If you call someone a pain in the neck, you're using a phrase that originated around 1900 to clean up a saying that mentioned a different anatomical location. But that shift made the phrase much more medically accurate. Neck pain affects around 80% of folks during their lifetime and as many as 20% to 50% of you deal with it every year. Stress is one of the main causes; just notice how you raise your shoulders and pinch your neck when someone makes you tense.
Other causes of neck pain range from binge-watching programs or leaning forward to look at your phone or computer screen (called "tech-neck"), to slouching when you sit, sleeping on your stomach or using a too-thick pillow. Plus, for women, wearing a bra that isn't supportive enough.
Simple ways to avoid a sore or stiff neck?
-- Use a U-shaped travel pillow around your neck to support your head when you are leaning back to watch TV.
-- When sitting for prolonged periods, get up and walk for two minutes every half-hour and whenever you're on the phone.
-- Sit upright when looking at a computer screen or phone -- shoulders back, chin up. If needed, move the computer screen closer to you or raise it up to eye level.
-- For bras, take weight off your shoulders and neck by wearing posture or sports bras with a wide back band and strong front support.
-- Ease neck stress with easy and effective stress-busting meditation and breathing exercises -- available at LongevityPlaybook.com. OHM -- my, that feels better!
Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. Check out his latest, "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow," and find out more at www.longevityplaybook.com. Email your health and wellness questions to Dr. Mike at [email protected].
King Features Syndicate