What can you do to relieve neck pain at home?
Most neck pain can be treated with self-care at home – with or even without guidance from a medical professional.
However, sometimes there could be certain underlying serious medical conditions that might be causing neck pain. So, if that is the case, you should always consult your doctor about treatments to try.
This article gives some at-home neck pain remedies to relieve neck pain and essential tips to avoid neck stiffness and prevent neck pain.
Self-Care for Stiff Neck & Neck Pain
If neck pain is not debilitating or has not been caused by trauma, the pain can usually be treated with self-care. Here are the neck pain self-care tips.
Ice and/or heat
Applying a cold pack can help decrease swelling (inflammation) by reducing blood flow to an area. Applying heat does the opposite; it stimulates blood flow and provides healing nutrients to the injured area, which helps relax sore neck muscles. But keep in mind to wrap the pack in a towel. Don’t use it directly on your skin.
Both ice and heat packs can work together to help soothe a torn or strained muscle and help it to heal. Applying heat and cold packs in rotation can provide timely pain relief for an overworked area on your body, such as the neck.
Limit ice or heat therapy to 15 or 20 minutes with at least a two-hour break in between to give enough time for the skin to recover.
In general, you can apply heat and/or cold packs several times a day for about 15-20 minutes each time, but your doctor will tell you exactly how long to leave it on.
Make sure you don’t apply ice or heat packs directly on the skin. Use a cold compress pack and heating pad instead.
Short period of rest
Strenuous movements and activities that aggravate your pain need to be avoided for a few days. However, some movement is helpful to prevent the neck from becoming stiffer and weaker.
Gentle stretches but avoid sudden movements
Certain gentle range-of-motion stretches can help relieve neck pain and muscle tightness and prevent them from recurring in the future. However, avoid overstretching and sudden movements. If a particular stretch or movement increases pain, stop and try another stretching exercise instead.
Make sure to stretch slowly and gently. Always breathe in and out fully. Stretches to ease neck stiffness and pain are usually straightforward and can be done at home or your office desk.
Stretches typically used to help with neck pain & stiffness include:
- Roll your shoulders forward and then backward in a circle
- Press your shoulder blades together lightly, holding the position for a few seconds, and then repeating
- Gently turn your head from side to side, as far as is comfortable
To help ease tension in your neck and alleviate neck pain, you can do these simple neck stretches at home or even at the office. (Watch this video for Neck Pain Relief Stretches)
Remember: If your pain increases while doing a neck stretch, stop that exercise and try the other one. If the pain persists, consult your doctor.
Schedule Break Time
If your work involves sitting for long hours—whether at work or home —make sure to get up and stretch about every hour.
Why should you need a break? Often you tend to hold one position for long times, such as if you spend long hours looking at a computer. When you hold a position for too long, you strain your muscles—including your neck muscles.
In addition, certain lifestyle changes can play a role in preventing neck pain. Some examples are: having a more physically active lifestyle, using correct posture throughout the day, and quitting smoking.
About Author: Renu Bakshi, AKA Fitness Buffhq, is ISSA Certified Elite Trainer. He passed Personal Fitness Trainer Course, Nutrition Health Coach course & Specialist Exercise Therapy course from ISSA, the USA, obtaining + 97% marks. He shares his experience and knowledge about nutrition and effective workouts to get you in the best shape of your life, no matter how old you may be. The author says: “For me, age is just a number!”