My goal in today`s article will not be to cover the topic of neck pain as a whole, of course it is impossible to cover it in just one single article. Our job and main goal today will be to give you a few simple, straightforward ways you can use to get immediate relief for your stiff neck.
I`m sure most of you will like this idea of doing nothing in order to relieve your stiff neck. It may come as a surprise at first but, in some cases, doing nothing can actually be very helpful. By taking the time to lie down and relax you will take the pressure off your muscles, nerves and bones found in the neck and give them a chance to recover.
But you can`t just grab a pillow and lie down, you need to assume the correct position – making sure the curvature of the cervical spine is neutral. To keep your head (and your neck) in a neutral position you will need a smaller pillow, a pillow that will fit the gap between your neck and the bed. You can also try folding a towel to the correct size and placing it under your neck.
There is also an option to buy a specially designed pillow called “cervical pillow”, which you can order online or buy locally. Just make sure it first the natural curve of your neck.
Ideally, you will want to get a massage from a professional but you can certainly do it yourself… or at least get a friend or a family member. The correct way to do it is this:
- If you are doing it yourself, take a seat in front of your desk and rest your head on it. When you are sitting upright the muscles in your neck are still tense, but once you rest your head onto a flat surface they will loosen up
- Reach your arm backward and grab your neck so that the thumb is on one side of the neck and fingers on the other
- Dig your finders deeper into the muscles of the neck in a circular motion, up and down the neck for several minutes
I`m sorry I used a big word to illustrate such a simple concept which is using water in therapeutic purposes. It would be ideal if you could get your hands on some Epsom salt, which will greatly benefit in relaxing a tight muscle and help relieve the stiffness in your neck. If you don`t know where you can buy Epsom salt locally, you can order it at Amazon.com (Click Here to see the current best seller).
Adding 2 cups of salt to a warm bath full of water should be enough. Once you get in, make sure your neck is soaked in the water for about 20 minutes.
4. Cold Pack
Ice is great for cooling down the inflammation, relieving pain and stiffness and it will be most effective if used within the first 48 hours of the injury (or pain sensation). There are several different ways you can apply ice, but the most common one is placing it in a plastic bag and wrapping the bag with a sheet or a pillowcase (you should avoid wrapping it up in towel because it`s too thick).
Of course, if you are all out of ice you can place a bag of frozen goodies or veggies on your neck.
Which ever one you chose, make sure you apply it in 15 minute intervals, no longer.
Another big word, I know, but I`m sure most of you are familiar or at least heard of it. Acupressure is similar to acupuncture, but it doesn`t involve needles. It is based on the concept of life energy which flows through the “meridians” in the body. Applying pressure to certain points around the body will clear blockage in these meridians and help with medical problems.
Here is an interesting video I came across and decided to share with you. Try it out and let me know about the results:
6. Neck Exercises
Recommending exercises for a stiff neck without physical examination can be a bit tricky, because we don`t know the exact cause of the stiffness. But there are a few exercises you can try, just make sure you don`t force yourself, you stop if you feel pain intensifying and you make sure the injury to your neck is not severe enough that movement will make it worse.
- Nodding – a simple exercise where you will nod your head forward `till you chin touches your chest (if you can`t touch your chest with your chin that is not a problem) and backward until you can see your ceiling
- Shaking – the exercise is nothing more than that head shake you make when you disagree with someone, turning your head from left to right. Make sure you don`t more your head up or down, just left to right.
- Tilting – remember how your dog tilts his head to the side when he doesn`t have a clue what you are asking him to do? Well this is the exact movement you will want to try. Just tilt your head to one side as much as you can, return to neutral position and tilt to the opposite side.
Repeat each exercise 10-20 times.
There are some debates going on about whether you should or should wear a neck collar if you experience stiffness in your neck. But most practitioners agree that keeping your neck mobile (if the injury is not sever enough) is the preferred way to go.
8. Over The Counter Med`s
Of course, the last line of defense (first line for some) is using medication. Even though medication will help you, you need to realize that medication will only address the symptoms rather than the root cause of your problem. But they will certainly help relieve neck pain and stiffness. Ibuprofen is the preferred NSAID for neck pain sufferers.
- Img credit – https://www.flickr.com/people/taraangkorhotel/
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