If you’re reading this I am assuming you either are currently experiencing neck pain when looking down, have experienced it, or know someone who is currently experiencing neck pain when looking down. As someone with two herniated discs in their neck from sports injuries, I know the feeling too well. Neck pain in general is a common occurrence amongst most of the worlds population today. But what if you only experience neck pain when looking down? In this article, we will go over the causes of neck pain when looking down, how to relieve it and prevent it in the future.
What can be causing this neck pain when looking down? There can be many causes as to why this is happening, here are some below.
- Muscle Strain or Soft Tissue Strains. If the pain feels sharp when looking down or whenever you move your head, this can be due to a muscle strain or soft tissue strain or injury. This can be due to whiplash since that is the most common injury in the neck.
- Bulging or Herniated Disc(s). If you had an injury recently, it could have caused a disc or more than one disc in your neck to bulge out of place and now they could be impinging the nerve. In this case, I highly suggest speaking to a medical professional about your neck pain when looking down.
What causes neck pain when looking down?
One of the most common questions asked is “How did this happen?”. Most of the worlds population today, especially due to technology, have bad posture. People are constantly looking down or up at monitors for too long. Looking at phones, we call this “Text Neck”. All of the bad habits can lead to pain and injury over time in the neck. Here are some common reasons why this pain could have occurred.
- Text Neck. Looking down at a phone for too long
- Bad Posture. Sitting or standing with bad posture, such as neck tilting forward or curving your back (the hunch back). Being in this position for too long can have drastically bad effects on your body long term.
- Stress. Stress can be a common cause of neck pain, if you find yourself stressed from life very often, you will quickly start to see the bad side effects of this.
- Neck or Spinal Injury. This is one that no one wants to hear. An injury in the neck or spinal injury is something very serious and needs to be addressed immediately with your doctor to find out the severity and a treatment plan.
- Bad Repetitive Neck Habits. Do you find yourself cracking your neck very often? Don’t do that, its very bad for neck health and can cause a bulging disc to become much worse. Pay attention to your neck habits, what you normally do and figure out what could be harming your neck.
5 Effective Treatments!
Now lets go over some treatments to help get rid of your neck pain when looking down. These are important and you should take all of them into consideration, they are healthy habits that can have great benefits aside from helping with any neck pain when looking down. I suggest trying them all out. If you feel any pain or something feels wrong during any of these treatments, I suggest calling your doctor immediately to find out what is going on and figure out a solution to help your neck pain when looking down.
Remember each of these 5 treatments every day as you go through your normal day to day life. Try to keep them in mind and follow them so you can have fastest route to healing any of your neck pain when looking down.
I know, we’ve all heard this one and its getting annoying. But it is so important and so many people ignore it.
Imagine this, you’re on a computer or looking down at your phone for long periods of time, combine all of that time together and you may notice that you’re spending hours in a bad position, hunched over, looking at a screen or looking down. Over time that is about 40 pounds or more of pressure on your neck in that position, in a bad position. You can start to see why so many people have issues in their neck and why you are experiencing neck pain when looking down.
If you find yourself sitting most of your day for work, consider looking at the image below and try to keep in mind how your posture should be throughout the day and what your posture shouldn’t be. Following good posture rules can help reduce pain significantly and get rid of the neck pain when looking down. It can also help in many other areas of your body and your body will thank you if you keep doing this from now on.
As you can see by the picture above, keeping a neutral spine is great. One suggestion I will make for people working on computers is try to keep the monitor at eye level if possible. This way your neck is also in neutral position. It is much better than looking down even a little for long periods of time. In the picture, she may be looking down by her neck is still in a good neutral position and is aligned with her spine. You can draw a straight line from her neck and down.
One more recommendation, if you find yourself sitting all day, take a few minutes to get up and walk around. Stretch your body and relax or you can stand up and work if possible. Sitting for less time throughout the day or just being more active is a great way to prevent pain in the body or neck pain when looking down.
Like I’ve said multiple times in this section, keeping a good posture should greatly help treat neck pain when looking down. This is not mind blowing or revolutionary, but its basic and it works. I suggest following this and keeping good posture throughout your entire life, you will be happy you did later on in life, because it will prevent so much pain in the future. When you go to the doctor or a physical therapist, they will recommend this exact same thing. So follow it, because even the professionals recommend it.
Improve your Neck Mobility
Most neck pain when looking down or in general is caused due to stiffness in the neck. You can beat this by stretching your neck to improve mobility and flexibility in it. I have many stretches for neck pain and have outlined them all in an article I will link below.
For the sake of simplicity I will share my #1 favorite neck stretch which is simple to do from anywhere and can be done in just a minute! This stretch is recommend by many physical therapists and was also recommended to me by my sports coach first. It is a great stretch for the back of the neck.
To do this stretch, its simple and it will definitely help with your neck pain when looking down.
Keep a neutral head position and good posture. Look straight ahead and without moving your neck, try to tuck your chin in without touching it. Try to bring your chin and touch your neck with it, yes I know it sounds weird. Now take your right hand and place the fingers on your neck. Keep your neck straight and don’t move it. Now push your chin in and its okay if it goes down a bit. Refer to the picture above to see how it should be. This will help stretch your neck and you should feel a stretch in the back of your neck. Do this for 10 seconds, just hold the position. Try to do this for 6 to 8 repetitions.
If you feel any pain at any point, please stop the stretch and contact your doctor to find out more about your situation and how to solve your neck pain when looking down.
Apply Heat or Ice
Like I’ve said multiple times, the old and basic stuff keep showing up because they work. If you are feeling neck pain when looking down, chances could be, there could be inflammation in your neck. Use icy hot or just simple ice and hold it there for 10 to 20 minutes. Relatively simple, but try to do this once or twice daily to reduce the pain.
If after a week the pain is still there and has not gone down, I recommend seeking out a doctor to find out more about your situation and help with your neck pain when looking down.
Changing Sleep Positions
This sounds easier said than done, because who can keep track of how they sleep while they’re asleep right? What I mean is, you should try to fall asleep in a neutral position to avoid neck pain when looking down. Refer to the image above to see how you should and shouldn’t be falling asleep, because if you sleep in a bad position you will wake up with a very stiff and painful neck. This can lead to worse situations such as neck injuries. So try to be more aware of your sleep positions and how you fall asleep.
If you find yourself in daily stress due to work or just lifestyle stress, try to take some time throughout the day to unwind a bit.
Here are some good ways to relax
- Listen to Music
- Sit in silence, close your eyes and just focus on your breathe
- Meditate, like the above option this is similar, just find a time to meditate and unwind
- Watch some videos or a movie
- Do something you enjoy
Doing all of these treatments will definitely help reduce pain or tension in your neck. After a week you should start to see your neck pain when looking down has been reduced and gotten better. If you find you are still experiencing neck pain when looking down, I highly recommend consulting with a doctor to find out what is going on and stop the neck pain when looking down.
Following these treatments as you go about your daily life will have much more benefits than just helping relieve your neck pain when looking down, so I highly suggest keeping them in practice throughout your daily life!