neck pain

Illustration: Libby Vanderploeg

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The Best Thing to Do for Neck Pain

Neck pain is often due to muscle strain, and it's seen among people who spend long hours hunched over a computer or a phone. Sound familiar? Try these remedies:

Look up! Physical therapists are treating more and more patients complaining of "text neck," and for good reason: When you keep your neck and upper back in an awkward position for a prolonged period to text, you can cause muscle strain and spasms, says Mary Ann Wilmarth, a physical therapist in Boston.

Put a pin in it. People who underwent an average of ten 50-minute acupuncture sessions, along with traditional treatments such as physical therapy and pain meds, reported almost one-third less neck pain after a year, according to a 2015 study in the Annals of Internal Medicine. (Those who stuck to PT and meds alone experienced a 23 percent reduction in discomfort.)

Get your vision checked. Many women and men eventually develop presbyopia (blurred near vision), usually in their mid-40s; untreated, it can cause neck pain because you're straining to see. If you find you're holding books or newspapers at arm's length, visit your eye doctor. Once you get reading glasses, the problem should go away quickly.

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