The Best Treatment For Neck Pain
When you need to find relief from neck pain and nothing you have tried previously seems to give you more than a few minutes of relief, spending some time with a chiropractor often times can fix this issue, and it doesnt often return if you follow a healthy lifestyle.
Im certain that many of you are thinking about those awful videos with those loud cracking noises youve seen on social media, or you are recalling a news story which might have suggested that allowing a chiropractor anywhere near your neck might be a health hazard. Nothing could be further from the truth.
You should try the other suggestions in this article before you head off to the chiropractor, but when all else fails, dont let neck pain nag you day in and day out. Take steps to make an appointment, and you will be surprised at the results.
What Can a Chiropractor Do for Neck Pain?
Many people mistakenly believe that the only technique a chiropractor will use is a neck adjustment. Chiropractors are trained in a variety of methods that are designed to help you find the pain relief you are seeking.
A few of the methods a chiropractor might use include:
- Cervical Manual Traction
- Cervical Drop Technique
- Trigger Point Therapy
There are many more options, but your chiropractor should explain to you which techniques s/he intends to use and why
When To Seek Medical Help
You need to be vigilant and mindful about a few situations in which you need to contact your health care provider immediately and seek help. Seek medical help if:
- You experience extreme pain in your neck along with fever and headache, and the region from your chin to chest becomes stiff, as it may be related to brain infection .2
- You experience shortness of breath, pain in the jaw or arm, sweating, nausea and vomiting .2
- Your neck pain is due to a fall, injury or blow.
- You experience loss of balance and have difficulty walking.
- Your arm or hand is numb, or you feel a tingling in it.
- Along with the neck pain, you also face difficulty in swallowing and breathing.
- Your pain worsens on lying down or sleeping and makes you wake up from sleep.
- Your control over passing urine and stools is lost.
- There is a lump on your neck or swelling of glands.
- You experience pain even after taking pain-relieving medication.
- Your pain persists even after one week of following the home remedies.2
Is It Something More Serious
If neck pain is severe, lasts for weeks or months, drastically limits your ability to move your head, radiates into the shoulders, or feels worse in the morning, consider seeing a doctor. Fever or weakness or numbness in the arms are other “red flags” that warrant additional evaluation. In some cases, an underlying physical problem, such as arthritis, an infection, or a compressed nerve, may be the cause. Depending on the diagnosis, you may need additional treatments or even surgery to relieve the pain and get back to your normal activities.
Simple neck stretch
Look straight ahead. Tuck your chin in slightly and move your head backward, slowly and smoothly. Be sure to keep your head level you should be gliding your head backward, not bending or tipping it. Hold for five seconds. Repeat five times.
Additional exercises for neck pain are available in Neck Pain: A troubleshooting guide to help you find relief, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School. /NK
Illustrations: Alayna Paquette
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Support Your Body In A Warm Pool
The buoyancy of the water lets you enjoy the benefits of exercise with less pain. Exercising in water also helps regulate the functioning of nerves and muscles, relieving pain.14
If you prefer warmer pools, look into water exercise classes and hydrotherapy pools. Water therapy exercises are often done in water that is about 83 degrees to 88 degrees. Hydrotherapy pool temperatures are often more than 90 degrees.
Limit How Long You Look At A Smartphone
Constantly looking down at your phone pulls on your neck muscles and puts a constant strain on them. If you have to use your smartphone often, try some of these tips to reduce your neck strain:
- Hold your phone at eye level.
- Dont hold your phone between your shoulder and your ear.
- Use earbuds or headphones.
- Take a break from your phone hourly.
- After using your phone, stretch to relax your muscles.
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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 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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Natural Ways To Relieve Your Neck Pain
There are some ailments that you wouldnt wish on your worst enemy neck pain being one of them. Neck pain is a unique animal to tackle: unlike knee pain, you cant just stay off of it. Worse, when you have a neck injury, its almost impossible to rest your neck unless youre fitted with a neck brace.
Endless hours spent hunched over computer screens, tablets, and cell phones are a reality of living in the modern world. Unfortunately, this is leading to increased reports of neck and shoulder strain across all age groups. There are even increases in the number of young adults diagnosed with degenerative neck conditions due to what is now being called text neck .
- Too much time at a computer
- Too much time hunched over a tablet or phone
- Whiplash or other neck injuries
Your neck pain may be caused by common strains like computers and cell phones. Maybe you have a neck injury or other condition. Regardless, this list should give you some tools to help relieve your pain naturally.
Note: if you have an actual neck injury or deformity, go over this list with your physician or physical therapist before attempting any exercise or movement listed below.
How Long Does Neck Pain Last
How long neck pain lasts depends on a variety of factors. This includes what kind of injury caused the acute neck painfor example, a car accident, a sports injury or a muscle pull from working outsideand how you respond to the injury.
Many times, symptoms can resolve over a period of months if you stop doing the offending behavior, says Dr. Bang. Neck pain from car accidents can last a long time. But if you dont get in another car wreck, your pain will typically go away over a few months. However, if you dont change a habit that causes neck pain, like using a computer monitor poorly, its going to last.
If pain persists and gets in the way of your daily activities, or any treatment you try doesnt seem to be working, further discussion might be necessary. If you tried some things on your own and after two months its not gone away, then its probably time to see your doctor to figure out if theres an underlying issue or if theres some behavior you need to change.
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Change Your Sleep Position
The position you sleep in at night can also affect your neck. Sleeping on your side or your back puts less strain on your neck than sleeping on your stomach. When you sleep on your stomach, youre forcing your neck to strain for long periods of time and this can cause pain and stiffness.
If you sleep on your side for all or part of the night, you can buy a pillow with neck support.
Massage For Neck Arthritis
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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Suggested Home Remedies For Neck Pain:
Generally, the symptoms of neck pain gradually fade away. As they go away, they might come back too. The discomfort and pain may cause you to avoid activities, fearing injury or worsening of the condition.1 Lets not let a pain in the neck disturb our daily activities. Here are some home remedies for neck pain that you can try.
Gently Stretch Your Joints And Soft Tissues Through Yoga
Yoga is an effective way to stretch your back, improve the health of muscles and joints, enhance distribution of healing nutrients through blood circulation, and increase the flexibility of the spine.12
When you start, perform the stretches slowly and advance only if you feel comfortable without pain. Gradually, you will be able to add more stretches to your routine. An ideal time for yoga is early morningto help loosen your spine and also reduce stiffness and aches in your back.
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Bonus Tip: Consider Taking A Vitamin D3 Supplement
If your doctor agrees, consider taking a vitamin D3 supplement. Vitamin D is essential for bone, neuromuscular, and immune system function. Taking a vitamin D3 supplement can help reduce back pain by increasing the absorption of calcium in your body and improving bone strength.15
Finding the perfect pain relief technique is usually a process of trial and error, making it worth exploring various approaches. Try these natural pain-relieving strategies for your back pain and see what works best for you. Severe pain that is not relieved by self-care must be evaluated by a health professional for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
Carry Out Neck Exercises
This is a simple, yet effective form of neck pain physiotherapy treatment at home. Not only will exercising help strengthen the neck muscles it will also help to lower stress levels too. Before carrying out any neck exercises make sure your neck is not too stiff. You can loosen up your neck muscles by simply applying moist heat to it before you begin. When your neck feels relaxed enough, start by slowly rotating it in a circular motion, both clockwise and counter-clockwise. This will help stretch out any upset muscles. Then gently move it back and forth and side to side 5 or 6 times up to three times a day.
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How To Relieve And Prevent Neck Pain
Sometimes, the best way to combat occasional neck pain is to use stretching and exercise. There are a few things you can do to combat the pain using both motion and isometric techniques. You dont need to use them all just find the ones that work for you and help loosen up the tightness and relieve the pain.
Neck Pain Tip : Get Out Of Your Slump
Bad posture is a major contributor to neck pain. Think about your posture every time you are sitting, standing, or lifting. Always try to keep your head and neck straight and make sure your back is supported. When you sit at your desk, for example, your computer should be at eye level and your chair should be right up against your back . Your mouse should be positioned low enough so that you don’t have to continually reach for it. When you go to pick something up, don’t lean forward. Instead, bend from your knees and keep your back straight, which will also help protect against low back pain.
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Still Have Tight Neck Muscles 3 Tips For Finding Relief
When tight neck muscles are not responding to the typical heat, ice, or massage treatments, you might want to give the following a try:
1. Gua Sha
This is an ancient Chinese practice that might seem a bit odd, but it works for many people. In this practice, a trained individual uses a spoon or other object and makes short strokes down the neck. It is believed that poor blood circulation causes it to become stagnant, if you will, and blocks the positive energy needed for life, called qi.
Fresh blood will indeed allow oxygen and nutrients to feed the tissues in a given area, and one study found that gua sha worked where traditional methods, such as heat therapy, did not.
You probably know that swimming is a terrific low-impact exercise that works wonders for those with back and knee pain, but did you know that it also works well for neck pain and tight muscles? It helps if the water is tepid and not cold, but even just floating on your back can offer tremendous relief since most of the body weight is suspended by the buoyancy of water.
3. Chiropractic Massage
Not your typical day spa massage, chiropractic massage is performed under the guidance of a chiropractor. A trained massage therapist will still do the massage, but this time, the chiropractor will have discussed your neck pain and any problems you might be having with them. Many people have found real relief from neck pain through chiropractic massage.
Best Ways To Relieve Neck And Shoulder Pain
Neck or shoulder pain are very common because there are somany ways to strain or injure this sensitive area of the body. There are many issues which can raise therisk of neck pain including poor posture, bad diet or stress, but there arealso many ways to mitigate these risks. If you do encounter neck or shoulder pain, you may find some of thefollowing neck pain treatments helpful.
Before you initiate one of these neck pain treatments, you should first consult with your physician. Only a doctor can accurately diagnose your health condition and ensure that a neck pain treatment wont worsen your neck pain issue. Furthermore, many of these neck pain treatments are only available through a medical services provider.
Because neck or shoulder issues have plagued people for solong, many neck pain treatments have been developed that do not require involvedmedical intervention.
If home remedies arent potent enough to relieve your neck and shoulder pain, then you should consult with your physician. Only about one percent of neck pain cases involve a serious health condition like cancer or spinal cord damage, but warning signs include persistent pain that continues for six weeks or longer, worsening pain or fever.
Medical Neck Pain Treatments
- Squeeze your shoulder blades towards your spinethen release
- Gently tilt your ear towards your shoulder, thenalternate on the other side
- Slowly pivot your head from side to side
Preventing Neck Pain
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Other Remedies For Neck & Shoulder Pain Hot Cold And Tens Therapy
Heating pads, ice or cold packs, and TENS Therapy 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