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Risk Factors for Chronic Neck Pain

Are you experiencing chronic pain in your neck? Are you frustrated about the pain not going away even though you have tried stretching or changing your posture?

While poor posture might have a weak association with neck pain, research has found that neck pain is associated with smoking, high alcohol consumption, low fruit and vegetable intake, low physical activity, mild or severe sleep disturbances, high stress, or low control job. When you are in this state, your body handles load more poorly and resulting in less tolerance to poor posture such as a forward head posture. Although changing posture may temporarily improve neck pain, your lifestyle is a risk factor for chronic neck pain.

To relieve the pain that is not going away by stretching or changing posture, we should examine the lifestyle factors that can be managed better to increase our body capacity and tolerance to handle the load.

Here are the things you can do to improve your neck pain and function:

- Activity modification - Changing posture and finding a position that is comfortable for you. This can give you temporary pain relief

- Neck strengthening exercises – to build your capacity to handle the load, stay tuned for next week’s post!

- Increase physical activity – walking

- Modify risk factors – set a sleeping schedule, find ways to relieve stress, improve your working environment, quit smoking, reduce alcohol consumption


1. Rasmussen-Barr E, Grooten WJA, Hallqvist J, Holm LW, Skillgate E. Are job strain and sleep disturbances prognostic factors for neck/shoulder/arm pain? A cohort study of a general population of working age in Sweden. BMJ Open [Internet]. 2014 Jul 8 [cited 2022 May 13];4(7):e005103–3. Available from:

2. Bohman T, Holm LW, Hallqvist J, Pico-Espinosa OJ, Skillgate E. Healthy lifestyle behaviour and risk of long-duration troublesome neck pain among men and women with occasional neck pain: results from the Stockholm public health cohort. BMJ Open [Internet]. 2019 Nov [cited 2022 May 13];9(11):e031078. Available from:

3. Correia IMT, Ferreira A de S, Fernandez J, Reis FJJ, Nogueira LAC, Meziat-Filho N. Association Between Text Neck and Neck Pain in Adults. Spine [Internet]. 2020 Dec 7 [cited 2022 May 13];46(9):571–8. Available from:

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