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Secrets to Neck Pain Relief | Therapy Article World

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Secrets to Neck Pain Relief


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Posted by: Michelle Mangio on 05/30/2012

To really find neck pain relief, one has to know why neck pain occurs. There are many causes of why Neck pain is so common for everyone. Did you know that the neck support 10-13 pounds and there are 16 small muscles, joints and bones in the neck? Think about how easy it is for anything to go wrong, Injuries, worn out joints, muscle strains, and Nerve Compression. Then you start to see why this has become a global plague. Here are the common causes of Neck Pain.

Muscle strains: A strain, also known as “pulled muscle”, is an injury to a muscle, which the muscle fibers tear as a result of overstretching. Repetitive and/or overuse of muscles such as hunched over too long or spending too much time in one position will often triggers muscle strains. Neck muscles are especially predisposed to it particularly those in the back of your neck. Minor things like reading in bed or sleeping on one side can result muscle strain on the neck.

Worn joints: Wear and tear is a fact of life and just like all the other joints in the body, neck joints experiences wear and tear with age thus may lead to osteoarthritis in the area.

Nerve compression: There is a small space inside the neck vertebrae where our spinal cord is located. The Spinal Cord is basically the nerve highway in our body, which is responsible for motor skill, among other things, all over the body. There are many problems that can reduce the amount of space inside that cause Nerve Compression. Its symptoms include pain, tingling, numbness, and muscle numbness. Examples include:

  • Stiffened disks- Wear and tear, just like the statement about the cushioning disks between your vertebrae will become dry and stiff, this narrows the spaces in the spinal column that causes stenosis (nerves are strangled) that can cause classic symptoms of Nerve Compression.
  • Herniated disks- This occurs when the inner gel-like material of a disk protrudes through the disk. The protrusion can press on nerves exiting the spinal column, causing arm pain or weakness, or on the spinal cord itself.
  • Arthritis- There are over 100 different forms of arthritis (inflammation of the joint). Symptoms of Arthritis joint pain, tenderness, stiffness, and locking. It affects many joints in the body especially the knees, shoulder, hips and even the neck. Some times Arthritic joints in your neck can develop bony growths called bone spur that may press on nerves and cause pain, tingling, numbness, and muscle numbness.

Injuries: Car accidents, especially Rear-end collisions, often result in whiplash injuries. Whiplash occurs when the head is jerked forward and then backward quickly, stretching the soft tissues beyond their limits. Symptoms sometimes appear right after the injury, but often are not felt until days later. These symptoms are pain/aching to the neck and back, referred pain to the shoulders, pins and needles to the arms & legs and even headaches.


Home Remedies for Easing Neck Pain

Take a Break- This is the simplest ways to relieve neck pain is to lie down flat to relax the neck muscles. Do not use any pillows as this can stretch the neck back muscle, which can aggravate the pain.

Relax- Stress can trigger muscle tension that causes headache neck pain/stiffness. Identify common stressors that affect you. Once Identified perform:

  • Progressive relaxation – Sit or lie down and close your eyes in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Then, starting with your head and neck, consciously tighten and hold it for 2 seconds then completely releasing the muscles in the area and working down the entire body. Do 8 to 10 reps.
  • Abdominal Breathing -sit quietly and take a slow, deep breath all the way into your abdomen; place a hand on your abdomen to feel it expand and confirm you are breathing deeply enough. Then exhale completely, gently sucking in your stomach. Breathe slowly and deeply like this for several minutes (if you do this too quickly, you may begin to hyperventilate).

There are other relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, and exercise that are proven to work to decrease stress.

Ice Packs- Ice decreases inflammation, which helps overall circulation, and helps numb the pain. Apply ice pack in a pillowcase/cloth to the painful area of the neck for 10-15 minutes at a time.

Hot Packs- Heat increases circulation and that can help effective for relaxing stiff muscles.  Muscles get so stiff that circulation is impaired. Use a hot wet towel or a hot water bottle, or even a hot shower for 10-15 minutes as tolerated. Too much heat can aggravate symptoms and cause more pain and even cause burns! Also, try following up your heat application with a few minutes of cold treatment as sometimes both works better as a combination.

Massage. Massage actually increases overall circulation. It also helps soften and break down some scar/fibrous tissues, which decreases mobility, stiffness and circulation. First, take a hot shower to relax the muscles for about 15-25 minutes, targeting your “problem area” such as neck and shoulders. This will soften the scar/fibrous tissue and the massage will penetrate deeper for a more therapeutic effect.

The Right Pillow- It is very important to choose the right pillow especially if you have neck problems. On average, people sleep about 5-10 hours at night. Imagine spending a straight 10 hours bent over as if you’re picking up something. Think how much muscle strain, pain and stiffness you’ll experience. Can you see how important it is to get the right pillow? Look for a pillow that keeps the neck in a neutral position and in line with the spine (not tilting the head forward, backwards or sideways) when lying on your back or on your side. If you sleep and feel that your neck is a little stiff in the morning, then its time to get the right pillow!

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