep in. Using special pillows that holds your head in a certain position all night can be helpful except when your head is in the wrong position all night. Personally after my bad experience, I would suggest not using those types of pillows just in the off chance you fall asleep with your head sunk into a bad position.
When you go to bed make sure your neck is aligned with your back. If you sleep on your side try and keep your head directly in between your shoulders and spine straight. Do not allow your neck to dip downward or pile on so many pillows that your neck is arched upwards. If you lay on your back just keep your head directly in between your shoulders with your head directly at the ceiling not turned to one side.
It may sound excessive but if you want your neck and back pain to begone, then bare with it and keep it up at least for a few weeks.
The Two Stretches You Will Ever Need
These stretches are designed to realign your back and neck so it will be easier to have better posture. Neck rolls and over extending your back are decent for fixing the problem but they can make it even worse too and it won’t help solve the problem only temporarily give you an increased range of motion.
You can perform these stretches as many times as you want but you should at least do them BOTH twice a day and hold each one for about 10-15 seconds.
- Ready position: Face a wall and place your hand and forearm against it with your arm bent at a 90 degree angle.
- Transition: Turn away from your arm until your body is perpendicular to the wall
- Advice/help: Perform with both arms. Keep your back straight and your arm aligned with your shoulder. If your arm starts to go numb you are pushing too hard or turning too much. (see picture for help)
- Ready position: Place one of your hands in the opposite back pocket of your pants. If your pants do not have pockets that’s fine, just hold it over your opposite butt cheek for lack of a better phrase (If you are using your right hand insert it into your left back pocket. If you are using your left hand insert into your right back pocket). Your other hand should be directly on the side of your leg.
- Transition: Slide the hand on the side of your leg down towards your knee as far as possible, while leaning your neck and upper torso in the same direction (see picture for more help).
- Advice/help: Do this with both arms. Don’t lean forward or backward just to the side.