Long working hours spent in front of the computer, usually in a not-so-comfortable chair, the stress of everyday life, and bad posture can all result in constant neck pain.
If you’re dealing with these issues, one of the most important things is to learn how to get rid of neck pain quickly and efficiently.
Start By Determining The Cause Of Your Sore Neck
Before you move on to finding the right cure for your sore neck, you should determine the underlying cause for the pain and discomfort you’re feeling. More often than not, cause and treatment of neck pain are interlinked, and you should treat them as such.
What does this mean?
It means that, instead of jumping right to the solution, you have to understand the problem better first. That’s particularly true when you’re using home remedies. The best way to do that would be to ask yourself a few basic, but fundamental questions, such as:
Are you any closer to finding the possible cause of your neck pain? If you’re still feeling pretty clueless as to why your neck hurts, take a look at some of the most common reasons reported by others – maybe this will help you clear things up:
Injury Or Accident
You can probably already guess the type of injury that commonly results in unceasing neck pain.
That’s right: Whiplash, the number one reason for neck pain, as far as injuries go.
This type of injury is often a result of car accidents, but just because you haven’t been in one, doesn’t mean the pain you’re feeling couldn’t be a result of whiplash.
While you can commonly see it in car accidents, athletes (both amateur and professional) are also prone to neck strains of this sort.
But how do you know if what you’re dealing with is, in fact, whiplash symptoms?
Here’s the truth about this condition: Any sudden movement that causes your head to move forward or backward in a whipping motion – hence the name whiplash – could result in a neck strain.
Trust me, you’ll know. First off, it will be pretty much impossible to ignore the pain – headaches, a decreased range of motion, tenderness, and a feeling of tightness in the neck often accompany the pain sensation.
Note: If you do feel like you may be experiencing symptoms of whiplash, please make an appointment with your health provider for a detailed evaluation of your condition.
Stress And Anxiety
At the risk of going off-topic here, did you know that an average human head can weigh up to 15 pounds?
Why am I telling you this? Well, I feel like it’s essential for you to understand that our neck muscles have to deal with a lot on a daily basis, just to keep our heads up.
Add a little stress to the mix, and you’ll get the perfect recipe for disaster, or, in this case, pain in the neck.
Here’s what I’ve noticed:
- People are quick to assume that only injuries and diseases can cause them to feel pain in a particular part of their body, forgetting that even things like stress and emotional tension can result in physical manifestations, as well.
- Maybe you won’t be able to pinpoint the exact cause of your neck pain, but if lately you’re under a lot of stress or feel anxious for whatever reason, and you’re feeling the consequences in your neck (or even shoulders), there might be more than just a coincidence there.
- Pain and stiffness you’re feeling can be – and probably are – caused by your muscles contracting, and your entire body tensing up as a response to everyday life stressors, and as such, they could quickly turn into a long-term, chronic issue.
Sometimes the answer is rather obvious, but you’re readily ignoring it – maybe you’re just getting old? Numerous age-related diseases could be causing your neck pain, because, to put it plainly, aging affects your cervical spine (the top 7 vertebrae, to be exact).
However, keep in mind that, more often than not, neck pain caused by degenerative spinal conditions is followed by several other symptoms, such as pain in and around the shoulder blades, various arm-related problems (weakness, numbness, or pain), and the like.
Osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, and spinal stenosis are some of the most common age-related conditions that might be causing your neck pain.
If your neck pain is something that pops up from time to time, it may be entirely possible that you just slept in an awkward position and, instead of giving them a well-deserved rest, put a lot of unnecessary stress on your neck muscles.
Alternatively, it could just be the pillow – or the mattress, for that matter – you’re using. Our body goes through a lot of stress during the day, and the least we could do is provide it with enough comfort and support during the night.
If you have the time for some pillow talk, take a look at my article on finding the best pillows for neck pain – maybe you’ll find one that could help you cure neck pain for good.
How long have you been dealing with neck pain? If you can’t seem to find any reasonable explanation for it, and you don’t think any of the previously mentioned factors have anything to do with the pain you’re feeling, maybe it’s time to make an appointment at your doctor’s office.
While it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a more serious underlying cause, when the pain you’re feeling is not only prolonged, but severe, as well, or it affects your daily life in any way, you should seek medical attention.
Better safe than sorry, right?
How To Get Rid Of Neck Pain: Proven Treatment Methods
Our busy, hectic lifestyles often don’t give us much time to heal and recover from the health-related issues we’re dealing with – we are pretty much compelled to find quick and easy fixes, and move on with our daily routine.
The same goes for neck pain, which is why I’ve decided to dedicate an entire article on how to get rid of neck pain – and how to do it fast.
Here are some of the best pain relieving methods out there:
Before I go into detail, I would like to suggest something:
Start by taking a long, hot shower; not only does this loosen the muscles a bit, but it helps you relax after a long, stressful day, as well. Another proven way to warm up your muscles is to apply a hot compress – in case you don’t have the time to take a hot shower, this will do the job.
Now let’s move on to the actual stretching – the following list contains some of the most helpful neck stretching exercises out there. So, if you’re looking for instant relief, you’re at the right place. Pick one, or try all of them – that’s entirely up to you.
These are the simple stretches everyone knows from gym class; all you need to do is move your head side to side, then back and forth. However, do these movements slowly; if, at any moment, the pain in your neck increases, don’t push yourself – stop what you’re doing, and slowly return to your starting position.
Your range of motion will improve as you continue with these stretches, so be patient and take it slow.
Seated Neck Release
If the side of your neck has been troubling you throughout the day, this simple – and, most importantly, gentle – stretch could be all you need. You can sit on a chair (feet flat on the ground), or on the floor (cross-legged position), with your left hand placed by your side, or on your left knee – whichever feels more comfortable.
Your right hand, however, should be placed on top of your head. Begin stretching by slowly tilting your head to the right, using your hand as a way of applying pressure and increasing the stretch. Hold the position for about 30 seconds, return to center, then repeat the stretch on the left side.
Behind The Back Stretch
Here’s another suggestion on how to deal with pain located on the side of your neck. The best thing about the stretch is that it could be done pretty much anywhere – even in your office.
Get into a standing position (your feet should be hip-width apart), with your arms by your side. Reaching out behind your back, use your right hand to grab your left wrist, and try to straighten your left arm gently. To feel the stretch in your neck, lower your head, as if you were trying to touch your right shoulder with your ear.
Stay in the position for about 30 seconds before you switch sides.
Seated Clasping Neck Stretch
If you’re experiencing pain in the back of your neck, then what you need is this deep, relaxing stretch that not only targets the back of your neck but your upper back, as well.
You could either sit on a chair, or on the floor cross-legged – whichever you find more comfortable, clasp your hands, and bring them to the back of your head. Now, to start stretching, gently pull your hands towards your thighs; your chin will end up tucked into your chest.
However, to make this stretch count, you need to include the heels of your palms into it – use them to pull your head, as if you were trying to take it apart from your shoulders. Hold the position for 30 seconds before you release.
Note: Even though most of us learned in gym class that neck circles are valid – and recommended – a way of stretching our neck muscles, research showed that this type of movement (extending combined with rotating) puts unnecessary pressure onto the cervical spine.
For someone who’s already dealing with neck pain, neck circles are probably not recommended.
One thing you should try is swimming; not only is it a great way to stay in shape (which may prevent neck pain reoccurring in the future), but an excellent way of reducing inflammation, and easing neck stiffness, as well.
However, not everyone finds that swimming works for them – in some cases, it may turn out to be too strenuous on the neck’s muscles. If you feel the same way about swimming, opt for water therapy instead.
Whichever the case may be, one thing’s for sure:
Hitting the pool should be one of your top choices for dealing with neck pain.
If you don’t have access to a pool, don’t worry, there are still plenty of options left; have you considered yoga, for example?
And don’t think that the only way to try yoga is by joining a class. Since it doesn’t require more than yoga matt and some free time – you can find most yoga poses thoroughly explained online – there’s no reason for you to skip on a chance to experience something as beneficial as yoga.
As far as neck pain goes, there are some poses you could try, that could relieve neck pain and overall muscle tension almost instantly:
- Cat Pose
- Child’s Pose
- Cow Pose
- Extended Puppy Pose
- Extended Triangle Pose
- Thread The Needle
- Bridge Pose
- Fish Pose
- Corpse Pose
As a mineral that is essential for the proper functioning of your body (most body tissues included), it’s no wonder that magnesium plays such a huge role in getting rid of neck pain. Since it aids in muscle contraction and relaxation, signs of magnesium deficiency are, more often than not, seen affecting skeletal muscles.
The thing about magnesium intake, though, is that a lot of people – up to ¾ of Americans – suffer from various levels of magnesium deficiency, and numerous effects associated with it.
Now, how can you know if you’re not consuming enough magnesium in your diet, and, most importantly, what can you do to fix that?
There are several ways you could up your daily magnesium intake:
Eat Magnesium-Rich Foods
Dark leafy greens, beans, whole grains, fruits (such as bananas and avocado) all contain high levels of magnesium, so make them a standard part of your diet. Also, if you ever wanted an excuse for eating more chocolate, you’ve found one – dark chocolate (85 percent cocoa) is on the list of top ten magnesium foods.
Take Oral Dietary Supplements
If you don’t think your diet will provide the daily amount required to keep you healthy and in top shape, consider using dietary supplements high in magnesium, instead. However, be sure to follow the guidelines provided on the label, as it is, in fact, possible to overdose on magnesium.
Try Magnesium Oil And Epsom Salt Baths
Some people have reported a significant improvement in their overall health – especially as far as muscle soreness goes – since they began using magnesium oil as a topical treatment for their sore neck.
Another method of increasing magnesium levels is by taking Epsom salt baths. All you need to do is add two cups of this bath salt to a warm bath, and soak in it for at least 12 minutes – it would be best to do this up to three times a week.
Remember all those times your mother warned you about your posture?
Well, guess what: she was right. Good posture matters – a lot!
So, if you’ve recently developed a pain in your neck without any other reasonable explanation as to why, or other symptoms that would indicate a disorder of some sort, maybe you should pay attention to your posture.
We spend most of our time either in front of a computer screen or looking at our phones, which wouldn’t be much of an issue if we took care of our posture. Let me ask you something:
While you’re reading this, what is your pose? Can you honestly say you’re sitting with your back and head straight, and your phone (or any other device) at eye-level? I’m guessing no – it’s no wonder 70 percent of people experience neck pain at least once in their lifetime.
Here are a few simple tips for improving your posture and, in turn, fixing (or better yet, prevent) some postural distortion patterns, and health-related issues, such as neck pain:
- Standing Posture – Your stomach muscles play a significant role in keeping your posture in order, so don’t forget about them. As always, essential steps to achieving a better stance are aligned, and slightly pushed back shoulders, straight back (not ramrod straight, though), and chin parallel to the ground.
Some core exercises could drastically improve your posture, as well, so give them a try. Of course, this will take some time, so be patient and keep yourself in check at all times. What I would suggest is to take a look at the mirror every chance you get, just to make sure you’re not slouching or sticking your chest out unintentionally.
- Sitting Posture– Always sit up with your shoulders back, and your back straight; of course, three standard back curves should still be present while you rest. If you have a problem finding the right position, a lumbar roll or a rolled up towel could help you find – and maintain – these natural back curves.
Another thing you should remember is to distribute the weight evenly on both your hips, as well as to keep your knees bent at a right angle.
If the pain becomes unbearable and starts to interfere with your daily routine, you should try using one of the following non-prescription pain relievers:
Here’s why using these over-the-counter pain relievers is a good idea:
They’re meant to be used to relieve pain and reduce inflammation, making it easier for you to start your healing process. Once the pain is gone – or has subsided to a more bearable level – enough for you to move around, you should try one of the methods I talked about previously.
The best thing you could do at this point is to start with some gentle neck stretches, as well as light exercise, but be careful not to overdo it – when you’re dealing with neck pain, it’s important not to put your body through any unnecessary strains.
Note: Whenever you’re using medications that your doctor hasn’t prescribed – OTC meds – read the label directions carefully and make sure you follow them to the letter. That’s particularly important when it comes to the recommended daily dose, which you should never exceed.
Alternatively, you could try using topical pain medications – these are meant to be applied to the skin and are supposed to reduce localized pain. If a sore muscle causes your neck pain, you should probably try one of the recommended over-the-counter topical ointment brands; for best results, combine them with one of the gentle massage techniques.
Neck braces have been around for centuries, and, to this day, many different types are developed to aid in recovery from neck injuries or to relieve pain.
Today, however, I’m going to focus on one that health professionals often prescribe to those who have sustained an injury known as whiplash and developed an unceasing neck pain due to it – the soft neck collar.
If you think you could be a suitable candidate – and nothing else seems to help – you should make an appointment with your health provider, and ask them about the collar.
It could help you by supporting your head’s weight, and give your neck – the soft tissue in it, to be precise – enough time to heal correctly.
Note: If you do end up wearing a soft neck collar, be sure to stick to the recommended time; it may not seem like it, but if you wear it longer than you should, you could weaken your neck muscles, and do more damage than good.
Sometimes home remedies just aren’t enough to ease your neck pain, which is usually a sign it’s time to call in the pros. In case you’ve tried every trick in the book, but the pain in your neck is still there, you should probably consider going to a physiotherapist.
A physical therapist should be able to restore your range of movements to its original level, as well as to relieve discomfort and pain you’re feeling with the help of specific manipulations and exercises.
Of course, you’ll have to go through a complete evaluation before you can move on to being treated; this will make sure that these manipulations won’t end up further extending your existing injuries.
The best thing about seeing a medical professional is that they will show you not only how to strengthen and stretch your neck and vertebrae, but how to improve your posture, as well, thus preventing neck pain from recurring.
A day at the spa could also work rather well, especially if what’s causing your neck troubles isn’t a result of an injury, but stress-related muscle tension.
If you don’t have the time – or the money – to go to a professional, don’t worry – you haven’t run out of options just yet. Luckily for you, there are some gentle massages you could perform at home, either by yourself or with a little help from your loved one.
It’s important to remember that you can’t expect to see results overnight, so be persistent. In some cases, one session may be enough to provide instant relief.
However, it would be best to make this massage a part of your daily routine, so set aside a half an hour or so each day and enjoy this relaxing – and most importantly, beneficial – neck massage.
Oh, and one more thing: Find a quiet and peaceful place where you can do try these self-massage techniques, and remember to breathe – slow and deep breaths will help you calm down.
Sometimes just breathing correctly, and making your exhales a bit longer than your inhales, could be enough to relieve the pain, especially if what you’re suffering from is stress-related muscle tension.
Once you reach a calm and relaxed state, you can move to the actual massage.
The entire course of the massage could be broken down into several techniques:
Start by placing the palm of your hand (keep the thumb parallel to the rest of your fingers) to the back your neck, and apply a gentle squeeze. The amount of pressure you’re using should feel right, so don’t squeeze or pinch too hard – just enough to feel your muscles move. Once you’ve done that, slowly turn your head to the opposite side; so, if you’re using your right hand, start by turning to the left, and vice versa.
While you’re doing this, remember breathing as a significant part of relaxation, and hold each position for one breath before you return to center. Repeat this move five to seven times in each direction.
You could also try making a fist and placing the knuckles of your index and middle finger just below your ear. Inhale deeply, and slowly turn your head to the side as you exhale. Hold your head in that position for one breath, then go back to center.
Again, there’s no need to apply a lot of pressure – you’ll notice that the muscles pretty much massage themselves on your knuckles as you start moving your head. Repeat this range of movements five to seven times on both sides.
There’s another variation of the previously mentioned massage, which is particularly useful if you’re dealing with pain on the side of your neck. The starting position is pretty much the same – grasping the base of your skull with the palm of your hand and applying pressure. However, this time, you should do it using only the heel of your hand.
Instead of turning your head, you should keep it centered, and move your hand, working your way down to where your neck meets your shoulders, then back up – repeat this several times, and end with a gentle stretch.
If the particular area that’s bothering you is the back of your neck, find a couple of scarves (two or three should be enough) and wrap them in a braid-like shape. Holding both ends with your hands, place the “scarf braid” behind your neck, and slowly rub it up and down, as well as side to side.
That should be enough to relieve tension build-up in your neck.
How To Get Rid Of Neck Pain: Final Thoughts
So, there you have it – some of the best advice on how to get rid of neck pain. The best thing about this list is that, for the most part, it doesn’t just focus on providing quick relief – the main idea was to provide you with ways to combat pain and take care of your overall health, thus preventing neck pain from recurring again in the future.
I hope you found these home remedies helpful!
If you feel like I left something out, feel free to leave a comment – I’d like to know about other neck pain relieving methods that might have worked for you.