How to Get Relief From Neck Pain
What is Neck Pain?
Many people occasionally feel neck pain or stiffness due to poor posture or sleeping in an awkward position. Neck pain may also occur due to injury, accident, or whiplash.
Neck pain isn’t very serious; you will get neck pain relief within a few days. But sometimes, neck pain is serious and needs a doctor’s care.
You should seek medical attention if your neck pain persists longer than a week and is accompanied by other symptoms.
Our neck is made of vertebrae that stretch from the skull to the upper torso. The cervical discs are designed to bear the shock between the bones.
The bones, muscles, and ligaments of your neck support your head to move. Any injury or inflammation can cause neck pain or stiffness.
Neck pain can be severe or light, lasting for 1 to 3 days or weeks. Chronic neck pain is very disturbing and painful that disturbs your daily activities. It leads to pain while moving, stiffness, headache, etc.
Treatment and Remedies to Get Relief from Neck Pain
For neck pain treatment, you should consult with a doctor. A doctor must do a physical evaluation to identify the cause of neck pain. Doctors use X-rays, MRI, and ultrasound imaging to diagnose neck pain.
Always seek medical advice before trying home remedies to relieve neck pain. You can rule out injuries and infections and get them diagnosed by the doctor.
- Apply heat or ice
The application of ice reduces swelling and inflammation by lowering the blood flow in that area. On the other hand, heat stimulates blood flow. Both ice and heat work wonders for a reduction in neck pain. It soothes a torn or strained muscle and heals it quickly. By alternative application of heat, you get relieved from neck pain and move freely.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) has recommended using ice for at least 20 minutes for soft tissue injuries a few times a day. You should avoid ice touching the skin directly; you can use a cold compress, ice gel, etc., for application. You can also take a warm bath or use a heating pad for quick relief.
- Take over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers.
OTC pain relievers can be bought from a medical shop without a prescription. It reduces general pain and inflammation in the body. OTC pain relievers include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and some common NSAIDs include ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and naproxen sodium (Aleve).
One more pain reliever, acetaminophen (Tylenol), works well for neck pain but doesn’t have anti-inflammatory properties.
You should always take pain relievers as directed by the doctor or the instructions given on the bottle. NSAIDs and other pain relievers have side effects such as upset stomach, diarrhea, and nausea.
- Go for acupuncture
In Acupuncture, needles are inserted into specific pressure points of your body for pain and stress relief. Acupuncture is one of the oldest forms of Chinese medicinal procedures practiced for thousands of years.
It triggers our natural pain relievers and creates a placebo effect. It is a safe, holistic and popular process practiced worldwide. You should hire a certified practitioner who uses fully sterilized needles for the process.
- Use a neck-supporting chair.
A good posture keeps your head naturally balanced on the cervical spine. If you maintain a good posture, it reduces pain in your neck. A headrest in your office chair keeps your cervical spine in a neutral position. More stress is placed on your spine when you bend forward with a forward head posture.
Using a headrest, you can keep the back of your head comfortably with your ears above your shoulders. You can carry the headrest in your car or wherever you can. If you are using a computer, ensure your eyes level is even with the monitor. Always consider a standing desk to keep your spine in a natural position and avoid hunching forward.
- Use a water pillow
Chronic neck pain disturbs your sleep. It worsens when you wake up in the morning. For a good night’s sleep, you should use a water pillow. The water pillow has proven helpful as it adjusts firmness by increasing or decreasing the amount of water inside. More water in the pillow gives a form pillow, and less water in the pillow gives a soft pillow.
- Try swimming regularly
Exercising in water is a better alternative than land-based exercises. Swimming is a very low-impact exercise that helps you eliminate chronic neck pain. As the water adds buoyancy, it puts less stress on the spine.
You can consult a doctor or physiotherapist to try some specific swim strokes for quick relief. If swimming is too strenuous for your neck, you can try water therapy or gentle exercises in a warm swimming pool.
- Keep a watch when you use a tablet or phone.
You may not have realized that one of the most common reasons for neck pain is how you use your phone or tablet. Generally, people support their phones using their necks while walking, which puts extra stress on your cervical spine.
Many people bend their heads forward while looking down to read on tablets or phones for many hours a day. All such actions lead to severe neck pain. When you use your phone, follow these tips to avoid neck pain-
- Use hands-free for calls
- When you are browsing, hold the phone higher to reduce the angle
- Take frequent breaks so that you can stretch your neck.
- Gentle Massage
A gentle massage by your partner on the painful areas can help you with neck pain. You can try a variety of techniques to get quick relief. You can consult a massage therapist if you suffer from chronic neck pain.
All the massage movements should be directed towards your heart to improve blood flow. Too much pressure in the wrong direction can damage a valve.
- Try stretching for a stiff neck.
Proper stretching is a useful way to get rid of a stiff neck. You can try a slow range of motion exercises, up and down, side to side, and from ear to ear, to gently stretch the neck muscles. You can also practice yoga to get relief from stiffness and neck pain.
You can try some specific stretches at your desk or in a car to avoid stiffness in your neck.
- Roll your shoulders backward and down 10 times
- Squeeze your shoulder blades simultaneously 10 times
- Push your head backward on the car headrest and hold it for 30 seconds.
- Bring your ear into the shoulder 10 times on each side.
- Keep a watch on your sleep positions.
You must introspect how you sleep when you are disturbed due to neck stiffness or pain. Your sleep positions matter a lot and have an impact on your body. Many doctors recommend that you should avoid sleeping on your stomach.
You should always sleep only on one side or on your back. When you sleep on your stomach, it twists your head one way for hours which may lead to neck pain. Sleeping on the stomach also adversely affects your lower back. This happens when your belly sinks into the bed as you do not get enough support.
- Practice proper posture
You should start practicing proper posture if you are experiencing regular neck pain. While using your computer, you may monitor eye levels, sit up straight, and avoid tilting and twisting your head down or to the side. You should also set the alarm to take frequent breaks from the screen.
You should make healthy lifestyle changes and use ergonomic workplace tools to avoid neck pain. You can also eliminate bad habits such as poor body posture and sleeping postures.
Regular exercising is also very helpful for maintaining a healthy body and posture.
It strengthens your muscles and reduces the chances of strain or injury. Avoid smoking for a healthy lifestyle. Smoking is risky for back and neck pain.
Due to prolonged nicotine dependence, you may suffer from chronic neck pain. To quit smoking, you can consult doctors, therapists, etc., for a plan.
Stress in our lives is the biggest contributor to poor health conditions. Higher stress levels can tense ligaments and muscles in your neck, back and shoulders.
Try to reduce your stress levels which can prevent neck pain and stiffness.
You can follow these tips to lower stress levels, such as listening to music, practicing yoga and meditation, taking a break and going for a long vacation, and looking for a hobby and practicing it.
By practicing these tips, you can improve your work-life balance and eliminate stress in your life.
Overall, you feel happy and calm. To avoid workaholic conditions, you should practice saying no to demands. By avoiding stress, you can feel happy in your personal and professional lives.