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Five Quick Fixes for Neck Pain

Living with persistent pain and discomfort can be upsetting and affect your routine and quality of life. Neck pain can make it hard to get through a day at work, live an active lifestyle, or even sit or sleep comfortably. Visit Redefine Healthcare to get expert help for easing your pain with treatment methods that are personalized to your exact needs. Dr. Eric Freeman is a board-certified specialist and offers the most advanced pain management options available today. He listens to your complaints, gets to the bottom of your pain, and delivers the highest quality, comprehensive rehabilitation care by addressing the source of your discomfort while preventing future problems.

Neck pain manifests itself in many different ways. Whether it is a stiff neck, muscle spasms or a deep throbbing ache, or sharp stabbing pain, it can disturb your life and activities. To prevent neck pain from becoming a chronic concern, it is essential to address it right away, as soon as possible.

Top 5 Fixes for Neck Pain

Mild to moderate neck pain can be easily fixed at home with self-care treatments and home remedies. Here are five quick fixes for neck pain that can help you feel better without too much downtime.

Five Quick Fixes for Neck Pain

Gentle Stretching

According to experts, the key to quickly fixing a stiff neck is proper stretching and manipulation.
Slow range of motion exercises, up and down, side to side, and from ear to ear a few times a day can gently stretch the neck muscles. Certain yoga poses can also ease neck pain.

As long as your doctor has not advised against moving the next, try the following stretches:

  • Roll your shoulders backward ten times, then forward ten times
  • Squeeze the shoulder blades toward each other ten times
  • Lean your head back into the hands and hold it there for 30 seconds
  • Gently lean your ear toward the shoulder ten times on each side
  • Slowly turn your head from side to side, as far as is comfortable

It is important to remember that while you are stretching, you must avoid sudden or jerky movements. Stretch slowly and gently, breathing in and out fully. Sudden movements or overstretching can result in even more pain and injury. Stretching relieves the pain and stiffness and also prevents it from recurring in the future.

Alternate Ice and Heat Therapy

Both ice and heat can work together to soothe a strained or torn muscle and give it time to heal. They provide timely relief from pain for an overworked spot on the neck. Alternate between ice and heat to ease your pain. Use ice for the first 48 to 72 hours and then switch to heat.

Apply an ice pack to the affected area on the neck and keep it there for about 20 minutes. Ice reduces inflammation and swelling by lowering the flow of blood to the area. If your neck pain seems to be muscular, moist heat is a great way to ease it. Take warm showers, use a hot compress or heating pad to relax the tensed muscles and improve blood flow.

Experts recommend icing for 20 minutes a few times a day or after every three to four hours for soft tissue injuries. Whichever method you use, do not apply heat or cold directly to the skin or fall asleep during the therapy. Always use a thin towel to prevent skin injuries.

Relaxing Massage

A gentle massage can fix your neck pain and ease the soreness or stiffness you are going through. Softly pressing and touching in and around the painful area soothes the muscles surrounding the spine and alleviates neck tension.

You can book a massage at a local spa or call a trained practitioner to loosen your neck and back muscles. The therapist will try a variety of techniques to determine which is most effective for your particular pain and relieves the discomfort. Electronic neck massagers are also available in the market and help you do it at home.

Over-The-Counter Pain Relievers

Over-the-counter pain-relieving medications can ease the painful symptoms as the neck heals naturally. Some of the most common OTC pain relief medications include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and acetaminophen. They can control mild to moderate pain, but should not be used for more than a few days.

Make sure to take them as directed by the doctor or per the instructions on the label, as over dosage can result in negative effects. If these medications fail to help you or the stiffness and soreness in the neck do not get better, stop using them and call your doctor.

Stress-Reducing Techniques

Neck pain that is resulting from tension in the neck, shoulder or back muscles due to high stress can be managed by practicing effective stress-reducing techniques.

The following stress-reducing techniques can help you avoid stress and pain during a pretty hectic day:

  • Listening to music
  • Mediating or taking a moment to recollect your thoughts
  • Taking a short break from high-stress situations at work or home
  • Participating in an activity or hobby that brings you peace or joy
  • Talking to someone to relieve a stressful event

Setting healthier boundaries in your personal and professional life is also effective for dealing with stress in a better way. Learning to say no gives you a chance to stay tension free. By keeping the stress down, you can treat neck pain and stiffness and prevent further episodes in the future.

How to Prevent Neck Stiffness

Most of the time, neck pain is associated with poor posture combined with age-related wear and tear. A stiff neck can be prevented with lifestyle changes, ergonomic work tools, and strengthening muscles and bones for a healthier body. You must keep your head centered over your spine.

Top tips for preventing neck pain include:

  • Maintaining a good posture with shoulders in a straight line over the hips and ears directly over the shoulders.
  • Avoiding bending your neck for a long time when using cell phones, tablets, and other small screens to look at the device.
  • Taking frequent breaks if working at a computer to get up, move around and stretch your neck and shoulder.
  • Adjusting your desk, chair, and computer so the monitor is at eye level while knees are slightly lower than hips. Using the chair’s armrests can help to prevent muscular pain.
  • Quitting smoking as it increases the risk of developing neck pain.
  • Avoiding carrying heavy bags with straps over your shoulder, as excessive weight can strain your neck.
  • Your head and neck should be properly aligned with the body when you sleep. It is best to use a small pillow under the neck. Try lying down on your back with thighs elevated on pillows that will flatten the spinal muscles.
  • Staying active can help to prevent neck pain as lack of activity weakens muscles making them more vulnerable to injuries.
  • Learning to manage stress, as it can tense the muscles and lead to stiffness and pain.

Taking the right measures to prevent neck pain gives you a chance to enjoy a better quality of life and be a part of the activities you love.

When to Consult a Doctor for Neck Pain?

If your neck pain is severe, lasts for weeks, and restricts your ability to move your head, consult a doctor. Pain that radiates down the shoulder or feels worse in the morning may be a warning sign of some underlying medical condition, and it should not be ignored. If you have recently experienced an injury, do not take it lightly, as seeking timely help can keep it from worsening.

In some cases, arthritis, infection, or a compressed nerve may be the reason behind neck pain. The specialist will recommend additional treatment with quick fixes depending on the level of pain you have. Seek immediate medical attention if your neck pain is accompanied by loss of strength or numbness in the arms, or hands or causes pain that shoots into a shoulder or down an arm.

Neck pain is common among people who work long hours on computers or workstations, carry heavy loads frequently, or have poor postures. Osteoarthritis is also a known cause of neck pain and stiffness. Neck pain is rarely a sign of a more serious or life-threatening problem but it is best to be careful.

If neck pain is affecting your life and restricting normal movements, visit Refine Healthcare, New Jersey’s leading pain management practice, to get the best solutions to relieve your discomfort. Dr. Eric Freeman understands that neck pain can result from overworked muscles, stress, and poor postures and suggests personalized treatment plans that address the source and type of pain you are going through. With his proficient and compassionate medical team, he helps you overcome several pain conditions related to the neck, spine, and knees. You can look forward to the highest quality care and long-term relief from neck pain with little or no downtime.

Page Updated on Dec 12, 2022 by Dr. Freeman (Pain Management Specialist) of Redefine Healthcare

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Dr. Eric D. Freeman

Dr. Eric D. Freeman is a top-rated, best-in-class pain management doctor. He is a nationally recognized pain relief specialist and is among the top pain care doctors in New Jersey and the country. He is an award-winning expert and contributor to prominent media outlets.

Dr. Eric D. Freeman has been recognized for his thoughtful, thorough, modern approach to treating chronic pain. He has been named a “top pain management doctor in New Jersey” and one of “America’s Top Physicians” for advanced sports injury treatments.

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