Tips For Dealing With Persistent Neck Pain

Posted on: 29 September 2016

The average adult human head weighs around ten pounds. That's a lot of stress for your neck, which has to support that weight. If you're struggling with persistent neck pain due to fatigue, sleep discomfort, or general muscle strain, you may be wondering about how you can address it. The good news is that there are some steps you can take to help minimize pain and discomfort in your neck. Here are a few things to try to soothe the aches and pains.

Try Stretching The Muscles

Sometimes muscle tension alone can cause significant pain. In those cases, stretching the muscles may help to ease the pain and restore your range of motion. Start with a basic side-to-side stretch. Drop your head toward one shoulder so your ear nearly rests on the shoulder. Place your fingers on your head on the other side and gently press down toward your shoulder. This will stretch the muscle on the opposite side of your neck. Do this a few times on each side.

Rotation can also help. Drop your chin to your chest and hold that position for a few seconds. Then, roll your head to one side, sweeping your chin toward the shoulder on that side. Do the same toward the other side. Put a little bit of pressure on your head when it reaches each shoulder to help stretch the muscle a little bit more.

Use Temperature Treatments

If your neck pain is the result of an injury, you'll want to place a cold compress on the area for a few minutes at a time in the first couple of days after the injury occurs. Alternate that cold compress with a heat pad. After the first couple of days, use just the heat pad to help soothe tension and relax those muscles. The best way to do this is with a heating pad specifically designed for the neck, because it will stay in place better and apply the heat directly where you need it most. You can find a neck heat pad for sale online and in local stores. A steaming hot shower can also help, especially if you have a massaging shower head. Stand directly under the water with the spray targeting your neck and shoulder area.

Ease The Inflammation

Sometimes the pain you experience is the result of inflammation. You can sometimes ease the inflammation by taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication. Choose one that includes a pain reliever for even more improvement in your symptoms. If you prefer topical treatment, you can find a variety of creams and ointments that will help ease muscle pain. Topical ibuprofen is anti-inflammatory and also eases pain.

Be Attentive To Your Posture

The way you carry your body and sit will have a significant effect on muscle strain. Avoid sitting in a slouched position or sitting on the floor with your legs crossed. These positions can actually leave your spine out of alignment, which strains your neck muscles. You should also avoid placing a phone on your shoulder, because that strains your neck muscles. If you work on a computer, make sure the screen is placed directly in front of your eyes so you don't need to bend or look up to see it.

Although most instances of neck pain and discomfort will resolve fairly quickly, sometimes you need more intervention. Your doctor can do a thorough examination to determine what could be causing persistent neck pain and may even prescribe a specific neck pad for direct heat application. The more proactive you are about addressing your discomfort, the sooner you will be likely to see some relief. Start with these tips, and if you don't see improvement, talk with your doctor about further treatment recommendations.