21 WAYS TO RELIEVE THE STIFFNESS OF NECK PAIN
NECK PAIN : When undue strain isn’t placed on your neck, its vertebrae and muscles do a pretty good job of holding up your head. But your head weighs for about 4 or 5 kilos which are pretty heavy load sitting on a relatively small structure. A common cause of neck pain is holding your hand in an awkward position for a longer duration.
Some people have this due to their occupation, who are at more risk than the others. Hairdressers work in a bent-over position all day long. Whatever your job or lifestyle, neck pain can be eased by replacing bad habits with good and giving your neck regular exercise. And most of the headaches arising from the neck and shoulders. So looking after your neck and your head will thank you too.
- Use ice: – Ice helps to reduce swelling, so it is a good choice when stiffness settles in. If your neck has been slightly injured you can apply an ice pack which is wrapped in thin cloth to protect your skin for at least 15 minutes. Repeat it after every few hours as needed.
- Use heat: – After the ice has reduced its inflammation, heat is a wonderful soother. You can try a heating pad or a hot shower.
- Press on the painful spot: – Relieve muscle tension by applying moderate pressure to the area for three minutes. Don’t press as hard as you can but use your fingertips to exert steady, constant pressure on the affected point. After 3 minutes, your pain should have improved dramatically.
- Take a painkiller: – OTC anti-inflammatories such as aspirin or ibuprofen will help to reduce pain and inflammation. Simple analgesics like paracetamol are not as much effective but if you can’t take anti-inflammatories, they will certainly help and if your pain is particularly cad you can combine two of them rather than exceeding the daily recommended dose of either.
- Take essential fatty acids: – Essential fatty acids which are found in certain plant oils, make our body less prone to inflammation and thus therefore helpful in reducing neck pain. Flaxseed or linseed is one such oil which contains alpha-linolenic acid, a substance which is very similar to omega-3 fatty acids which are found in a fish. Take two teaspoons in a day. Some of the other options include evening primrose oil, borage oil, blackcurrant seed oil and hempseed oil. ‘Hempseed oil is the best all around essential fatty acid seed oil’. ‘A teaspoon in a day is plenty’. But never expect instant relief as three oils can take several weeks to work and should be seen as a long-term investment in reducing your symptoms.
- If you like it fishy: – Oily fish which includes salmon, trout, mackerel, herring and sardines contain omega-3 fat. Among other health benefits, these fats have a natural anti-inflammatory substance that can help to relieve the pain of arthritis and prevent the condition from becoming worse. Daily supplements are a suitable alternative if you cannot eat oily two or three times a week. A recent study suggested that at least 750 mg daily dose is sufficient as long as each side contains 3 mg of vitamin E, although some sources suggest far higher doses are necessary to see a positive effect.
- Turn to herbs: – Neck pain can arise from an old or new injury or can be from a muscle spasm. Herbal medicine offers remedies in both instances. For inflammation try taking white willow bark. Just like aspirin, white willow reduces inflammation and makes the moving of neck much easier. For tension-related neck cramp, try valerian or cramp bark. You can get all these from health food stores and should be taken accordingly.
- Give glucosamine a try: – Some of the evidence suggest that this natural sugar substance may help to relieve pain in osteoarthritic joints.
- Take your vitamins:- Antioxidant vitamins such as vitamin C and E when taken on a regular basis can help to prevent the painful deterioration of joints in your neck and elsewhere in your body.
- Sit on a firm chair: – Sitting on the chai without good back support can make your neck problems, even more, worse and even can give rise to a new one.
- Support your lower back: – Roll up a towel and place it against the small of your back when sitting. It will align your spine and provides support.
- Take a break: – In a similar way just like the feet needs rest from constant sitting, so periodically stand up and walk around.
- Keep your chin up: – Keep your head level but pull your chin in as if you were making a double chin and also avoid lowering your head all the time while working on at a desk or reading. This helps to prevent straining the muscles in the back of the neck.
- Position your screen: – If you used to look at the computer monitor all the day so position it at eye level. Don’t force yourself to look up or down an hour after hours your neck may spasm.
- Get a telephone headset:- When you hold the telephone in the crook of your neck and shoulder so that you can talk and write at the same time puts your neck in an awkward position which gives an invitation to stiffness and pain.
- Sleep on a firm mattress:- A lot of neck problems begin and worsen with poor sleeping habits that put the spine out of alignment. Having a firm mattress is very important.
- Get rid of your pillow: – A lot of people with neck pain feel better sleeping flat without a pillow.
- Buy a cervical pillow: – You can easily avail them from specialist supply medical store and online as they give proper support.
- Don’t sleep on your stomach: – This is bad not only for your back but also for your neck. You can instead sleep on your fetal position – on your side with your knees up towards the chest.
- Wrap up: – Whenever it is cold and damp outside, keep your neck warm, as the weather can aggravate neck stiffness and pain.
- Relax: – When you are tense it can tighten the muscles in your neck and put you in pain. But if you are under a lot of pressure, meditation or other relaxation techniques can help.