According to statistics, about 10% of the adult population suffers from neck pain at any given point in time and over 65% experience it once in their lifetime. The most common causes of neck pain are over-exercising, poor sleeping/sitting posture, sitting in the same position for too long, and high levels of stress. But there are ways to deal with it.
For recent/acute pain: apply an ice bag.
Place a bag of crushed ice for about 15 minutes on the part most affected. Cold bags are most effective for acute pain that involves swelling as it helps reduce blood flow by constricting blood vessels. Never apply ice directly, always put it in a bag as it prevents skin irritation and frostbite.
For chronic pain: use moist heat.
Heat small bags filled with rice or wheat in a microwave for about 2 minutes and apply it to the affected part. Keep it on for 15 minutes. For best results, use it in the morning after waking up and before exercising. Taking a warm bath can also help. For better results, you can add Epsom salt to the water. The magnesium in Epsom salt relaxes and soothes tight muscles and tendons.
You can reap the benefits of turmeric by seasoning your foods with it or drinking turmeric tea with honey. Turmeric contains a powerful antioxidant called Curcumin. It also aids the body in fighting inflammation.
Food rich in vitamin B12
Consuming food rich in vitamin B12 helps alleviate pain by thickening the protective layer covering the nerves so that they don’t react to pain.
Neck rotation exercise
This 3-step exercise will not only relieve a sore neck but it will also help strengthen your neck muscles:
- Rotate your neck in a circular motion. Do this 3 times.
- Move your head to the left side. Go as far as you can and then move your head to the right side. Do this 3 times.
- Move your neck back and forth. Do this 3 times.
Incorrect sitting posture and being on the phone for extended periods of time is a prime cause of neck pain and headache. This pain caused by protraction of the head can be effectively countered by performing the following steps:
- Roll a towel and place it around your neck while holding the ends with your hands.
- Return the head back from protraction and move the chin towards the neck (not towards the chest).
- Pull the band slightly tighter while tensing the muscles.
- Hold position until the muscles start feeling slightly tired.
Consult a massage therapist. A massage can do wonders by freeing the spasming muscles, thereby reducing inflammation and providing comfort. A massage will also help get rid of salt deposits in the neck.
4 acupressure points to get relief from neck pain:
- Shoulder well: The point is located on your shoulder between the rotator cuff and the vertebral column. It can be found by pressing your shoulder muscle with your thumb and middle finger. Apply pressure in a downward direction using your index finger or thumb. Massage the area for 4-5 seconds.
- Gates of Consciousness: It is located in the back of your neck where there is a hollow area near the base of the skull. Using your thumb massage the region for 4-5 seconds.
- Zhong Zhu: This point is located behind your knuckles in the groove formed by the tendons of your ring finger and little finger. Apply firm pressure to the area and massage it for 4–5 seconds.
- He Gu: It is located between the web of your thumb and index finger. Apply deep pressure to it and massage and stimulate the area for 4-5 seconds.
Most neck pain arises due to an improper lifestyle. Making minor tweaks in our lifestyle can help cure the pain and prevent it from occurring.
- Rest: Most neck pain occurs due to stress caused by repetitive actions, spending too much time on the computer, and sleeping in an improper position. It is advisable that as soon as you start feeling pain, stop performing the activity that seemingly caused it. Rest for a few days. Most neck pain heals in few days, but if it does not, seek professional advice.
- Change your sleeping position: Sleeping on your back is the best position followed by sleeping on your side. Avoid sleeping on your stomach. Use no more than one pillow and do not use a thick pillow. Using a special orthopedic pillow is preferable.
Have you had to struggle with neck pain? If no, then you’re lucky and we hope you’ll share your secret in the comments! For those who do struggle with occasional neck pain, we hope our recommendations help you keep these problems at bay. If they work for you, we advise you to incorporate these changes into your lifestyle for the long run!