Neck pain – one of the more common nuisances that affects our health and level of comfort. Never fear, however, there are simple steps you can take to help relieve your pain at home. If these methods don’t ease the discomfort, please contact your local health care provider and schedule an appointment to turn the pain into relief.
1. Hot and cold therapy. It is suggested to keep the heat level of a heating pad on low or medium and apply to the area affected for 15-20 minutes every two to three hours. You may also alternate and take a hot bath or shower in place of using the heating pad (Epsom salt helps relieve tension in muscles and can easily be added to bath water). If choosing ice, apply the ice pack for 10-15 minutes every two to three hours. Local drug stores and retail chains may sell individual heating or cooling wraps that can be applied for a one time only usage. You can also find heating and cooling gels as well to apply if you are away from home and need fast relief.
2. Be slow in movement. Staying active helps keep your muscles strong but be cautious not to overdo it, as you don’t want to make your current condition worse. Stay away from heavy lifting and strenuous sports, as well as any form of activity that irritates the area of pain. Stretching, such as yoga, and strengthening exercises keep your neck stable and flexed, preventing stiffness.
3. Massage the area to increase blood flow, but keep it gentle to the touch. If touching causes pain, cease physical contact with the affected area.
4. Over-the-counter pain relievers will not cure the pain, they will simply do as suggested in their name – relieve it. This includes acetaminophen, ibuprofen, NSAIDs, naproxen, etc. Use only as directed.
5. Create better habits for yourself. Are you in an environment at work or home that contains a high level of stress? Search for hobbies and/or outside activities that help keep you stress-free, as stress easily builds tension in our bodies. Yoga and Pilates is a great way to decompress the body, as well as massages and trips to the spa. Focus on you and providing the best life for yourself!