The Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD), which integrates data from 1800 scientists in more than 120 nations, is a research analysis that looks at diseases, injuries, and risk factors both regionally and worldwide. According to the GBD 2010 Study, about 1 in every 20 people around the world suffer from neck pain, 4.9%. However, that number does not reveal the devastating impact this condition has on quality of life like the disability adjusted life year (DALY) figure does. The DALY computes the toll of a disease in terms of number of years of death, disability, or poor health resulting from it. At 33.6 million, neck pain ranked 4th out of the 291 conditions assessed for the GBD.

Since neck pain is so devastating to so many people, it is important to know how to prevent it – and how to stop it from getting worse if you are already experiencing it. It all starts with watching your own behavior. What habits might be causing your neck pain? Let’s look at 5 day-to-day activities that might be exacerbating this issue:

1.) Maintaining a high level of stress

Numerous research teams have found that chronic pain can result from factors beyond physical injury – emotional problems and stress. “Every year around tax time the number of patients with neck pain increases, especially among Wall Street types,” said Tobert Gotlin, DO, of New York City’s Beth Israel Medical Center.

2.) Sleeping with a low-quality pillow

Sleep can make your neck vulnerable. Make sure you have strong support, with a pillow that maintains the curve of your spine so that your alignment is neutral (meaning you are not straining your muskuloskeletal system).

3.) Smoking cigarettes

Smoking increases the development of degenerative disc disease (DDD). The ingredients within a cigarette cause atherosclerosis and are detrimental to circulation — both of which result in greater difficulty getting nutrients to the discs and bones of your neck.

4.) Failing to get enough water

Hydration is key to keeping the discs operating properly. These spongy components located between your neck vertebrae are composed primarily of water, so their strength is enhanced by regular replenishment. Try to get eight large glasses of water daily

5.) Assuming positions that cause strain

Be conscientious of how often you are looking down. This position is reliant on effort from the neck’s sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscles; other muscles that are sometimes involved include the rhomboids, middle or upper trapezius, and levator scapulae (within the shoulders and shoulder blades). Your computer screen should be at eye level. Texting should be limited and performed with your phone raised to eye level as possible.


Are you suffering from neck pain? Incorporating the above advice into your daily approach should help improve your comfort. However, recovery is about more than changing your habits. At Advanced Wellness & Rehab, we provide solutions for resolving painful health issues in a personalized and caring manner. Meet our team.