Neck pain, also referred to as cervicalgia, can have many causes ranging from poor sitting posture to rheumatoid arthritis. In most cases, the causes are simple and easily preventable. If you are suffering from neck pain, there are easy steps you can take to ease it.
1. Get the Neck Muscles Moving
Sometimes, stiffness and soreness in the neck can occur as a result of holding the neck in a certain position for too long. This is common for computer users who spend hours sitting down in the wrong posture. Even with an ergonomic chair, maintaining the same position over time will start to tense any neck. Neck pain can also happen at night when you sleep with the neck in the wrong position.
Exercising the neck muscles will help ease most of this stiffness and pain. Start by gently moving your neck up and down. If you feel any pain, stop. Then, move your head side to side, also slowly to prevent the pain from aggravating. Finally, move the neck in a number 8 pattern. The neck should be moving up and down and sideways at the same time. Remember to stop if you feel any pain.
Keep exercising until you feel an ease in the pain and you are able to move the neck more freely.
2. Sleep on a Water Pillow
Swap out your usual pillow with a water pillow. Various studies have shown that the water pillow is more effective at easing the discomfort than most other pillows, even orthopedic ones. When you lay your neck on it, the water pillow absorbs and distributes the weight, thus creating good support for your neck.
One other advantage of a water pillow is that you can vary its firmness for the best results. If you want it firm, just add more water. For a softer pillow, reduce the amount of water in it.
3. Soak in an Epsom Salt Bath
Sometimes, a long soak in a tub full of warm water is all you need to ease most body aches. To get even better and quicker results for the pain, add Epsom salt to the water. Epsom salt, also known as magnesium sulfate, reduces the amount of tightening in neck muscles. This in turn eases any stiffness and pain present.
To a warm bath, add two cups of Epsom salt and soak in it for 15 to 20 minutes.
4. Get a Regular Professional Massage
WebMD recommends one-hour massage sessions two to three times a week. The massage should be done by a professional therapist who knows exactly what areas of the neck need attention. Be sure to keep up with your weekly appointments to get positive results.
5. Try Some Painkillers
Certain over the counter drugs such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can bring some relief. An important point of caution; do not give aspiring to kids under the age of 18 as it can result in health complications.
If you have tried all of the above and you are yet to get any relief, you might be suffering from chronic cervicalgia. See a doctor immediately for a full diagnosis. There might be a serious underlying illness causing the continued neck pain.