Time for Neck Pain Relief
Neck pain is a common complaint for many people. Neck muscles can be strained from poor posture — whether it's leaning over your computer or hunching over your workbench.
Do you suffer?
Signs and symptoms include:
- Pain that's often worsened by holding your head in one place for long periods, such as when driving or working at a computer
- Muscle tightness and spasms
- Decreased ability to move your head
What could be causing it?
- Muscle strains. Overuse, such as too many hours hunched over your computer or smartphone, often triggers muscle strains. Even minor things, such as reading in bed or gritting your teeth, can strain neck muscles.
- Worn joints. Just like the other joints in your body, your neck joints tend to wear down with age. Osteoarthritis causes the cushions (cartilage) between your bones (vertebrae) to deteriorate. Your body then forms bone spurs that affect joint motion and cause pain.
- Nerve compression. Herniated disks or bone spurs in the vertebrae of your neck can press on the nerves branching out from the spinal cord.
- Injuries. Rear-end auto collisions often result in whiplash injury, which occurs when the head is jerked backward and then forward, straining the soft tissues of the neck.
- Diseases. Certain diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis or cancer, can cause neck pain.
Rarely, neck pain can be a symptom of a more serious problem. Seek medical care if your neck pain is accompanied by numbness or loss of strength in your arms or hands or if you have shooting pain into your shoulder or down your arm.
Depending on the results, your doctor may refer you to a specialist. Treatment for neck pain may include:
- Neck Traction Device -Alleviates Pinched Nerves, Compressed Or Bulged Discs, Back & Spinal Decompression
- ice and heat
- exercise, stretching, and physical therapy
- pain medication
- antibiotics if you have an infection
- surgery, which is rarely necessary
If you have minor neck pain or stiffness, take these simple steps to relieve it:
- Apply ice for the first few days. After that, apply heat with a heating pad, hot compress, or by taking a hot shower.
- Take over the counter pain relievers
- Take a few days off from sports, activities that aggravate your symptoms, and heavy lifting. When you resume normal activity, do so slowly as your symptoms ease.
- Exercise your neck every day. Slowly stretch your head in side-to-side and up-and-down motions.
- Use good posture.
- Avoid cradling the phone between your neck and shoulder.
- Change your position often. Don’t stand or sit in one position for too long.
- Get a gentle neck massage.
There are also alternative types of treatments for you to explore.
- Acupuncture. Acupuncture involves the insertion of thin needles into various points on your body. Studies have found that acupuncture may be helpful for many types of pain. But studies in neck pain have been mixed. For best results, you may need to undergo several acupuncture sessions. Acupuncture is generally considered safe when performed by a certified practitioner using sterile needles.
- Chiropractic. Performed mainly on the spine, a chiropractic adjustment applies a controlled, abrupt force to a joint. Chiropractic treatments to the neck can provide short-term pain relief, and, for many people, carry minimal risks.
- Massage. During a massage, a trained practitioner manipulates the muscles in your neck with his or her hands. Little scientific evidence exists to support massage in people with neck pain, though it may provide relief when combined with your doctor's recommended treatments.
Many people experience neck pain because of poor posture and muscle strain. In these cases, your neck pain should go away if you practice good posture and rest your neck muscles when they’re sore.
Make an appointment with your doctor if your neck pain isn’t improving with home treatments.
Some days it may feel like you'll never recover for neck pain, but there is hope. You can get better and return to doing all the things you love in life once again. Please let us know what treatments or techniques have worked for you in our comments below.