Skip to content

Neck Care

Injuries and painful conditions affecting the neck are common as it is the most mobile part of the spine. Common causes of neck pain are degeneration of the spine, poor posture and injury.

People who have neck pain should seek help from health professionals. Self-medication is not recommended since serious side effects of treatment, especially those of pain-killers, can occur. Besides medications, adequate rest and application of physiotherapy and occupational therapy help to relieve pain and prevent the condition from worsening. Maintaining a good posture and performing regular exercises also help in preventing neck problems.

Neck care and prevention of neck problems

Proper posture:

Aim at maintaining the normal curves of the spine when performing activities of daily living (ADL) so as to prevent neck pain.

Sitting posture:

  • Use a chair with appropriate height, stable base and proper backrest to support the back.
  • Use a table with appropriate height to reduce stress on the neck.
  • Avoid napping on chairs.
  • Avoid performing tasks that can strain the neck, such as reading or knitting for prolonged periods. Changing postures periodically is recommended to prevent exhaustion or neck pain.
  • Avoid prolonged periods of sitting or sudden twisting movements of the neck.

Standing:

  • Maintain the neck in a relaxed position when standing so that the head is upright and the chin is retracted

Lying:

  • Avoid using a pillow that is too high or too low. A pillow that can support the neck in a balanced position while resting is recommended, and preferably to be made of foam or kapok.
  • Avoid lying prone for long periods to prevent straining the neck.
  • Avoid reading in bed.

Performing activities of daily living (ADL):

  • Grooming:
    Keep the head upright by placing one hand on the counter of the sink to support the body.
  • Washing hair:
    Sink or basin is not recommended for washing hair because the neck will be held in a bent position. Shower is a better choice as the neck can be kept in a more relaxed position.
  • Household chores:
    Washing clothes by hand:Put the basin over a covered toilet or a stable low stool to achieve an appropriate height. When using a bucket, it can be raised by putting it on a low stool.
  • Machine-washing clothes:
    It is a preferable method to reduce stress on neck and workload.
  • Ironing:
    Height-adjustable ironing board is recommended to keep the neck in a more relaxed position. If the ironing board is height-fixed, ironing can be performed in sitting position.
  • Cooking / cleansing:
    Avoid bending the neck down for extended periods of time. If the sink is too low, washing dishes in a sitting position is recommended.

Regular exercise

  • Proper and regular neck exercises can help to maintain or improve flexibility of muscles, tendons and ligaments as well as strengthen the muscles that support the neck.
  • Practising neck exercises everyday can slow down the degeneration of the cervical spine.
  • When performing daily routines or household chores, take a break every half an hour to stretch and exercise your neck in different directions by looking up and down, left and right. You can also raise and squeeze your shoulders together and then relax. Repeat this action for a few minutes to relax your neck muscles.

Tips for maintaining a 'Healthy Neck'

  • Arrange your work environment properly (furniture, equipment, etc.) so that your neck can be maintained in a relaxed position at all times.
  • Take rest breaks to prevent straining the neck.
  • Stop the task and take a rest immediately if you experience any neck pain or discomfort.
  • Consult a doctor or health-care professional immediately if pain persists