Just as with headaches, many people find that the colder weather of winter has an effect on their chronic neck pain. Here are some easy ways to prevent or help alleviate neck pain during winter.

Avoid sitting for too long. Whether it’s in front of the TV or sitting at your desk, hunched shoulders and eye strain can lead to an increase in neck pain and stiffness. Make sure to sit up straight and take a break every half hour to help reduce the strain on your neck.

Monitor your sleeping habits. Just as poor sleep habits can lead to migraines, it can also cause an increase in neck pain. Never sleep on your stomach with your head twisted to one side. Instead, sleep on your back which allows for the proper alignment of your head and spine.

Drink plenty of water. While you may be tempted to reach for hot cocoa or coffee during the winter, it is still important to drink plenty of water. You are at risk of dehydration at all times of the year, even winter. Since spinal disks are comprised mainly of water, it is important to regularly keep hydrated throughout the day to keep your whole spine healthy and reduce the risk of injury to your neck.

Avoid the winter blues. During the gloomy winter months, many people may feel depressed. This seasonal depression can lead to an increase in neck pain from stress and anxiety. Staying active is an important way to keep your mind occupied, while also keeping your body moving. Regular exercise is a crucial part of preventing any kind of chronic pain.

Stretch your neck. One of the best ways to manage neck pain during the winter is to stretch the neck muscles everyday. Neck stretches are simple and many can even be done while sitting. Regular stretching will help alleviate pain and reduce strain on the rest of your spine.

Keep good posture. One of the most common causes of neck pain is improper posture. Always stand straight with relaxed shoulders. If you are carrying heavy bags or groceries, balance the weight evenly so your neck and shoulders are not pressured on one side. Also, don’t hold a phone between your head and shoulder. If you plan on being on the phone for a long period of time, consider using a headset instead.

Neck pain and headaches are often worse during the cold, winter months. Use these wellness tips to help prevent and manage your chronic pain, so that you can enjoy the beautiful and snowy winter season.

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/tc/neck-pain-prevention

http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/27/health/upwave-dehydration/

http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/stretches-to-ease-neck-fatigue