5 Treatments that Help with Neck Pain
Updated: Jun 23, 2022
The excessive use of mobile phones and other gadgets mean that people often spend hours in uncomfortable and unnatural body positions. These positions end up straining the soft tissues and the muscles present in the back and neck region. According to research, 20 to 70% adults will deal with neck pain at some point in their lives, with approximately 40% experiencing frequent or chronic neck pains. A stiff neck can impair your sleep as well as your overall day-to-day routine.
Neck Pain – Causes:
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).
Herniated disc caused by poor sleeping positions.
Neck Pain – Treatments:
The right treatment for neck pain will depend upon what your examinations and tests reveal. An effective treatment strategy will involve pinpointing any environmental factors or measures that contribute or exacerbate your stiff neck. The precise treatment will also vary according to the severity of the symptoms. Often, trial-and-error will be required to reach the optimal treatment approach. There are several treatment methods that can be used, either in isolation or in different combinations. Some of these methods include exercises, home remedies, physical therapy, cold and heat therapies, and chiropractic care. These therapies are particularly effective at treating neck pain caused by irritation of the nerve root. The main objectives of neck pain treatments are to reduce symptoms, improve mobility, and strengthen the spinal muscles in order to avoid neck pain and stiffness from reoccurring.
In this blog, we will be discussing these therapeutic and preventative measures for neck pain.
1. Physical Therapy:
Physical therapy is basically a set of movements that have to be performed. These movements will vary from person to person and condition to condition. The primary objective of passive physical therapy is the reduction of inflammation and swelling. Physical therapy programs are designed to not just alleviate the symptoms but also to facilitate the recovery of the joints and muscles, and, as a result, restore normal neck movement and functioning. In addition, physical therapy will help you counter the negative effects of poor posture and positioning and can certainly help with pain, stiffness, and lack of mobility.
Depending upon a person’s posture, spinal condition and alignment, a physical therapist will come up with stretches that will help effectively correct and address the issues. This is why we recommend discussing your neck issues with a physical therapist instead of attempting to correct it yourself. Usually, a physical therapist will develop a customized training program that will treat neck and back pain, thereby helping you avoid the surgical route. The training program will include stretches that will strengthen your neck and reduce stiffness. Physical therapies can also be beneficial for patients who do not exercise much or are unable to endure other treatment methods as their programs are tailored to the patient’s condition and abilities. With time, your physical therapist might include more active and passive treatments to your plan and introduce exercises you can also do at home to strengthen your muscles.
Most often, muscle strains and sprains are to be blamed for stiff necks. However, the good news is that, normally, these strains and sprains are healed within a few days. A passive physical therapy will offer pain relief and increased motion range. Even though it is hard to measure a person’s commitment to a personalized program, there have been many instances where physical therapy has proven to be useful for alleviating neck pain.
2. Home remedies:
a) Stress reduction:
Stress leads to tight muscles, which in turn, cause neck pain. Hence, stress management strategies can go a long way in not just relieving your neck pain but also preventing future occurrences.
Additionally, when we speak about stress, we are not just talking about emotional but also physical stress. Make sure that you are using a supportive neck pillow and a firm mattress for sleeping. Addressing your sleeping positions and environment can go a long way in relieving neck stiffness and pain.
Rarely, neck pain can indicate something more sinister, such as an infection or a tumor. In such circumstances, it is essential to address the underlying cause as soon as possible. Else, the problem will just continue to worsen and become harder to treat. Having said that, even if a cancerous tumor is causing your neck pain, performing the right exercises can help reduce the tumor size.
b) Stretching and exercises:
Remaining active is one of the easiest and most effective ways of preventing neck issues. It is particularly important to keep the neck moving and avoid strenuous tasks that overpressure your neck. The stronger and more flexible your neck muscles are, the less susceptible they will be to pain and stiffness. In addition, regularly working out your neck also helps to avoid injury. You should look up exercises that you can perform while working long hours on a desk in front of your computer. Gently stretching and moving your neck, for instance, will prevent it from going stiff and causing you pain and discomfort.
c) Limiting Activities that Worsen Neck Issues:
Alongside stretching, there are several other aerobic exercises such as running or walking that can ease your neck stiffness. These exercises are particularly useful for people who are unable to tolerate stretches that well. Sometimes, people who have sprained their necks or sustained any other kind of neck injury, want to avoid or limit working out – which can impair their post-treatment functioning. For instance, a person who used to swim might not want to do it after a neck injury, owing to the vigorous head movements associated with swimming. However, even when you have a neck issue, you should restrict your resting period to a maximum of two or three days. Prolonged inactivity can weaken your muscles which will affect its ability to support your neck and head.
3. Cold or Heat Therapy:
Cold therapy often involves the use of ice packs in order to reduce swelling or inflammation in the affected region, while heat packs also perform a similar function. However, according to the NINDS (National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke), cold therapy, consisting of ice, ice packs, or cold compresses, is most effective in alleviating inflammation. Heat therapy, too, can prove to be helpful, as heat helps improve blood flow and create a more favorable heating environment for your muscles. Using cold or heat therapy will largely depend upon the patient’s own preference. However, most people dealing with neck problems keep switching between the two therapies in order to benefit from the therapeutic effects of both.
4. Acupuncture for Neck Pain:
Today, acupuncture is a mainstream alternative treatment method in the West, having centuries of evidence that prove its safety and efficacy. Despite the lack of scientific research backing acupuncture, this holistic approach has been highly beneficial for a large number of patients – especially those suffering from any kind of pain. Acupuncture treatment has several methods and uses. In general, however, the technique involves the insertion of a needle in a particular pressure point of the body in order to release energy and harness your body’s healing potential. Acupuncture is also very effective for stress reduction, and, since stress is the cause of many types of neck pains, the reduced stress can lead to reduced neck pains. Acupuncture is effective for both acute as well as chronic forms of neck pain.
5. Chiropractic Care for Neck Pain:
While most types of neck pains resolve within a few days, some might persist or recur. In such cases, it is important to identify the reason and mechanism for the pains. Regardless of the cause, strengthening your neck muscles will strengthen your cervical spine and make you more resistant to pain. Having said that, whiplash and other similar injuries often affect the joints and soft tissues present in the neck, leading to chronic pain. For such injuries, you can turn to a licensed chiropractor. Chiropractors perform muscle and joint manipulation in order to ease pain. These manipulations also make your neck stronger, more flexible, and less painful. If your spine is broken or degenerating, the spinal cord is often compromised, leading to compressed nerves. Under such situations, the cervical spine cannot endure sports or even physical therapy. Hence, before turning to physical therapies, the spine needs to be stabilized and strengthened. This is where chiropractic adjustments come into their own, improving your neck function and easing any pain, cramping, or other discomfort. Furthermore, chiropractic treatment is also effective at improving your posture, aligning the spine, and ultimately restoring normal muscle strength and function.
Why See a Chiropractor?
A chiropractor can identify the root cause behind your neck pains and provide a complete diagnosis. They will also make sure that your neck pain treatment will not end up worsening your existing issues. Neck pain often disappears on its own, never to return. However, in some cases, it does return and eventually becomes a chronic condition. Such chronic or lasting neck pain can disrupt your daily activities and impair your productivity and quality-of-life. If you have already tried out stretching, exercising, and other home remedies without success, it is time for you to discuss your situation with your doctor and receive a personalized treatment plan. If you believe that your posture is to be blamed for your neck woes, a chiropractor might help you discover alternative treatments and modalities for your neck that will minimize your pain.
If you want to know more about how chiropractic adjustments can help you with your neck pains as it did with our patients, visit Natural Chiropractic Care today and consult one of our licensed chiropractors. At Natural Care Chiropractic, we perform a thorough assessment of our patients, provide a diagnosis, and offer a treatment plan along with additional exercises that will help you ease your neck pain and find relief.