Home Remedies for Neck Pain
Neck pain or stiff neck is a very common health problem. Luckily, pain in the neck can be relieved at home within few days. To start an effective neck pain treatment you need to know the reason for this issue. For example, neck pain can be a light symptom of a more serious spine disorder. Or it can be just a pinched nerve in neck that will stop hurting without any treatment within few days. It is recommended to visit a doctor if the strong and irritating pain in your neck lasts more than 6 days in a row.
Neck pain: causes and symptoms
The most widespread neck pain cause is a pinched nerve. Nerve pinching happens because of physical overuse or poor posture. In 60% of all cases, neck pain is the reason for a mild injury from contact physical exercises, whiplash or falling. Commonly, neck problems are not serious but need your attention if they last for a long time.
Keep in mind that pain in the neck can also be a symptom of spine injuries or problems. If you suffer from chronic shoulder and neck pain it can be a symptom of scoliosis. Anyway, it is better to be safe than sorry – seek a medical assistance if you have more than mild neck pain.
Among the most common neck pain causes are:
- Pinched nerves;
- Strain and muscle tension;
- Poor posture because of uncomfortable sleep or prolonged desk work;
- Injuries – neck is very vulnerable to injuries. You can get neck muscle pain from mild car accidents, sports and falls when the muscles in the neck move outside of the normal range;
- Heart attack – in elderly people neck pain can be a symptom of an upcoming or recent heart attack. If you have long-term neck and head pain, nausea, arm or jaw stiffness, vomiting, sweating and shortness of breath, immediately visit a doctor;
- Meningitis –an inflammatory disorder of thin tissues surrounding the spinal cord and brain;
- Rheumatoid arthritis. One of the main symptoms along with neck stiffness is upper back pain;
- Osteoporosis – can weaken bones and cause small fractures;
- Fibromyalgia provokes muscle pain throughout the body, especially neck and back pain.
Professional nerve pain treatment
Healthcare specialists call neck problems and pain cervical pain. After diagnosing nerve pain a doctor may offer a few methods for the treatment of neck pain:
- Heat and ice therapy;
- Regular physical therapy;
- Short-term use of pain medications like Tylenol, corticosteroid injections, antibiotics for inflammation relief and muscle relaxants;
- Wearing a neck collar;
- In very rare cases, surgery may be required.
Quick nerve pain relief without a doctor
However, in 90% cases, neck and back pain can be relieved in few ways without leaving a home. Here is what you should do during the first 2-3 days of stiff neck or neck ache:
- Take OTC pain medications – Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen – one pill per day during the first 2-3 days;
- Avoid sports or extensive physical activities for a week;
- Do neck exercises. Stretch your head slowly with up-and-down and side-to-side motions;
- Gently run your neck pressing those regions where it hurts the most;
- To ease muscle stiffness sleep on a special neck pillow;
- Never wear a neck collar without a doctor’s approval. You can hurt even more if use it improperly;
- Use ice packs on the place where the neck hurts the most. Usually, it is enough to apply ice packs on the back of neck, pain will go away after 2-3 times. But you need to use a heating pad, hot shower or hot water compress immediately after applying ice packs.
Effective home remedies for neck pain
All-natural remedies for severe neck pain can be also very helpful. Using food products that can be bought in the nearest supermarket, you can save a lot of money on neck pain treatment and medical bills:
Apply a compress soaked in apple cider vinegar
To do this, soak a paper towel in a small amount of apple cider vinegar. Place this compress on the place where the neck hurts. Leave this compress for 2 hours. You need to repeat at least twice a day until neck pain goes away. You can also add 2 cups of apple cider vinegar to a lukewarm bath. Do not take longer than a 15-minute bath. Repeat once a day until the pain is gone.
Take an Epsom salt bath
Chronic neck pain relief can be achieved with an Epsom salt bath. The salt’s main component – magnesium sulfate – reduces pain and swelling within few hours after applying. It is recommended to add 1-2 cups of Epsom salt to a warm bath. Soak the neck area in the bath for 15-20 minutes.
Massage the neck with lavender oil
Rub a small amount of lavender oil on your shoulders and neck. Gently rub in a circular motion on the hurt neck area for 10 minutes. Repeat daily. You can replace lavender oil with coconut or olive oil.
Prevention of stiff neck and pinched nerve pain
First of all, you need to prevent certain activities that can cause neck problems – heavy lifting, moving luggage or furniture, intensive physical activity and extended improper posture. If you participate in any of these activities, especially if you are older than 40 years, you can be more aware of the dangers and prevent any upcoming neck issues. You should also:
- Use good, straight posture;
- Never cradle your smartphone between shoulder and neck;
- Never sit or stand in one position for a long time;
- Reduce stress that can trigger severe muscle tension;
- Practice relaxation techniques like yoga and meditation;
- Maintain a healthy weight;
- Swim regularly to forget about pinched nerve treatment for good;
- Sit on a comfortable chair during prolonged deskwork or car drive;
- Sleep on a firm mattress;
- During sleeping keep your head aligned with your spine.
Neck pain relief is easy if you start taking measures as soon as stiffness appears.