Do you suffer from neck pain?
When there is pain in this area it can be excruciating. It can also have an impact on the way your body functions.
Neck pain can be caused by a variety of activities. It is even worse when you have a degenerated disc as it can be a long road to recovery. Read on to learn ways to get neck pain relief.
How to find neck pain relief
Neck pain isn't just uncomfortable but it can cause headaches and migraines. Neck pain can make it difficult to use a computer, sleep and even drive a car.
If you are looking for neck pain relief, here are 9 things you should try:
1. Use a heat pack
Please note, if you have recently had a neck injury you should always start with a cold pack. This will help to ease any swelling and inflammation.
However, after a few days or for more chronic neck pain a heat pack is going to be your new best friend.
Heat can relax tense muscles and provide some neck pain relief. The higher temperature draws oxygen to the muscles allowing for quicker healing time.
In addition, the heat tells those sensory receptors to calm down, and this message is sent to the brain. This is a natural way to take the sting out!
There are different heat pack options available depending on your personal preference.
You can try a traditional wheat bag or a fancier electric version.
Just be careful not to overheat them as you don't want to accidentally burn yourself.
2. Soak your neck in warm water
We have already explained how heat packs work, and a warm shower will have a similar result.
You can run the water over your neck while gently stretching the muscles. If it isn't too painful, you can slowly turn your head from side to side.
If you have a bath a soak can be beneficial, and it will help your whole body relax. Add 2 cups of Epsom salts to ease aching muscles.
Aim for 20 minutes in the bath, play some calming music and light a candle for added stress relief.
If you are a member of a pool or gym, you may even find they have a spa you can soak in.
3. Treat yourself to a massage
Sometimes, you really just need a massage. This is is particularly useful if you have pulled a muscle.
If you can't visit a professional you can use your fingers to do it yourself. Be firm as you work your fingers into the sore area.
If you commonly experience pain in your muscles, regular massages will bring neck pain relief.
Massage isn't just used as a relaxation technique. It can be used as part of how you maintain your body on an ongoing basis.
Massage can be a cure, but it can also work as a preventative measure.
Sometimes a neck and shoulder massage is all that is required, or you can target other areas at the same time.
The key is keeping those muscles loose so they are less likely to be injured in the first place.
You can even buy a massage chair to be used in your own home. This will allow you to have massages as often as you like!
4. Take a look at how you are sleeping
We spend a large portion of our life in bed, so it I should important to consider how you are sleeping.
The wrong pillows, sleeping position or mattress could be making your neck pain worse.
Try to avoid pillows which are too hard and be conscious of how you are laying. Your spine should be in a straight position so be careful not to have your pillows stacked too high.
You can still sleep on your side but stick to one pillow instead of multiple.
There are pillows designed specifically for neck pain relief, and it is something worth investing in.
A good nights sleep in the right position can make a huge difference!
5. Keep up the exercise
Did you know, you can support your neck by strengthening the muscles which surround it?
A physiotherapist can teach you appropriate exercises depending on your level of pain and the area affected.
Both yoga and pilates can elongate and strengthen every muscle in your body. This can alleviate pain in not only the neck but other problematic zones.
If you are looking for neck pain relief, keeping your body active and strong will help.
Try to avoid exercises with excessive jumping and stick to low impact ones instead.
Make sure you have appropriate, comfortable footwear to lessen the impact on your spine.
Low impact exercise ideas:
- Pilates and Yoga
- Strength Training
- Elliptical Machines
- Water Aerobics
If you opt for cycling, please be mindful of your posture. Many cyclists lean forward and this can put an impact on the neck and shoulder area.
6. Stretch it out
In addition to regular exercise, doing your daily stretches can help bring you neck pain relief.
Before starting, use your heat pack to loosen the area and gently stretch your neck.
Stretch at least once per day, more often if you can. It is a good habit to get into.
For a full body spine stretch which works its way from your lower back up to your neck, try the camel cat:
- Place an exercise mat on the floor
- Position yourself on all fours, hands, and knees on the ground
- Stretch your back upwards in a curve like a camel
- Hold this position for a few seconds
- Slowly stretch your back downwards with your like a cat
- Hold this position for a few seconds
Compliment this with reflexology, focusing on any pressure points. This can be performed by an expert or done simply at home.
7. Check if your habits are making it worse
Have you thought about how you sit at work?
Are you slouching forward?
One solution for this is to use a stand-up desk. A stand-up desk puts less pressure on your spine and forces your neck into a healthier position.
Alternatively, you can try an ergonomic chair and make yourself conscious of the way you are sitting.
Also, consider where your computer screen is positioned. Are you looking up, or down?
Your eyes should be level with your monitor so you aren't awkwardly stretching your neck.
Have breaks and get your body moving to avoid being stuck in one position for too long.
One way to motivate yourself to get off the chair is by purchasing a FitBit. This will remind you to walk, and you will become aware of your activity throughout the day.
Do you drive a lot?
If you spend significant time in the car, you may be leaning forward without realizing.
Check your car seat is at the right height and distance from the steering wheel. Take a moment to see how your body is positioned.
Again, make sure you stretch regularly and have breaks if driving long distances.
One tip is to place a small water bottle in the curve of your lower back when sitting, this will force your body into a more stable posture.
It will be uncomfortable at first but breaking old habits is going to take time!
Do you use your mobile phone regularly throughout the day?
Mobile phones have made it easier to communicate but they have caused an epidemic called "text neck".
If you need neck pain relief, try to reduce time spent on your devices.
When you are on your phone or tablet, be aware of how your neck is positioned.
This not only includes when you are standing but at the end of the day in bed too!
8. Do you have good posture?
As we age, our posture tends to suffer. This starts with how you are standing. Is your back straight?
When you sit are you curving forward?
People who wear high heels also put significant pressure on their spines, and this has an indirect effect on the neck.
If you do like the added height, try to mix it up with sneakers on the weekend so your spine gets a break.
Have you ever considered how you are carrying those grocery bags? Or, your laptop bag? These can get heavy, fast!
If you are always carrying items on one side, you could be making your body lopsided. It is not hard to understand the pressure this could be putting on your neck.
For neck pain relief, carry two bags instead of one, and take smaller loads.
If you can, replace the over the shoulder bag for a more supportive backpack.
9. Understand excess weight can be a factor
Extra weight can put added pressure on your neck and spine. It can make it harder to keep good posture and keep everything in alignment.
While losing weight isn't the only solution, it can be part of a complete lifestyle change. The healthier you are, the better your body will function.
Have you tried any of these methods for neck pain relief? Or perhaps you have found something else which works?
We would love to hear your thoughts, please leave a comment below.