Here are some guidelines to
follow in caring for your neck. It is important to learn to use proper body
positions to help reduce strain on muscles, joints, bones and ligaments as well
as prevent fatigue and aggravation of pain.
Remember three important points
with regard to your neck and arms:
- Everything you do with your arms affects your neck
- You must learn to break up your activity into short
periods of work (about 15 minutes) and then rest
- With poor head and neck posture, the muscles of the
neck and head must work harder, causing strain and pain
- Plan your day
- Set priorities, decide what must be done first
- Position yourself properly
- Rest frequently
Washing your hair
- avoid stooping over a sink. Wash your hair in the
- probably a painful activity for you when your neck
hurts. Try to stay out of the car whenever possible. If you’re driving,
get close to the steering wheel. Gripping the bottom of the steering wheel
will be more comfortable than gripping the top. Learn to make more use of
the sideview and rearview mirrors rather than turning your head. Avoid quick
stops and starts. Rest your neck against the headrest. If your neck is sore,
wear your collar. Wear sunglasses for glare. If taking a long trip, get out
of the car every hour or two. The change of position will relax your muscles
- Sit with your neck and feet supported. Have reading
material at eye-level. Avoid holding material. Place book on an angle
against a pile of books on a table in front of you. Avoid a sustained
- If you have bifocals, lower reading material. Avoid
tipping your head back to look at something with your glasses. If you
are obtaining new glasses, do not purchase bifocals, but two pairs of
- Avoid drinking out of bottles. Do not tip your
head back, but sip out of a glass or a cup, or drink with a straw.
- Do not lift anything heavy. Hold object close to your
body and keep neck and back straight. Do not reach to pick up objects
- Learn to move your body in one plane, your head and
feet should be facing the same direction so you do not twist. When moving a
large object, position your body behind the object and use your legs and
body weight. Avoid pulling an object.
- Moving from lying to sitting, roll from your back onto
your side. Put ankles over the edge of the bed, push up with your arms into
sitting. Reverse steps to go from sitting to lying.
- Working with something low. Place one foot in front of
the other, squat down, keeping your buttocks tucked under you. Keep your
back straight and chin down. Do not bend from the waist or tip head back.
- Working with something high, avoid it. Do not reach.
Use a stepstool.
- Standing Stand tall, buttocks tucked under.
Stomach pulled in, shoulders comfortably back. Head tall and straight
- Sitting Sit comfortably with legs supported.
Knees higher than hips; use a footstool or cross knees for temporary relief
(alternate often). Buttocks slightly forward, away from back of the chair.
- On your back. One pillow under your
shoulders, two under the neck and three pillows under your head in a
layered fashion. Knees should be supported with two pillows in a bent
- On your side. Usually two pillows under the
head with no pillows under the shoulder so your neck complete a straight
line with the spine. One pillow between the legs, round your back and bend
your knees up to your chest.
- You will need short periods of rest during the day.
Rest before your neck gets tired. Rest in a lying position rather than
sitting. Have a firm bed or use a bedboard between spring and mattress.
Pillows should be soft and light. Avoid using hard sponge pillows. Avoid
lying on your stomach.
TAKE TIME TO FEEL BETTER – BE PATIENT