Neck pain and back pain are probably two of the biggest “pains” that can really rain on your parade. In 2010 alone, more than 17 percent of adult women and 12 percent of adult men stated that they had had stiff necks or neck pain of some type.
Chiropractors and other health professional state that neck and shoulder or upper back pain appears to be caused many times by ergonomics and stress. The good news is that, if this is true, then that tormenting pain you have should be temporary.
Everyone wants to know how to get rid of a sore neck fast, but you first need to know what caused it. A sore neck from stress will use a different treatment than a sore neck from sleeping with a worn-out pillow.
Some of the most common causes of neck pain include:
- Poor posture
- Repetitive neck motions
- Clenched jaw while sleeping (or when stressed)
- Poor sleeping habits (stomach sleeping)
- Worn out pillows
There are other things that can cause neck pain, including looking down at phones or tablets for long periods of time, but many people experience neck pain with no obvious cause for it.
Can Neck Pain be a Sign of Something Serious?
Neck pain is a pain in the neck to be sure, but it is rarely a sign of a more serious problem. Even those sharp or stabbing pains, while scary, are often nothing more than an intense muscle contraction, similar to a charley horse.
There are a few things that can cause neck pain and while they are definitely problems, they can be managed. Some common health problems that cause neck pain include:
- Degenerative disc disease
- Bulging disc
If your neck pain is accompanied by other symptoms, including fever, numbness in the hands or arms, unexplained weight loss, fuzzy thinking, or vision problems, see a doctor right away or go to the emergency room.
Otherwise, a sore, stiff, or painful neck is annoying, but rarely anything serious.
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Unique Tips for Neck Pain
You might have tried all the other “neck stretching, neck icing, and hanging your head off of a shirt tied to a doorknob” home remedies and had little or limited results.
If you still aren’t ready to call your local chiropractor, you can give the following 7 unusual tips a try.
Tip #1-Sleep with a Scarf
About 80% of your body heat comes when your muscles contract. When you feel cold, your muscles will contract slightly to generate some heat and try to stay warm. Most people do not sleep with their heads and necks covered at night. If you wake up with neck pain that seems worse in the morning, it could be that your neck is simply cold and is “overworking” itself during the night.
Try sleeping with a scarf around your neck or a turtleneck. Try this for 3 or 4 nights and see if it makes a difference.
Don’t forget that the right pillow can make a huge difference when it comes to neck pain. Pillows, like mattresses, don’t last forever! If you pillow is more than 3-5 years old, it’s probably time for a new one. Try some of the new memory foam pillows with neck supports or water filled pillows that allow you to make them as firm or as soft as you like.
Tip #2-Try Herbal Pain Relievers
If you are popping those over the counter pain killers to deal with neck pain, you aren’t doing yourself any real favors. Try some herbal anti-inflammatory supplements or herbal pain relievers that won’t harm your digestive system. Some examples include:
- Curcumin. A well-researched anti-inflammatory.
- Corydalis Yanhusuo. A traditional Chinese pain reliever, often times simply called Corydalis.
- Mountain Arnica. Used for centuries in creams and lotions to stop pain.
- Ginger. Another powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
- Devil’s Claw. A traditional herb from South Africa with pain relieving compounds.
If you are taking any prescription medications or if you have any type of health problem, consult with your doctor, pharmacist, or chiropractor before consuming any herbal supplements to avoid a possible drug interaction.
Tip #3-Spend 60 Minutes on a Table
Head over to your chiropractors for a sweet neck massage and get ready to spend 60 minutes lying on the table, rather than 30 minutes. Studies have found that those with chronic neck pain received far greater relief from a 60-minute massage than a 30-minute massage.
This makes perfect sense if you think about it. The longer the massage therapist has to work out knots and trigger points, the more effective the massage should be.
When you get a massage done at your chiropractors’ office, you get the added benefit of having the doctor weigh in with their advice or direction regarding where possible problems might lie or areas the massage therapist should pay special attention to.
Tip #4-Hit Up a Pool Party
Well, you don’t literally go to a pool party, but you should make a pool a party to your healing. A warm, heated pool or hot tub can go a long way towards loosening up tight muscles in the neck. How to cure neck pain fast? By gently doing neck pain relief exercises while your neck muscles are warm!
If you don’t have access to a pool or hot tub, you might get the same relief by soaking in a bathtub. Add some Epsom salts to the bath for extra healing power. Epsom salts are magnesium flakes, not salt. Magnesium is responsible for muscle contractions and your body easily absorbs magnesium through the skin. Soak in a very warm tub of water with about 2 cups of Epsom salts and then gently stretch your neck.
You might also try putting hot towels around your neck and then doing some gentle stretches. For the best neck pain treatment at home, try the stretches listed here when your neck muscles are warm and relaxed by hot water or warm towels.
Tip #5-Try Ice but Not on Your Neck
Neck pain often comes with pain in other places, including headaches, shoulder pain, tingling in the hands or at the back of the head, and pain in the wrists.
Sometimes, these pains are due to the unusual way you are holding your head to limit your neck pain, other times these pains are related, such as headaches and neck pain.
Many people try placing ice around the necks, but you might get better results by trying it in other places, such as on the bone directly behind the ear, between the eyebrows, on the base of the neck, or between the thumb and index finger.
Try ice in different places to see if you get relief. Remember that ice should never be placed directly on the skin and that you should use it 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off to prevent damaging the skin.
Tip #6-Try Acupuncture
Although acupuncture has been used for centuries, many people dismiss this ancient form of healing. If you have tried almost everything without success or if your neck pain returns again and again, you might want to at least give acupuncture a try.
Results vary, with about 50% of people claiming success and the other half finding no relief. Some seem to find more relief when using acupuncture in combination with chiropractic care and/or chiropractic massage.
The difference might also rely on the practitioner. Ask for recommendations and read online reviews to see if others have found this particular person to be effective.
Chill, not as in ice, but as in relax! Remember at the beginning of the article we said that many cases of chronic neck pain stem from stress? If you find that your neck pain becomes worse as the day progresses or if it really flares up after a meeting with your boss or a weekend with the in-laws, it could be time to learn some relaxation techniques.
Yoga or tai chi are both terrific stress relievers (as is a chiropractic massage- see #3) and you can do poses that will stretch and strengthen your neck muscles. You can also try meditation, progressive relaxation or abdominal breathing techniques. All of the above are well known ways that people have used for centuries to manage stress.
Pay attention to the things that stress you and find ways to reduce your stress or to at least manage the stress you can’t get rid of.
When All Else Fails
How to heal neck pain? If you have tried everything and nothing has worked to resolve your pain, it’s time to call your chiropractor. At Better Health Alaska Chiropractic and Rehab, we have highly trained doctors who can diagnose the root cause of your neck pain and set up a treatment plan to not only get rid of neck pain fast, but make it stay away!
Our friendly staff would be happy to check your insurance for you and if you have no insurance, you will definitely want to read this article.
We have 4 locations to serve you and offer 4 unique promises that make our chiropractic and other services different from everyone else.
Call us today for an appointment or click here to make an appointment online. We want to see everyone live their best life free from pain. Don’t live with that neck pain, get relief today!