Tips to Prevent Neck Pain | PT Effect

Tips to Prevent Neck Pain

Maintain good posture and avoid straining your neck
Read Time: 4 minutes
Sep 26, 2022

Neck pain is a common ailment afflicting millions of people across the country. Most people have probably suffered from neck pain at least once in their lives. It can be caused by poor posture, health conditions such as osteoarthritis, stress, physical strain, and more. Fortunately, there are tips you can follow to prevent neck pain in some cases.

Tip #1

Maintain Good Posture

two images of the same woman, the first with poor posture and the second with good posture, side-by-side for comparison

Poor posture is a major cause of neck pain. To prevent this pain, you can practice maintaining good posture. This means sitting up with your back straight and your shoulders back. Make sure that your head isn’t bending forward because this puts extra strain on your neck.

Tip #2

Hold Your Phone at Eye Level

a woman with her head bent down to look at her mobile phone

One common cause of poor posture is bending forward to look at a mobile phone. Many people hold their phones low so that they have to hunch forward and bend their heads downwards to properly see. This can cause strain in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the neck. To avoid such strain, hold your phone up at eye level so that you don’t have to bend your neck.

Tip #3

Lighten the Load

a purse on its side with many small items spilling out of it onto a table

Heavy purses, laptop cases, and briefcases can cause neck pain because they can put strain on the muscles unevenly. The first step to fixing this problem is to clean out the purse or case so that it has only the essentials in it.

Tip #4

Consider a backpack

a professional backpack on a table next to items to go in it

Especially if you can’t lighten what you’re carrying around with you, consider switching to a backpack. The two straps help to more evenly distribute the weight across your body so there isn’t strain occurring on just one side of your neck. Backpacks aren’t just designed for school or camping; there are professional-looking ones for people who need to carry items to and from work.

Tip #5

Drink Lots of Water

a woman outside drinking from a plastic water bottle

Staying properly hydrated can help to prevent neck pain by ensuring that the discs in between the vertebrae in the neck are nourished. If you don’t drink enough water, these might not be as strong and pliable, which could result in neck pain.

Tip #6

Keep Your Computer Monitor at Eye Level

a woman looking down to work on a laptop

If you work at a computer a lot, it’s important that the monitor be positioned so that it’s at eye level. If you’re looking up or down to see your screen, you may end up with neck pain. If you work on a laptop, consider getting a stand that could raise it closer to eye level.

Tip #7

Buy a New Pillow

a woman sleeping on her side with a plump pillow

Another option is to try out a new pillow. Some people sleep more comfortably with fluffier pillows while others need flatter pillows. You may not be using the pillow that’s right for you; finding the right one may involve some trial and error. However, the ideal is for the pillow to help support the natural curve of your neck, which may be different depending on whether you sleep on your side, stomach, or back.

Tip #8

Try Sleeping on Your Back

a woman sleeping on her back in bed

Sleeping on your back is the best position to reduce neck pain. This is because it’s the sleeping position in which the entire spine and neck get the most rest. Some people also put pillows under their arms to better support them.

Tip #9

Use Speakerphone or a Headset

a woman wearing a headset to talk on the phone

Another cause of neck strain is tilting your head to talk with your phone to your ear. It’s even worse if you’re using your head to hold the phone in place without using your hands. If you can’t use speakerphone, invest in a headset so that you can talk hands-free without hurting your neck.

Tip #10

Stretch and Exercise Your Neck

a woman in a competitive swim suit stretching her neck

Your neck has muscles, too, and if they’re not worked out or stretched properly, they could ache. Making sure to work out and stretch your neck muscles can ensure that they’re strong enough for your normal routine, which can reduce the risk of neck pain.

Are you dealing with neck pain?

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Mark Shulman

Dr. Mark Shulman

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), FAAOMPT, COMT, CSCS


Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists.

Mark Shulman

Dr. Allison McKay

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), PRPC


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