Neck pain has become increasingly common in recent years.

One of the main issues is text-messaging, as revealed by research that showed how the angle with which a person looks at a cell phone can increase cervical spine force by as much as 500% (increasing it from 10 to 60 pounds). Holding stress within the upper body can make us more vulnerable to chronic pain as well.

Because of cell phone use, high stress, and other factors, millions of Americans self-report neck pain, with one analysis showing that women are more susceptible:

• Women – 16%

• Men – 10%.

Here are three proactive health tips to reduce both the severity and frequency of flareups. You will need two pieces of equipment: a yoga block and a tennis ball.

DIY neck massaging

Kneading your trapezius, the muscle that joins your back to your neck, will make it easier for you to swivel your head without feeling a jolt of discomfort.

Put the block in your right hand and the ball in your left hand. Position yourself about 12 inches from a wall. Bring your left leg back and straighten it. Bend the other leg.

“Hold the yoga block against the wall in front of your right shoulder,” explains Amy Rushlow of Yahoo Health, “and pin the ball between the block and the crook of your neck (where your neck, upper back, and shoulder meet).”

Proceed conscientiously. Wherever you feel a tight bundle of tissue, push the ball into it and wait for the muscles to loosen.

DIY upper back massaging

You may think that your back is off-topic, but tension nearby typically contributes to neck issues. After all, the trapezius is a huge muscle, extending from your shoulder to your skull to halfway down your back. Neck fixes, then, should also address the back.

Stand against a wall, facing the room. Place the ball against the wall, pushing back into it with the area between the uppermost part of your shoulder blade and your backbone. Move your arm in a circle to optimize the ball’s access to that portion of the muscle.

DIY chest and neck stretching

A study conducted in Europe and published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation determined that people with neck pain typically have postures in which the top of the spine is positioned in front of the rest of the body.

One of the best fixes for this alignment issue is to interlock your fingers behind you, drawing your shoulders back as you feel a stretch throughout your chest. Tilt your head as far upward as you comfortably can. Maintain the position for about 30 seconds.

Beyond DIY

We all want to try to solve issues ourselves so that we aren’t wasting time and money running off to the doctor. However, neck pain should not be taken lightly.

At Health Star Clinic, our treatments can help you get relief from muscle strains, whiplash, and compressed or herniated discs. Learn more now.