The neck consists of the vertebrae connecting the skull to the upper torso. In between the bones are discs that absorb shock. The movement of the neck is made possible by a combination of ligaments, muscles, and bones. However, the flexibility of the neck makes it very susceptible to injuries. Poor posture is one of the most common causes of neck-related pain. According to a study published by the National Institute of Health, 70% of the population will report neck pains during their lifetime. Fortunately, neck pains are rarely severe and can be treated. Keep reading to find out the treatment options for neck pains.
Neck stiffness or spasms resulting from poor posture can be remedied at home. Here some of the common home remedies to neck related pain.
- Rest – Sometimes, all you need is to take it easy for a few days. It doesn’t necessarily mean staying in bed; you can still do some work. Ideally, anything that you can do while your neck remains immobile.
- Cold and Heat Therapy – For the first 24 hours, you apply some ice on the neck. Cold is known to reduce inflammation. After that, you use heat to loosen the stiffness and improve circulation. Neither of these should be left on for more than 20 minutes.
- Stretching – If your neck is not too painful to move, merely stretching exercises can help. Move your neck side to side, tilt left to right, and nod up and down. This will help loosen the stiff muscles.
- Medication – You can take over the counter pain medication to relieve the pain. Ibuprofen and acetaminophen are widely available. If you are on other drugs, then check with your doctor first.
Massage uses hands to manipulate muscles and tendons. It improves blood circulation and reduces tension. Massage therapy also improves your range of motion. Although you can get a massage from a friend or partner, it is safer and more effective when done by a professional. Swedish or deep tissue massage is the most effective against neck pains.
Transcutaneous nerve stimulation TENS is a type of treatment that uses electrical current. The process is very safe as only minute amounts of current are used. The unit sends electrical impulses through the skin to the target tissues. It controls the pain receptors providing temporary or permanent pain relief. This treatment is not for everyone. Consult with your doctor first.
Chronic neck pains may require advanced medical intervention. Cervical injections can provide pain relief. Here are standard injection procedures
- Cervical epidural steroid injection – It involves injecting a cortisone steroid solution into the spinal canal’s outer layer. This reduces inflammation of nerve roots and tissues. This treatment can help people with herniated discs.
- Radio Frequency Ablation (RFA) – This treatment option is for neck pain resulting from a facet joint. A precision needle is placed near the sensory nerve. It creates a heat lesion that prevents pain signals from reaching the brain.
- Trigger Point Injection – During this process, thin needles are injected without a solution. It is similar to acupuncture. Local anesthesia is also administered to help calm the muscles.
Professional chiropractors can relieve neck pain by applying controlled and sudden force to the joints. This process improves spinal alignment and helps improve your range of motion. A neck adjustment focuses on your cervical bones and the adjoining tissues. If done right, you will notice an improvement almost immediately. However, it should only be done by a certified chiropractor.
As you can see, neck pains are more common than you think. Treatment options range from simple home remedies to surgery. However, surgical treatment is rarely necessary. In most cases, a day rest and some home remedies should be enough. If the pain persists, then you should see a doctor for further treatment. As with all health issues, prevention is better than cure; good posture and correct sleeping position can save you from neck pain.