We are all guilty of treating our parents or grandparents’ complaints of neck pain as an idle statement. However, it’s high time we change our perspective; Neck pain is in fact a crucial symptom of chronic neck issues.
As their children (or grandchildren), it becomes our responsibility to respond promptly, for neck issues tend to be persistent and if left unaddressed, can develop into chronic conditions. Ignoring signs of prolonged discomfort may thus lead to long-term pain, arm numbness, neurological problems, structural issues, and a host of other complications.
In this blog, we'll offer practical guidance on easing their neck pain and offering solutions that can make a world of difference to their lives.
Common Causes of Neck and Shoulder Pain in Middle-Aged and Elderly People
Degradation of the Cervical Spine
The cervical spine, or the “neck’s architectural foundation”, works hand-in-hand with neck muscles to support various movements of the neck and head. Thus, neck muscles must work harder to compensate for a weaker cervical spine, leading to excessive pressure and pain in the neck.
Thinning of intervertebral discs, joint degradation, formation of bones pours increases the risk of cervical spine disorders. This could be due to the following causes:
- Age factor: Gradual degradation of bodily tissues and structures.
- Weight issues: Being overweight or obese increases burden on the neck muscles for the need to support a greater weight.
- Unhealthy lifestyle: Lack of exercise, poor diet and smoking can increase the risk of cervical spine disorders.
Posture & Muscle Strain
Middle-aged and elderly individuals may experience muscle strain, especially in the neck and shoulder muscles, due to repetitive movements, labor, prolonged standing, or inappropriate posture. This is especially so as more middle-aged individuals are spending most of their life working away on their desks, which translates to prolonged periods of looking down at smartphones or computer screens. Maintaining improper sitting positions can significantly increase the pressure on the neck.
Underlying Health Issues
Risk of cervical spine disorders and diseases could be exacerbated by health problems such as:
- Pre-existing medical conditions: Such as arthritis, osteoporosis, and diabetes.
- Past neck injuries: Such as those resulting from traffic accidents or falls.
- Genetic Factors: Family history of cervical spine diseases could develop conditions like cervical stiffness and neck pain.
It's often surprising how something as seemingly straightforward as psychological stress and anxiety can have a profound impact on our physical well-being. The complex interplay between the mind and body highlights the importance of mental health, which is especially crucial as we age.
How to Help Parents Prevent or Alleviate Neck Problems?
Seek a Healthcare Professional
It is not uncommon to hear of stubborn parents or grandparents who often dismiss or neglect their health concerns. Schedule regular check-ups for your parents or encourage them to seek medical advice early for a professional evaluation and treatment if they are already experiencing neck pain.
Regular Exercises & Breaks
As we move toward a more sedentary lifestyle, exercising or simply moving about every now and then is important. Encourage your parents to engage in simply stretching exercise and neck massages for the neck and shoulders. Remind them to regularly stand and move around at regular time intervals as they work, to avoid looking at screens for prolonged periods of them. This can strengthen neck muscles and provide some neck pain relief. Just like how they nag at us when we were younger, it’s time we did the same (for their own good, of course).
The Right Pillow
An easily overlooked yet simple neck pain relief solution – Pillows. Pillows are the key to proper neck alignment and neck pressure relief, as it ensures that the neck is correctly aligned with the spine, yet many take it for granted.
Then, what exactly is the correct pillow for neck and shoulder pain?
Ultimately, the best pillow depends on factors like your sleeping position, existing health conditions and personal comfort preferences. However, memory foam pillows and cervical pillows are perhaps the most fool-proof options if one is looking for maximum support.
- Memory foam pillow: Known for their ability to contour the shape of the head and neck, they provide excellent support and alignment and offer neck pain and pressure relief.
- Cervical pillow: Specially designed to support the natural curve of the neck, its contoured shape is a good choice for individuals seeking extra neck support.
Then, what if we told you there is a neck support pillow that combines the benefits of all three?
A favorite among neck pain sleepers, we recommend ZAMAT Bluedott™ Ultra Button Pillow
- Unique ergonomic and blue button design: Helps sleepers relax their cervical spine, alleviate neck pain, and restore the natural curvature of the neck during sleep.
- Armrest design: Makes it the latest choice for side sleepers and stomach sleepers. Sleepers can place their arms in the arm zone to experience a unique level of comfort that traditional pillows cannot provide.
- ZAMAT's latest generation memory foam formula: Tested to perfectly rebound even after 2 years of vacuum compression. This memory foam pillowbalances softness and support perfectly, allowing sleepers to immerse themselves in cloud-like sleep while providing ideal support to maintain neck health.
A neck traction device is a medical device used to provide relief from neck pain, muscle tension, and certain neck-related conditions. It works by gently stretching and decompressing the cervical spine (the neck area) to relieve pressure on the neck and promote proper alignment of the vertebrae.
Once you’ve consulted a healthcare professional, here’s our recommendation for you:
An even more effective neck pain killer, ZAMATHOME’s latest development NekGenic™ Pro is a a graphene-heated cervical traction device. It can provide gentle and effective neck thermal therapy. When your parents use it, they will feel a warm stream gently flowing into the cervical spine, gradually relieving soreness and stiffness. Only 10-20 minutes of daily use can bring noticeable changes after one session.
These neck pain essentials can be excellent gifts for parents dealing with neck issues. They can provide timely assistance in critical moments, but patients should not overly rely on auxiliary products. Here we’ve also outlined some advice for enhancing lifestyle habits.
Suggestions for Improving Lifestyle Habits
Holistic health cannot be emphasized further, especially for middle-aged to elderly adults. Here are some recommendations to improve lifestyle habits – share these with your parents!
- Healthy Eating Habits: Diet has a significant impact on neck health. A balanced diet, adequate amount of calcium and vitamin D, and reduction of high-sodium, high-sugar and high-fat foods can help control weight and reduce bodily inflammation. Proper hydration is also essential for maintaining the health of bones and soft tissues.
- Quit Smoking and Limit Alcohol: Tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption increase the risk of neck problems. Guide your parents to quit smoking or limit alcohol intake to help them maintain overall health.
- Sufficient Sleep: Sleep is crucial for recovering neck and overall health. Ensure your parents get enough sleep each night to promote tissue repair and muscle rest.
- Exercise: Encourage them to engage in regular moderate exercise such as walking, swimming, or yoga. These activities help strengthen muscles, improve flexibility, and reduce the risk of neck problems.
- Positive Mindset: Encourage your parents, spend time with them, help them maintain a positive mindset and cope with life's stressors. Long-term mental health is crucial for preventing neck problems.
- Regular Check-Ups and Screening: Recommend regular comprehensive health check-ups to detect and address potential health issues, including neck problems, at an early stage.
As children, it's our responsibility to help our parents raise awareness about neck health. The suggestions and measures outlined above can assist them in preventing and alleviating neck pain, allowing them to fully enjoy life and improve their quality of life. It’s time to enable them to enjoy a more active and pain-free lifestyle as they continue in their graceful march of time. If you are also looking for a gift for parents to help alleviate their neck and shoulder pain, supportive pillows and neck traction products are definitely part of the solution to help them today!