And no, we are not talking about your beautiful 3 year old throwing tantrums, nor your 16 year old sighing and muttering “you just don’t get me!”
We are talking REAL pain in the neck.. your cervical spine. Im sure we have all been there; done a head check in the car or woken up after sleeping in a different bed, new pillow or long flight and BAM, NECK PAIN! There is a sharp catching pain in your neck and you can barely move your head without pain. Some may call this stress, others refer to it as my dodgy neck “going out”. We Osteopath’s know this a facet sprain – otherwise know as an irritated joint in your neck. And we see this type of presentation all day every day at our Glen Iris clinic.

Did you know that the weather can affect our bodies? As the days are dawning in, it is clear that winter is slowly on its way and we are fast approaching what we like to call “neck pain season”

Just think of walking outside into a cold rainy day. Instantly, your shoulders shrug up towards your ears, arms tighten into towards your body and you tense all your muscles in an attempt to protect yourself from the cold, trying to keep warm. After a while, the muscles in your neck start to get tighter and tighter. Even though you may think it was that cramped seated on the plane, that old pillow or head check which caused your joint irritation; it was also the result of some pre-existing tightness.

Keep in mind there is a lot we can do to try and prevent this from occurring. Prevention is ALWAYS better than cure!

Some tips for avoiding having a “pain in the neck;”

  • Rugging up – with Melbourne’s weather its always best to be prepared with a jumper, jacket, beanie or scarf.
  • Warming and loosening your neck muscles with a heat pack and gentle neck stretches – see the picture below.
    (This is especially useful for those with osteoarthritis)
  • Keep hydrated. It’s very easy to forget to drink water when the weather turns cold. Hot water with a slice of lemon is delicious and warming, and great hydration.
  • Ensure your pillow is giving you the support you need. If you are unsure – bring your pillow in and we are more than happy to see if it’s right for you.
  • Ensure your work place ergonomics are set up correctly. We spend a considerable amount of time staring at devices – be they laptop, smart phone, work computer. These can have an impact on your neck and potentially lead to pain.

If your experiencing lingering tightness or discomfort for more than 1 week don’t let it become chronic and seek some treatment.