In a world where most people, kids and adults both, are hunched up over a computer screen most of the time, neck pain is no rare phenomena. While most of the time these pains are not a cause for big concern, ignoring them for long periods of time is not a good idea, because it can lead to chronic issues with your body. Rather than resort to painkillers to address these issues in the short term, it is advised to try some natural home remedies for neck pain. Painkillers come with harmful side effects, but these have none, and additionally, some can even help you lead a happier life.
Before we look at some home remedies for neck pain, it is a good idea to learn about a few causes of neck pain. Prevention is better than cure, and it is best if you can stop your pain from developing before it becomes an issue.
Common Causes of Neck Pain
1. Bad Posture while Sleeping
It might be a little surprising, but one of the most common causes for neck pain in both adults can be traced back to improper sleep. To prevent neck pain and also for a good night’s sleep, it is recommended to sleep either on your back or on your sides. The kind of pillow you use is also important. Feather pillows can easily accommodate the shape of your neck and provide adequate comfort. Also, do not use a very high pillow, because it can result in stiffness in the neck.
This is an unsurprising reason. With our lifestyle which involves long hours of working at a table poring over books and computers, the spine and the neck goes through a lot of stress everyday. This strain, when concentrated over long intervals of time, can cause nagging neck pains. Take a break at least every couple of hours to stretch out the spine, neck and the rest of your body.
3. Sudden Movements
The human body is flexible, but like with everything else, it should only be pushed gradually and with proper preparation. When you move your head abruptly, either on purpose or inadvertently, the neck muscles are unprepared and this may lead to a muscle pull, or in some cases, a tear. This is extremely common because we are used to facing different people when we talk to them, and are often in a hurry.
4. Underlying Medical Conditions
Neck pain can also be caused by some underlying medical conditions. Among senior citizens, a spinal condition called Spondylosis is a common cause for neck pain. Neck pain can also be caused by old injuries flaring up again. Whiplash is a common neck injury, caused by sudden movement of the neck forwards and backwards like a whip. In these cases, it is best to seek medical intervention.
Home Remedies for Neck Pain
1. Gentle Stretches
As mentioned above, the human body is very flexible, just that it needs to be strained gradually and with preparation. Some gradual neck stretches are great home remedies for neck pain. This reduces stiffness in the muscles, and over time builds up your flexibility. It is a good idea to do these stretches in the morning before you sit down for work because it acts like a warm-up for your neck. But if you feel an increase in pain while attempting these, stop immediately and consult a doctor. Here are a few stretches you can try out.
2. Cold Packs and Heating Pads
Both cold and warmth is useful as home remedies for neck pain, but it is important to know which to use in particular situations. Cold or ice packs are generally applied right after minor injuries. The cold helps to reduce the inflammation in your muscles, giving great relief from acute pain. You can also apply an ice pack if you wake up with a nagging pain in the neck, or if your pain is a result of a sudden pull.
Gently applying heat is useful for chronic pain. Heat works as therapy by relaxing tight muscles in the body. For persistent pain, heat therapy can be used side by side with medical treatment to give you a soothing feeling in the neck.. Hot towels are generally used for body pain, but for the neck, heating pads are the best option because you can easily focus it on the affected region.
3. Neck Massages
One of the best home remedies for neck pain is a good old neck massage. A massage relieves tension in the muscles and improves circulation. While you will need to visit a massage therapist for the whole experience, any family member or friend can give home massages that are equally soothing for the neck. It is a good idea to use massage oil for this purpose because it seeps into the skin and gives maximum pain relief. If you aren’t satisfied and feel you want professional massages in the comfort of your home, many massage therapists now make home visits.
4. Topical Pain Relief Products
Even though painkillers are harmful in the long run, there are many alternatives in the market that are completely natural but will help in the same way painkillers do. My Dr. Pain Relief products are a good example. Pain relief sprays, ointments and rubs, commonly called topical pain relief products, are also available. While they are chemical based, they are generally harmless since they are only applied externally. While choosing such a product, be sure to look up the list of ingredients and ensure that they are harmless.
5. Lifestyle Changes
Our lifestyle is the root cause of most of our neck pain issues, hence it makes most sense to rectify things right from there. Reorganize your workplace to reduce stress on the neck, and while sleeping, remember to adequately support your neck with the right pillows. Adjusting your posture while walking and even sitting down and working can act as home remedies for neck pain. Increase physical activity gradually. This can help strengthen your muscles. Stress can also cause neck pain, and trying meditation or yoga to reduce stress might help you overcome it.
While the above list of home remedies for neck pain are efficient and should provide you with results in a week or two, if the pain persists, see a doctor as soon as possible. Unless it stems from an underlying medical condition, we see that most neck pains are avoidable, and it’s always better to make lifestyle changes sooner rather than later. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, so take a little time off your work, for your happiness and physical well being both.