Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Does Heat Help Neck Pain

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The Competition: Common Pain Meds

How Can Heat Therapy Help Neck Pain and Low Back Pain? — Dr Mandell

Over-the-counter pain medications19 are probably the only self-prescribed treatment for pain and fresh injury more common than ice/heat, but their risks and benefits could not be more different. They are quite safe in moderation, but there are serious concerns most people are unaware of,20 and the best argument in favour of ice may be the relatively unknown problems with these drugs.

All types of these medications are roughly equally effective for acute injury pain,21 but their benefits may vary for other problems .

Dont take any pain killer chronically risks go up with exposure. acetaminophen is good for fever and pain, and is one of the safest of all drugs at recommended dosages, but its surprisingly easy to take too much, which can badly hurt livers22 and it doesnt work well for musculoskeletal pain. The NSAIDs might be a better bet: they reduce inflammation as well as pain and fever, but at any dose they can cause heart attacks and strokes and they are gut burners . Aspirin is usually best for joint and muscle pain, but its the most gut-burning of them all. Voltaren Gel: Does It Work? is an ointment NSAID, much safer for treating superficial pain.

Even More Localized Heating + The Relevance Of Climate And Context

A reader question:

Is there a product that heats a very small area, like the size of a trigger point ? I could imagine something, kind of ball shaped at the end … Would heating just that small an area be of some value? I ask because roughly one third of the year , I dont want to heat a big part of my body, except in the shower. Its too hot! But Id heat a very small area.

A home remedy version of this could be heating up a stone, which is easy enough.;

Other than hot stone therapy , there is no such product that I am aware of.

If your environment is too hot for heat to be comforting and reassuring, then its unlikely to be helpful, and could even backfire to the extent that its actually perceived as a significant threat . But its a highly idiosyncratic thing. There are people who love to bake themselves in direct sunshine, which I find intolerable. My wife will put a heating pad on under the blankets even in summer, which I cannot imagine tolerating, and her craving for heat surges even higher for treating aches and pains. But I too have suddenly found myself craving the heating pad in warm weather when trying to ease an unusually savage aching.

The threshold between pleasing and annoying definitely moves around!

I am confident that a tiny heater wouldnt be very comforting or reassuring, though I find myself hard-pressed to say exactly why. Its just not big enough to have much of a sensory impact, I suspect.

First Steps To Relieve Neck Pain

The causes of routine strain-and-sprain neck pain vary. If you wake up with a “crick” in your neck, it’s probably the sharp muscle contractions known as spasms, caused by a muscle strain. A sprain, in contrast, happens in ligamentsthe tough tissues that connect bones together. Alternatively, a tendonthe tissue that attaches muscles to bonesmay become inflamed, causing tendinitis. Basic self-help takes care of most routine neck pain flare-ups:

  • Use cold to numb the early acute pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers to control mild to moderate pain. These include acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen , naproxen , or aspirin.
  • Use a neck collar for short periods to rest the painful muscles and tissues and ease your discomfort. “Collars have a bad reputation from people overusing them and getting weak muscles, but used a few hours here and there they can be very useful,” Dr. Shmerling says.
  • Apply heateither with a heating pad or by using a warm whirlpool bath if one is availableafter a day or two, once the acute pain calms down.

Should you go to a chiropractor to get your neck “cracked”? Dr. Shmerling counsels against sudden, strenuous manipulation of the neck. “It may be fine for low back pain, but avoid it for neck pain,” he says.

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Take Care When You Sleep

Dr. Bang says if your neck is bothering you, you also should pay attention to your sleep positions. Sleep only on your side or on your back never on your stomach, he says.

When you sleep on your stomach, often you will end up twisting your head one way or the other for hours at a time, Dr. Bang says. Sleeping on your stomach also can affect your low back because your belly sinks in to the bed if you dont have enough support.

For minor, common causes of neck pain, try these simple remedies:

  • Apply heat or ice to the painful area. Use ice for the first 48 to 72 hours, then use heat after that. Heat may be applied with warm showers, hot compresses or a heating pad. Be sure not to fall asleep with a heating pad or ice bag in place to avoid skin injuries.
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
  • Keep moving, but avoid jerking or painful activities. This helps calm your symptoms and reduce;inflammation.
  • Do slow range-of-motion exercises, up and down, side to side, and from ear to ear. This helps to gently stretch the neck muscles.
  • Have a partner gently massage the sore or painful areas.
  • Try sleeping on a firm mattress without a pillow or with a special neck pillow.
  • Ask your health care provider about using a soft neck collar to relieve discomfort. Dont use the collar for a long time. Doing so can make your neck muscles weaker.

If the pain gets in the way of your daily activities, Dr. Bang says to call your doctor.

The First One Is Obvious: Rub It And Stretch It

Causes of neck pain: Sprains, a pinched nerve, arthritis

But you gotta do it the right way. Like this:

  • Find the sore spot
  • Push the knot with your fingers, a tennis ball, or the corner of your doorway.
  • Rub the knot up all the way into your neck and down into your lower back. Go further along the muscle than you think, or go further than where your back is sore. The knot may be unwound deep into your lower back and hips, even.
  • While you rub it, turn your head in the direction opposite of the offending cramp. Touch your chin to your armpit. Basically, stretch the muscle as you rub it.
  • Nod your head up and down by bringing your chin to your chest and then looking towards the ceiling. If it pains more stop the exercise.
  • Nod your head from side to side. tilt your head towards the left side and right side to stretch your neck muscles.
  • Turn your head slowly from left side to right side and vice versa for few minutes.
  • Grasp your neck with your thumb on one side and your fingers on the other.
  • Knead your neck by gently squeezing for 1 2 minutes.

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Warming With Infrared Radiation: Infrared Saunas Especially Far Infrared Saunas

Red & infrared radiation on a hand in an infrared scanner. Photo by Yu Chieh;Ho.

Infrared radiation is almost light so close that it is often called infrared light, even though it is actually beyond the part of the electromagnetic spectrum that we can normally see. It has a longer wavelength than any visible light. And infrared is radiation is warming it jostles our molecules which is why it is also often called heat radiation.

Infrared saunas sound fancy, like they are emitting some kind of special radiation, not just heating rays but healing rays. In fact, an infrared heater is just a heater. All heaters are infrared heaters, because all radiative heating is infrared. Calling it an infrared radiation heater is kind of like calling a lamp a visible radiation lamp. If you were to put a space heater in a small cedar panelled room, you would have yourself an infrared sauna.

If any infrared radiation is a healing ray, its far infrared radiation . More expensive saunas use far infrared, and it is a bit different. The main advantage of using far infrared is entirely practical: they require minimal shielding, because the heating elements themselves stay almost magically cool while still heating up whatever they paint with their radiation . So they can be built into the walls of the sauna without scorching them . And thats quite useful.

You want microwaves with that?

Healing rays: is far infrared radiation special?

When Not To Use Heat Therapy

In some cases, heat therapy is not the best option. Muscle strain usually occurs when sensitive muscle tissue tears, so internal bleeding or inflammation is a real possibility with a neck injury. When swelling or pain accompanies a neck injury, ice treatments may prove helpful. Directly after the damage occurs, however, it is still important to seek medical advice first.

When there is a possibility, you could be at risk of internal bleeding or swelling. In this instance, heat treatments can make the problem worse, so avoid at all costs . At least, wait until an MD or Physical Therapist has examined you. Also, prolonged neck injuries or neck injuries that feel swollen, badly strained, or painful may involve internal bleeding. It is always best to check with a medical professional before using heat treatments at home.

If you have already put pain-relieving gel or cream on the problem area, do not apply heat treatment over the top. Pain relief gels like Voltarol or Biofreeze ease soreness by numbing the discomfort. You wont be able to feel how hot your heat treatment is until it is too late. If in doubt, always consult your doctor or physical therapist first before applying any form of heat or cold therapy.

Yet, as an experienced PT, I know how varied the effects can be due to how you use heat therapy.

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How To Relieve Shoulder And Neck Pain Without Medication

Home / Blog / Health & Wellness Tips / How to Relieve Shoulder and Neck Pain Without Medication

Are you feeling pain in your shoulders and neck? Sitting at a desk, driving all day, and even stress contribute to muscle pain in these areas. Wondering how to relieve shoulder and neck pain but dont want to take medicine? Weve made a list of ways on how to relieve shoulder and neck pain:

Can Hot Baths Or Spas Help Arthritis Pain

Ice or Heat for Neck and Back Pain Relief

Many people with arthritis find relief from pain and stiffness with hot baths or spas. The moist heat increases muscle relaxation, boosts blood supply to the site of pain, and relieves rigidity and spasms in the muscles. But avoid hot tubs or spas if you have high blood pressure or heart disease, or if you are pregnant.

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How To Tell Your Neck Pain Might Be Caused By A Heart Problem

A good tipoff is the presence of certain additional symptoms.

While many different disorders can cause anterior neck pain, neck pain associated with difficulty breathing, chest pain, feeling flushed or sweating, or palpitations should raise suspicion for acute cardiac pathology, explains Sendhil Krishnan, MD, a board-certified adult general cardiologist with advanced subspecialty training in interventional cardiology.

Dr. Krishnan adds, The reason for the association of neck and jaw pain with cardiac problems has to do with cranial nerve X , also known as the vagus nerve.

How To Soothe A Sore Neck

Neck pain essentials include icing and heat, gentle therapeutic exercise, and good posture.

Sore neck? It’s pretty common. And most men get neck pain for the same reasons they suffer low back pain. “In the vast majority of people, it’s routine muscle strain and sprain,” says Dr. Robert Shmerling, associate professor of medicine at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. “The neck has to support that heavy bowling ball on top.”

The remedies for neck and back pain also have some things in common. First, ease the early intense pain with rest, ice, and heat; then move on to gentle stretching and strengthening exercises. Later, avoid bad posture and other habits that could trigger another neck pain crisis.

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What Can I Do About Acute Back Or Neck Pain

The key to recovering from acute back or neck pain is restricting your activity and taking over the counter medications, because most back pain is related to muscle strain. In most cases, acute back pain will go away on its own over a period of days. Here are some tips that will help you recover:

1. Take it easy If you think you’ve hurt your back, ease up on the pressure you’re putting on your back. Many people actually have little choice in the mattertheir back pain will force them to drop to their knees or “freeze” in a bent-over position. Others will be able to function somewhat normally, but with uncomfortable pain. Contrary to popular belief, studies on acute back pain actually show that a few days of restricting your activity, and taking the appropriate over-the-counter medication, is all that many people really need to allow the strained muscles to relax and unbind. However, it is important to talk with your health care provider before taking any medication, especially if you are taking other medications or have a chronic medical condition.

2. Ice, then heat Remember this rule: “Ice first for 48 hours, then heat.” Ice and heat can alleviate local pain that comes from muscle and ligament strain. Ice slows swelling and inflammation and acts as a local anesthetic, but after 48 hours, it loses its effect. Using heat afterwards increases blood flow to the deep tissues and relaxes muscle spasms.

Massage For Neck Arthritis

Heat Massage Aid Pad For Back, Shoulder, Neck Pain â kiuiuc

Massage feels good, and it may help to relax tight muscles and improve localized circulation to structures in your neck. Some research into specific types of massage has shown promise for reducing neck pain.

Cupping involves placing suction-type cups over your muscles. Some small studies have shown that cupping reduces symptoms in patients with chronic neck pain.

The American College of Rheumatology has published guidelines for the treatment of osteoarthritis and has stated that the research currently does not support the use of massage as an effective treatment for knee, hip, or hand arthritis.

While the guidelines are not specific to cervical spondylosis, it may be helpful to keep in mind there is little evidence that massage provides lasting relief for arthritis. Still, it may be one option to try when seeking out natural remedies for your neck pain.

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Is Heat The Cure

Unfortunately, there is no definitive cure for neuropathy because it can be the result of so many causes. Sometimes these nerve pains can improve over time with treatment or as the body heals on its own. However, there is no way to tell if this will take months or years. Sometimes the pain will get better, but sometimes the pain can get worse.

People have tried many different ways to treat this pain. For foot neuropathy, some people like to soak their feet in a warm bath because the warm water can soothe the pain. The warmth can increase blood flow to the afflicted area temporarily, and it can alleviate muscles that are tense and stressed. Just make sure that the temperature is warm and not very hot. Test the water temperature with your hands if your legs are the parts afflicted. So, if someone asks you Is heat good for neuropathy, you can suggest a soothing soak in warm water for temporary relief.

Neck Pain From Sleeping Is Manageable

Neck pain from sleeping can be your worst nightmare in the morning. This can be caused by sleeping on your stomach, sleeping with your hand placed on the forehead, or having pillow problems like stiff or thick pillows cramping your comfort level during sleep.

Luckily, sleep posture matters. Try sleeping on your back or side, or sleep without a pillow. Sleeping without a pillow is known to benefit the neck, spine, and face. At the same time, it might also improve the quality of your sleep.

Other ways to relieve neck pain include neck exercises, showers or baths, applying heat or cold, acupuncture, massage therapy, chiropractic care, and an anti-inflammatory diet.

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After Youve Slept Funny

Your alarm goes off. You wake up and feel it instantly. Your neck is killing you. Youve got a day to tackle work to do and kids to take care of. What do you do about your sore or stiff neck when you slept on it wrong? Here are some ways to loosen things up:

Bring the heat literally apply some heat. Most of the time a muscle spasm or muscle tension is to blame for a stiff neck in the morning. That calls for heat. That means a heating pad or HeatWrap like ThermaCare®. Even a long, hot shower will help. According to Paul Jeffords, M.D., a spine surgeon at Resurgens Spine Center in Atlanta, Heat will increase blood flow and help loosen up the muscles.

The wrong pillow can cause a stiff neck if the pillow isnt supporting your neck in a neutral position.

Start with some gentle stretching. After youve warmed things up, here are some slow stretches to try. Repeat each one 10 times.

  • Neck rolls: Tilt your head to the right and then roll it forward in a U shape to your left side. Then switch it up and go back again.
  • Chair stretch: Sitting down, hold both sides of the chair. Pull lightly on one side while you tilt your head to the opposite side, then do the reverse side.
  • Head rotation: Starting with your head directly over your neck, rotate right as far as you can, then rotate left as far as you can.
  • Chin tuck: Gently tuck your chin down to your chest, then untuck.

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