There’s nothing worse than having a nagging pain and not being able to figure out why – or make it go away. Sometimes, these kinds of pains plague people for many, many years. That is no way to live your life!
Some of the most common pains include the lower back, upper back, and neck pains. Other people experience hip or general joint pains. In this article, we are going to focus on neck pain. If you have some neck pain that won’t go away, you should read on to find out all the things you can do to try and combat or cure your pains.
Causes of Neck Pain
If you have neck pain issues, it’s always good to try and understand the root cause of your pain. Neck pain can often be caused by injury. As you can probably imagine, it’s super easy to strain or hurt your neck muscles or bones. The neck is very exposed and does its best to hold up and protect your head, even under immense pressure. Whiplash, for example, is a hugely common neck injury, often due to car accidents.
In many cases, neck pain stems from old age or general wear and tear. The muscles in your neck are used almost all day every single day. They’re even under pressure when you sleep in certain positions. It should come as no surprise that sometimes, neck muscles wear tired and thin.
This can be a worry. “How will my neck ever get better?” Luckily, there is plenty you can do to help your neck, even if it is just a bit worn out!!
When to See a Chiropractor
As you will see below, there are plenty of home remedies and exercises to try when your neck is in pain. These are short-term fixes, though they can help cure long-term pain. The issue is, without proper assessment, you could potentially prolong your injury or do more harm to your body.
So, whether your pain stems from an injury or long-term wear and tear issue, it is always worth seeking professional help. If you are looking for a trusted chiropractor in Ocala, for example, it’s easy to find one online. Search via the internet for a local chiropractor and book yourself an appointment.
The first thing a chiropractor will do is assess your body. You may be surprised, but they will likely assess far more than just your neck. You may have spinal issues, a posture correction issue, or even unbalanced shoulders, any of which could be leading to severe neck pain.
The assessment could take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes depending on the extent of your pain/injury. If your issues are not immediately obvious, you may require some imaging. Scans such as CAT and MRI scans can help to pinpoint where pain may be originating, meaning that treatment can be more tailored.
Once a chiropractor has a good idea of where your pain may be coming from, they can start to offer your treatment options. In most cases, this treatment will be spinal adjustments and physical therapy. Don’t fear those words – a chiropractor is specially trained to adjust the spinal column using chiropractic alignment methods. Once everything is set in place, they can help you through a period of physical therapy.
If you’d like to try some home remedies before reaching out to a chiropractor, there are some listed below. A gentle warning, though; to try these methods very carefully. Do not overexert your neck or back muscles to beat your pain. You could end up hurting yourself more than you already have. So, take these methods as gently as possible and see if you can find any improvement in your neck.
Apply Heat or Ice
As with any muscle or inflammatory condition, heat or ice can help. Ice helps to reduce initial swelling when an injury occurs, helping to prevent unnecessary tenderness or pain. Once this initial phase of 48-72 hours has passed, you can use heat to keep treating the muscles in your neck. Hot showers or a hot compress will do the job. Monitor the pain over a week or so and see if you have made any improvements.
As mentioned, the majority of neck pain will come from inflamed muscles or joints. So, NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can help. In the short term, NSAIDs may reduce pain and swelling. However, if your neck does not improve after a week or so, you should stop taking the meds and seek medical attention. No one should take pain meds daily for more than a week or two, if avoidable.
Stretch and Move
There are plenty of chiropractor-recommended stretches and movements that can help you relax your neck muscles and build them back to strength. Rolling and squeezing the shoulder blades are often recommended moves to combat neck pain. On top of this, touching your ear to your shoulder for a few seconds is a classic neck stretch. Read up on the recommended stretches and remember to take them slowly!
If you can afford to – and want to give it a try – why not seek out a masseuse? They may not be chiropractors but they are likely more experienced with neck pain than you! Massage can help to soothe unwanted neck strains and pains. Just make sure you find a decent masseuse!
Finally, a big problem that causes a lot of neck pain is inappropriate pillows and bedding. If your mattress or pillows are too hard, they can cause you to sleep at an awkward angle. These angles can cause extreme pressure on your neck muscles and thoracic joints, leading to unnecessary and unwanted pain. Try adjusting pillows to help you sleep with a straight spine and see if that helps.
These tips, whether via a chiropractor or home remedy, can help you beat the awful pain that is neck pain! Try and look after your neck better at home, and if you can’t, then go get some expert advice. You definitely won’t regret having that neck pain sorted.