What to Do for Self-Care of Neck Pain
Neck pain can come from many sources, such as arthritis in the spine, spasms, muscle strains, a bulging disc and more. If the pain is chronic or severe, you should consult a physician, but if you’re prescribed home care, there are a few methods that are recommended for treating neck pain.
- Heat or cold applied to the area. It is recommended to ice for the first 48 to 72 hours, and then follow that up with heat
- Heat can also be applied through hot compresses, a heating pad or a hot shower
- Sleeping on a firm mattress with a neck-supporting pillow can help
- Alternative therapies, like acupuncture, could possibly help (consult with a doctor)
Change Your Neck Routine
Ok, sure, no one thinks about what their neck is doing in a daily basis, but if you change how you move about daily, you might find a change in your neck pain. This could be a matter of doing less throughout the day, while also staying active enough, but to not make the pain worse. Bed rest is not generally recommended for neck pain.
There are a few typical recommendations to look at when experiencing neck pain, in terms of changing your activities:
- You can calm symptoms and reduce swelling by stopping normal physical activity, just for the first few days of the pain
- Wait six weeks before doing any activities that might involve twisting your neck, or lifting something heavy
- Avoid driving if you are unable to move your head easily, as this will create an unsafe driving environment for you
Exercise the Pain Away
Once the period of limited movement has passed, your physician or physical therapist may recommend some exercises geared toward reducing the pain you are experiencing in your neck. Exercise is intended specifically to strengthen the neck, help your posture and generally improved the flexibility of your neck. The exercises for neck pain are relatively simple:
- Aerobic exercise may involve swimming, walking or riding a stationary bike. These types of exercises are intended to promote healing and help blood flow, along with strengthening your neck muscles
- Strength training and stretching may also be used in order to get similar results
How Can You Avoid Neck Pain?
Much of the advice geared toward prevention of neck pain revolve around increasing flexibility, and moving to break periods of stagnancy.
- Stretch your neck every hour if you work at a desk or computer
- Keep documents at eye level
- Keep your seat straight
- Use a headset when on the phone
- Avoid long periods of standing
- Avoid wearing high heels
- Sleep on a firm mattress with a supportive pillow
The good news is that there are plenty types of neck pain for which the solutions are very simpler, and it’s simpler still to avoid many typical types of neck pain. Always be sure to consult with your doctor if you’re trying anything out of the ordinary to work on reducing your neck pain.