How To Relieve Neck Pain

When you have neck pain, its more than just annoying; it can interfere with your day-to-day activities. An estimated 31 million Americans suffer from back or neck pain at any given time, and most complaints arent from an injury. Instead, neck pain is usually the result of stress or tension, hours at the computer, sitting hunched over a steering wheel, chronically poor posture, or sleeping in the wrong position.

To top it off, the neck is a finicky part of the body that is particularly susceptible to stress and strain. Think about it: The neck has to hold the weight of our heads (between ten and 20 pounds.) When we tense up either because of emotional or physical stress, the blood supply to our neck muscles decrease and pain is created.

The good news is that there are proven ways to get relief, even without visiting the chiropractor or taking a painkiller. The next time you have a pain in the neck, try these remedies:

Massage each side of your neck with your fingers. If the muscles feel cord-like, start with gentle pressure. As the muscles soften increase the pressure slightly. Tilt your head from left to right, hold for the count of 20 for each side. Next, place your hand on top of your head, and stretch your neck towards your shoulder on each side. Be sure to perform these stretches with slow, smooth movements. Avoid making any quick movements.

Try the heat and chill method. Most people feel that using heat is better than applying ice to relieve neck pain. You can apply a heating pad at a comfortable setting (dont use heat if you have inflammation) or an ice pack for no less than twenty minutes at a time. Choose whatever feels best for you. Both methods increase blood circulation to the neck. Sleep with ease. Its important that you try to maintain your neck in a neutral position while sleeping. Old pillows with no give will sabotage this. Invest in new pillows. You might consider purchasing a pillow specifically designed to support your neck. If you can, try out the pillow before you buy it. If stress is the culprit of your neck pain, learn to relax. Take time out from your busy day to unwind: try yoga, read, meditate, go for a leisurely walk, or soak in the bath with a special pillow to lean on.Contact your doctor if your neck pain doesnt lessen after twenty-four hours.Robin Westen is ThirdAges medical reporter. Check for her daily updates.See what others have to say about this story or leave a comment of your own.
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