Experiencing neck pain isn’t enjoyable, but it’s unfortunately something that most people have at one point or another. However, regardless of how common it is, neck pain can be quite debilitating. It can also lead to other concerns, such as numbness, headaches, and mental health struggles for many people.
If you are one of these people, you might be wondering how to get rid of neck pain. You also might be struggling to find relief. Treating the symptoms can be tricky but relieving neck pain is possible with these 5 tips on managing the aches, the side effects, and the need for support that comes as a result.
1. Know the Cause
Millions of people struggle with neck pain all around the world. Neck pain is actually one of the most common reasons why somebody seeks out medical advice. However, not all neck pain is the same. So, if you’re wondering how to get rid of neck pain, the first step would be to try to understand the cause of it.
The cause behind your neck pain could be related to an injury. With acute neck pain, you usually know why it started (because of a car accident, for example) and are therefore able to get the appropriate treatment right away. But if your neck pain isn’t from an injury and it’s chronic, meaning that it sticks around for an extended amount of time, there could be an underlying medical condition behind it.
Some common reasons behind chronic neck pain include:
- Muscle spasms
- Bone spurs
- Stiff neck
Of course, your neck pain could stem from typical wear and tear as well. It could also be the result of poor posture. If you find that your pain is worse at night, it could even be because of your sleep position. All of these examples go to show that there are countless reasons why you might be having neck pain.
This is why it’s important to take note of your symptoms and get proper medical advice from a trusted health care provider. Once you have an idea of where the neck pain comes from, you can better understand how to treat the symptoms when they show up. Better yet, you might be able to implement strategies to prevent the pain from occurring in the first place.
2. Fix Your Posture
One of the best answers on how to get rid of neck pain is to be proactive and stop the pain before it begins. This means you need to be mindful of the ways in which you could unintentionally increase your chances of having neck pain.
For example, paying attention to your posture is one way to get ahead of neck pain. Poor posture is a very common contributor to people’s chronic neck discomfort. Poor posture would be any position that throws the neck out of alignment with the spine. This often happens when the head protrudes forward, when the spine makes a C shape at the shoulders, and when the neck is tilted down for long periods of time.
Ways to remedy poor posture would include:
- Sitting straight up
- Uncrossing your legs
- Sitting with your shoulder blades pulled back
- Keeping things (such as phones, laptops, etc.) at eye level
It can be challenging at first to change your posture, but the more practice you have, the more your body will get used to it. Soon enough, you’ll be able to hold yourself taller without a second thought.
3. Stretch the Muscles
Another option on getting rid of neck pain would be to gently stretch and exercise the area. The neck muscles can be a network of knots. Not only will this cause pain, but it can make inflammation worse. It can also lead to loss of muscle strength in the neck. This is important to avoid. Studies from Harvard medical school show that building strength in the neck is actually a method of reducing inflammation, pain, and general neck discomfort.
Be sure to follow proper medical advice to know exactly what type of exercises and stretches would be right for you. Then, after completing the exercises and neck stretches, apply heat with a warm compress or heating pad to keep the muscles loose and relaxed.
If you are experiencing a lot of swelling in the neck, though, you might consider using ice instead. Ice can help to reduce inflammation, which is frequently the source of pain for many people. Ice packs can also numb the area slightly for temporary neck pain relief.
4. Take Medication If Needed
In some cases, medication is necessary to help people get rid of their neck pain—or at least to get back on their feet. This is a frustrating reality for people who live with chronic neck pain. Some people can get relief right away with over-the-counter pain medication. But others need medications that can reduce inflammation or slow down pain signals from reaching the brain.
Though stronger medications such as prescription pain relievers are an option as well, they do come with risks of addiction and overdose. That said, always talk to your doctor for accurate medical advice. They will be able to guide you on the next steps you should take when it comes to medication management.
5. Learn from Others
The truth of the matter is that there’s really not one solid answer on how to get rid of neck pain. There are many factors that contribute to someone’s experience with neck pain: the cause, the symptoms, the treatment options, and so on. Thus, the way to best approach your neck pain will depend on what you are currently feeling, and the ways in which you’re hoping to improve.
This being said, people who live with chronic pain and neck pain in particular often figure out tips and tricks to make it easier to function in spite of the discomfort. So, if you’re wondering how to get rid of neck pain, join the Pain Resource Community to hear how other people have been coping with this painful experience.
By connecting with others, you might not feel so alone. You might even learn a thing or two on preventing neck stiffness. Most importantly, sharing your story of living with chronic neck pain might give somebody else the encouragement or knowledge they need to find the right treatment that will finally relieve this pain.
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