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Dr. Claudia Ng - Outdoor Activities That Cause Neck Pain Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Outdoor Activities That Cause Neck Pain

Many people are not aware that many of the things they usually do can trigger neck pain. Some of the discomfort may stem from long term habits while others may happen suddenly due to trauma or injury. There are ways to prevent the problem as well as ease the condition. A number of outdoor activities can actually lead to neck problems so it’s best to learn the preventive measures too.

  • Poor posture
  • Reading with the book or text too low
  • Sitting in one place for hours
  • Cradling things between the head and shoulders
  • Doing exercises the wrong way
  • Sleeping with very thick or irregularly shaped pillows

Rules on Posture

When going outdoors, always maintain proper body posture.

  1. Keep your back straight and your chin up while maintaining the natural curvature of your spine.
  2. Stop looking at your feet too often and look to the front instead while walking or running.
  3. When running or jogging, land evenly on your feet and try to ease the impact on your neck by keeping a natural bounce as you shift from one foot to the other.
  4. Keep your chest out and shoulders back at all times to prevent too much pressure on the neck.
  5. Do not cradle things between your head or ears and shoulders such as when using a cellular phone.
  6. Maintain good and proper posture when lifting heavy objects from the ground. Bend at the knees.

When Sleeping

  1. Especially when sleeping in a tent, on a hammock or a sleeping bag, maintain the natural curve of the spine and keep your neck straight and even.
  2. Use enough cushioning to support your head and neck.
  3. Avoid using very thick pillows or using irregularly shaped cushions. Also avoid sleeping on hard surface and look for some type of support such as a rolled t-shirt or towel.

Keeping One Position
If you stay still in one position for hours such as when fishing or bird watching, take a break regularly.

  1. Take a 10 to 15 minute break by walking around and stretching your legs, neck, shoulders and arms.
  2. Do head and neck exercises. Look to the left then to the right. Face up to the sky then down again to the ground. Do these in slow and steady repetitions for 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Practice deep breathing exercises and meditation during breaks to relieve stress.

When Reading

  1. Make sure your prescription glasses are updated so you don’t strain much while reading.
  2. Neck pain can also be prevented by keeping the book or text at eye level and reading in an upright position. Avoid reading in the dark, while lying down or while lying flat on your chest.

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