Is There Anything Else I Need To Know
Neck cracking has limited side effects and may provide short-term pain relief or temporarily restore your range of motion if your neck muscles are tight. However, cracking your neck is not a long-term solution. The risks of cracking your neck are quite low, but you should take care not to twist too far. Cracking your neck too often, or improperly, could weaken your neck ligaments or cause injury, resulting in greater pain and discomfort.
Neck cracking should not cause pain, swelling or inflammation. If you notice any negative effects from neck cracking, talk to a healthcare provider.
If you find that cracking your neck provides you with significant relief, consider seeing a physical therapist or chiropractor. A comprehensive spinal manipulation therapy program that includes neck adjustment may provide more sustained pain relief and will limit the possibility of injuries.
Pressure Points For Neck Pain
To try acupressure for neck pain relief, follow these steps:
Below is a list of pressure points for several different kinds of neck pain. Remember that in reflexology, the whole body is interconnected. That means that its not uncommon to stimulate one part of your body to activate or align another body part.
Stretch Your Neck And Shoulders
Tilt your head to one side and at the same time drop the opposite shoulder. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, making sure the stretch doesn’t hurt but just using the weight of your head to ease out tension. Repeat on the other side. Next, look squarely over one shoulder then the other. Hold for 30 seconds on each side.
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How To Choose A Pillow For Neck Pain
For neck pain sufferers, choosing the right pillow can be a key step toward living pain-free. The right pillow will depend on your individual needs. Well walk you through the most important considerations, including how to choose the best material, shape, and thickness for your individual sleeping style.
What To Consider When Purchasing A Pillow For Neck Pain
Most people dont give much thought to their pillow, beyond choosing a pillow thats nice and squishy for immediate comfort. This means that when we do realize our pillow may be contributing to our neck pain, we may not know how to go about choosing a proper one. Shoppers in this position may be susceptible to misleading marketing and end up choosing a pillow thats ill-suited for their needs.
To help you get started, weve made a list of the most important factors. Focusing on these factors and having a basic understanding of how pillows work can help you find the pillow that works best for you.
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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.
Acute Neck Pain Wry Neck
Wry neck is the term used to describe a condition where your neck temporarily becomes stiff and painful. It can occur at any age, but is more common in the teenage or young adult population. Turning your head to the side and looking up can produce an acute pain.One or both sides of the neck may also go into spasm, and pain may be felt from the top of the neck down to the shoulder blade and even out to the top of the shoulder.
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Neck Pain Tip : Move It
Research is showing that exercise is an effective way to treat neck pain. According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, women with chronic neck pain who performed strength and endurance exercises using resistance bands and light weights significantly reduced their neck pain and disability. It’s also important to keep active in general. Thirty minutes of aerobic exercise every day can keep your back muscles strong. And improved blood flow from exercise can nourish your spine help to keep it healthy. Talk to your doctor, physical therapist, or a personal trainer with expertise in working with people with neck pain to determine the right exercises for you.
How Are Back And Neck Pain Treated
In many cases, acute back or neck pain may simply improve with some rest. Over-the-counter medicines such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen may also help with the discomfort. Try to move gently during this period, so that you won’t become stiff and lose mobility.
If you have chronic pain of your back and neck, try several remedies before considering surgery. These include:
- Hot or cold packs as advised by your healthcare provider
- Certain exercises to strengthen back and belly muscles and ease pain, such as stretching and flexing. Your healthcare provider can show you these exercises. Physical therapy can also help you find the correct exercises.
- Aerobic exercise may help with your overall fitness and strength.
- Certain anti-inflammatory medicines or muscle relaxants may be used, as advised by your provider.
- Sometimes your provider may suggest a brace or corset for extra support.
- Shots for pain relief in the area
- Nerve block. This eases pain signals from the affected nerve.
- Osteopathic manipulation
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Therapeutic Exercise For Neck Pain
Exercises to stretch and strengthen the neck, shoulder, and upper back muscles can speed recovery from a painful neck condition and possibly reduce flare-ups, although the evidence for this is not ironclad. Dr. Shmerling encourages his patients to see a physical therapist for guided therapeutic exercise. Here is what the therapist can offer:
- Therapy will likely combine isometric and range-of-motion exercises. In isometric exercise, you tighten the neck muscles against an opposing forcesuch as your own hand, which you “push against” with your neck muscles. Range-of-motion stretches attempt to progressively relax and lengthen the neck muscles.
- Physical therapists can offer other therapies that, while not proven in research trials, seem to offer some people ease and comfort. One option is ultrasound treatment of the sore tissues with high-frequency sound waves.
- A physical therapist can also perform traction, using the hands or special equipment to gently stretch the neck muscles. You can also get equipment by prescription to perform neck traction at home but follow the therapist’s instructions carefully.
Finally, take inventory of your posture or daily habits that could trigger neck pain, like sitting for extended periods in positions that strain the neck during reading, TV watching, computer work, or sleeping. Attending to the cause may stop some flare-ups of neck pain at the source.
How To Get Rid Of Stiff Neck In Less Than 90 Seconds
Living with Neck Pain in Santa Maria is terrible! We know, because we see hundreds of patients here on the central coast every month with just this issue!
Working on computers and staring down at our smartphones for hours each day has left over 20% of us experiencing neck pain over the past few months. A stiff neck is usually the result of postural issues that have tired the neck muscles over time. Weakened, or unbalanced, muscle strength can place additional stress on your spinal joints and lead to changes in how you move, extra pressure on your discs, and pain.
Why it Matters:
If you are looking down at your digital devices all day every day, the stress can add up and result in your neck not moving correctly. At this point, it’s only a matter of time before you wake up with a stiff neck or turn your head during the day and are greeted by an intense muscle discomfort or pain.
Here are our 3 smart tips for getting rid of that stiff neck:
- Perform exercises each day to stretch and strengthen the muscles that support your neck.
- Sleep on a supportive pillow to keep your head in a neutral position throughout the night.
- Visit your chiropractor regularly for gentle adjustments to restore the proper motion of your neck
- and spine.
- Next Steps:
- Science Source:
- Do You Have a Stiff Neck? Try These Simple Remedies. Cleveland Clinic. 2015.
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Preventing And Living With Neck Pain
While avoiding neck pain isnt always possible, you can keep your neck muscles strain- and stress-free by creating healthy habits. Instead of in front of a computer all day, for example, take stretch breaks throughout the day.
If your neck pain feels worse at the end of each day, consider your posture. Are you sitting up straight? Sitting in your chair with your feet flat on the floor?
If your neck pain feels worse in the morning, check your sleep position and pillow. Use a pillow that supports your neck and keeps it straight. Avoid sleeping on your stomach with your neck twisted, if possible.
What if you go to sleep feeling fine and wake up with neck pain? Daily life can take its toll on your neck. If you wake up with neck pain, the best thing to do is give your body time to heal on its own. To get through the day without letting the pain interfere with your normal activities, you have a few options.
- Gently stretch your neck: the Spine Universe Exercise Center offers a video with 3 neck stretches and exercises to help relieve a stiff neck.
- Take over-the-counter pain medications, such as Tylenol or Advil.
- Alternate between heat and ice treatments on your neck: 20 minutes of heat followed by 20 minutes of ice should help relieve the pain and expedite the healing process.
- Rest: take a few days off from any strenuous activities that aggravate your symptoms, such as sports and heavy lifting.
Already dealing with neck pain?
What Kind Of Physical Therapist Do I Need
All physical therapists are prepared through education and experience to treat people who have neck pain. You may want to consider:
- A physical therapist who is experienced in treating people with orthopedic, or musculoskeletal, problems.
- A physical therapist who is a board-certified clinical specialist or who completed a residency or fellowship in orthopedic physical therapy. This physical therapist has advanced knowledge, experience, and skills that may apply to your condition.
You can find physical therapists who have these and other credentials by using Find a PT, the online tool built by the American Physical Therapy Association to help you search for physical therapists with specific clinical expertise in your geographic area.
General tips when youre looking for a physical therapist:
- Get recommendations from family and friends or from other health care providers.
- When you contact a physical therapy clinic for an appointment, ask about the physical therapists’ experience in helping people with neck pain.
- Be prepared to describe your symptoms in as much detail as possible, and say what makes your symptoms worse.
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What Is Back And Neck Pain
Back pain can range from a mild, dull, annoying ache to persistent, severe, disabling pain. Pain in your back can limit your ability to move. It can interfere with normal functioning and quality of life. Always talk with your healthcare provider if you have persistent pain.
Neck pain occurs in the area of the cervical vertebrae in your neck. Because of its location and range of motion, your neck is often left unprotected and at risk for injury.
Pain in your back or neck area can come on suddenly and intensely. Chronic pain lasts for weeks, months, or even years. The pain can be constant or come and go.
Why Is Neck And Shoulder Pain Such A Problem
Is your posture hunched, bent at the middle or leaning slightly to one side? Far too many of us these days suffer from shoulder and neck pain, so maybe we should have listened to our parents and teachers when they told us to “SIT UP STRAIGHT!” and stop slouching…
We have become a nation of ‘slumpers’, with many of us spending hours hunched in front of computers for work. Plus, in our leisure time, more often than not we are bent over our smartphones or slouched on the couch in front of the TV.
So, it is no wonder our poor shoulders and necks have started to complain! The combination of this slouchy behaviour with factors such as sleeping awkwardly, muscle strain, stress, age and overexertion puts added pressure on our necks and shoulders.
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Hot Cold And Electrotherapy
Heating pads, ice or cold packs, and electrotherapy are natural ways to get relief from neck and shoulder pain. A general rule of thumb suggests choosing different therapies based on how long youve been experiencing pain.
Use cold for recent neck or shoulder pain
During the first six weeks after a fresh injury, experts recommend applying ice to help reduce inflammation and pain. Ice packs, cold sprays, and/or cold gels are great options to relieve acute swelling.
Use heat for chronic aches and pains
Heat encourages blood flow and helps relax tight muscles. This type of therapy can be introduced six weeks after an injury, and also works best for lingering aches and pains. Make sure your heat therapy isnt too hot. Try:
- Heating pads
- Warm baths, whirlpools and saunas
- Warm baths with Epsom salts
Try electrotherapy for short and long-term neck and shoulder pain
TENS, or Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, is a drug-free alternative to pain relief that works for both short- and long-term pain. TENS units use mild, pain-free electrical currents to disrupt pain signals.
Make sure you dont place the TENS unit pads too close to your head or sides of your neck and spine. Please follow the manufacturers directions for the best and safest pad placement.
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Be Careful How You Use Your Phone Or Tablet Device
One way you may not even realize that youre aggravating your neck is by cradling your phone while talking, which puts extra stress on your cervical spine. It is also common for people to bend the head forward while looking down to read a phone or tablet for hours a day, which can contribute to painful neck strains or text neck.
Avoid neck pain from phone use with these tips:
- Use a hands-free headset to make calls.
- When you’re browsing or texting, hold the phone up higher to decrease the angle at which you’re holding your neck.
- Take frequent breaks to stretch your neck.
Hopefully at least a few of these 9 tips give you some new ideas to try for neck pain relief.
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What Are Common Neck Pain Causes
Neck pain tends to peak in middle age, and is slightly more common in women and in patients with a family history of neck pain, says NYC-based interventional pain physician and physiatrist, Benjamin Bonte, MD. Smokers, patients with psychological diagnoses such as depression and anxiety, and patients with a sedentary lifestyle are also more at risk.
Neck pain is most common in people over the age of 50. But beyond good old aging, the causes of neck pain are as varied as the list is long. Speaking of heres a list of some of the more common causes of neck pain:
- Injury and Accidents:
- Whiplash is a common neck injury sustained when the head is forced to move backward and/or forward beyond the normal range of motion. The unnatural and rapid movement of the neck affects the muscles and ligaments, which tighten and contract. This creates muscle fatigue resulting in pain and stiffness. Whiplash is most commonly sustained due to a car accident, but can also result from traumas such as a fall or a sports accident.
- Nerve Compression: When a nerve becomes compressed, it can cause pain that moves up into the head, behind the eyes, into the jaw, down the arms, says Dr. Penhollow. Herniated discs are the most common cause of nerve compression and spinal stenosis , but bone spurs can also compress nerves.
The most common types of neck pain.
There are different neck pain profiles. Some people experience only one type, while others experience a combination.