Insight Comprehensive Therapy – Chronic neck pain is the fourth leading cause of disability in the United States, impacting everything from daily activities and work to sleep and spending quality time with family and friends. If you experience chronic neck pain, you understand firsthand the multifaceted impact it has on your physical, emotional, and social well-being.  While there is no single cure for chronic neck pain and it should be addressed by a healthcare professional as soon as possible to avoid further complications, it is likely you are engaging in some bad habits that are contributing to your discomfort. To empower you to take control of your pain, the team at Insight Comprehensive Therapy has shared eight common habits to avoid if you are experiencing chronic neck pain.

Poor Posture

We are all guilty of slouching or hunching over from time to time, but engaging in consistent poor posture while sitting, standing, and even sleeping can have a profound impact on neck pain. Whether you are sitting at your desk or looking down at your smartphone, start taking your posture into consideration and think about ways to avoid straining your neck and upper back. For tips on improving posture, check out this guide from The National Institutes of Health.

Too Much Desk Time

If you spend much of your day in front of a computer or on your phone, there is a good chance this is contributing to your neck pain. Fortunately, there are a number of steps you can take to improve your working environment, including adjusting your chair to a comfortable position so your computer monitor is at eye level and you maintain proper posture. It’s also a good idea to stand up and stretch at least once an hour to prevent stiffness and reduce neck pain.

Carrying Heavy Bags or Purses

A recent study found that the average purse weighs 6.7 pounds, which can lead to everything from muscle strain and poor posture to compression of nerves and increased stress on joints. To reduce the risk of neck pain from heavy bags or purses, use bags, such as backpacks, that distribute weight evenly. You should also only carry essential items in your bag to limit excessive weight, practice good posture while carrying bags, and take regular breaks to reduce neck strain.

Improper Sleep Position

We spend about one-third of our life in bed, so sleeping in a position that causes your spine to be misaligned and does not support the natural curve of your neck will likely lead to neck pain over time. To prevent neck pain while sleeping, try sleeping on your back or side and avoid sleeping in positions that twist or strain your neck. You should also invest in a quality mattress and pillows that provide adequate support for your head and neck.

Repetitive Neck Movement

If you engage in repetitive neck movements, whether it’s in athletics, your profession, or even frequently looking down at a screen, this can lead to muscle strain and wear and tear over time. To prevent chronic neck pain from repetitive movements, two of the best things you can do is maintain good posture as much as possible and take regular breaks to stretch your neck and shoulders.

Stress & Tension

It’s not always an action that leads to neck pain. Something as simple as frequent stress and tension can cause muscle tension, reduce blood flow, and increase sensitivity to chronic pain. One of the most effective ways to address chronic neck pain related to stress is practicing stress-reduction techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga. Engaging in regular physical activity can also reduce stress and help improve your posture. It might also be worthwhile seeking support from a mental health professional if you think stress and tension is leading to your neck pain.

Ignoring Symptoms

For people experiencing recurring neck pain, it may seem like there is no point in seeking help from a healthcare professional. But ignoring symptoms often leads to further issues and increased pain. Neck pain is usually a symptom of an underlying condition, which cannot be treated without a proper diagnosis. Ignoring symptoms, especially early on, can also result in missed opportunities for early intervention and treatment. If neck pain is affecting your quality of life, don’t delay treatment and schedule an appointment with a healthcare professional!

Chronic neck pain can take a toll on your quality of life in many ways. But by avoiding unhealthy habits, adopting healthier behaviors, and seeking professional guidance when needed, it is possible to get your symptoms under control. If you are struggling with chronic neck pain, you may benefit from physical therapy. To learn more about our services at Insight Comprehensive Therapy and to schedule an appointment, contact us today.


Q: What causes neck pain?

A: Neck pain can be caused by a wide variety of factors. Some of the most common causes of chronic neck pain include poor posture, muscle strain, osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, injury, and certain underlying health conditions.

Q: When should I see a doctor for neck pain?

A: If your neck pain persists for more than a few weeks, worsens over time, or is severe, you should see a doctor. If you experience numbness and tingling or if your neck pain is the result of an accident or injury, you should seek immediate medical attention.

Q: How can a physical therapist help with neck pain?

A: A physical therapist will thoroughly assess your condition and develop a treatment plan tailored to your individual needs. This plan may include a combination of manual therapy techniques, exercises, and education.