Image credit: www.istockphoto.com/portfolio/PeopleImagesMost of the world, if not everybody, will have or will at some point experience that niggling pain in the neck. It is a part of the body that you rarely think about until you are having problems with it. You likely use it quite a bit in your day-to-day life without even realizing it.
Neck pain usually comes from muscles and tendons around the cervical spine becoming strained or experiencing spasms. Whilst you can just grit your teeth and wait for your neck to heal itself, there are certain things you can do to encourage recovery.
Massages can help to circulate the blood and work out knots in your muscles. This can mean that anything building pressure in your tendons or preventing the muscle from working in the way it should, can be pushed out. Usually, with neck pain, there are trigger points in the area. These are small knots that can lead to excessive pain. Massaging these can lessen it.
Fortunately, modern technology has produced a fantastic range of neck massagers that means you can treat your pain from the comfort of your own home. You no longer have to take time out of your day to go see a masseuse and can multi-task whilst working out your neck pain.
One of the most common causes of neck pain is through lack of comfort or support to your neck while you sleep. This is because you are less likely to rectify the position you are laying in that is causing your neck discomfort while you are asleep,
Buying a new pillow that keeps the natural curve of your neck supported and maintained while you sleep can truly increase your recovery of neck pain. The neck will be under less stress. Finding a pillow that can do this for you means that not only might your neck pain stop but you may find going to sleep much easier.
Mobile phones have become an integral part of everybody’s lifestyle. There are few people in the world without one. This has increased the amount of neck strain that the population experiences though. Neck strain through texting has become rife around the world. This is because you now look down at your mobile phone more than at any other time in history.
Taking breaks from texting or working on your phone can be helpful or this as well as buying a headset. Raising your phone to eye level may look a little weird but it can minimize the amount of neck strain you experience. A headset linked to your device can even read messages and correspondence to you, so you don’t even need to actually look at the message.
Acupuncture is a practice where very fine needles are inserted painlessly into several sites on your body. Interestingly they are not always in the area that is affected. Acupuncture can relieve pain in the short term by interfering with the signals in your brain and by causing the release of endorphins. These are natural pain killers that can reduce the amount of hurt that you feel.
Whilst this is an ancient technique from the East and has been marginalized in the West by mainstream medicine, acupuncture has been shown scientifically to help with neck pain more effectively than medicine. This may be a placebo effect but if it works then it can’t harm you to give it a go.
If your neck is becoming a constant pain in your life, then you should look at changing the position that you sleep in. Sleeping on your side or back can give the neck more stability and will make it less likely to cause pain if it is stuck in that position overnight.
Sleeping on your front can often leave the neck and head twisted in one way for hours at a time Additionally, sleeping on your belly can impact your lower back as well.
Ice and Heat
For some people ice applied to the affected area can help relieve the pain. It can reduce swelling and stop muscle tightness. Though you should never apply the ice directly to the skin. It should be layered with a thin cloth and left to sit for 15 to 20 minutes in order to penetrate the tissue. Be careful not to overdo it as skin damage can be a result of ice treatment.
Higher heat can also help ease the pain and tension in your neck. If you apply moist heat for 10 to 15 minutes for example being in a shower or bath or using a moist warm towel. This can help keep the blood flowing through this area and hopefully relieve any knots that are forming.
Stretching exercises are a great way to combat neck pain. They can restore your range of motion and strengthen the muscles. You should practice stretching exercises after a minor warm-up. These exercises are great to be done either just as you get up or just before bed. If you are new to exercise or these particular ones then you can expect a dull ache in the muscles.
Some effective exercises include neck rotation or neck tilting. Both of these are slow and deliberate moves of the neck that can help to stretch them out and prevent you from straining them with a sharp sudden move. Shoulder rolls are equally as good. You should keep a rhythmic action that produces a rowing motion. It should hopefully ease the pain and correct any neck alignment posture issues you may have developed.
Neck pain is normally a minor inconvenience but that does not mean that you should just bear the pain without trying to resolve the problem. Making minor adjustments to your life can make sure that you are not burdened with the pain for a long time and can mean that you enjoy a happier and pain-free lifestyle.