Help Yourself to Relief: Self-Care for Neck Pain

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How can I treat my neck pain?

Help Yourself to Relief: Self-Care for Neck Pain

Since neck pain is often a chronic problem resulting from poor posture and weakness in the neck and shoulder muscles, understanding the most effective approaches for treating the pain gives you the power over the pain. First and foremost, understand what the causes of neck pain are. If sitting at your computer for hours sets off your neck pain, realize that you have to get up every fifteen or twenty minutes, move around, and take action to do the things that offset your discomfort. If sleeping on your pillow feels okay on your neck and you're going out of town, bring your own pillow with you.

Over-the-counter pain relievers are one way get relief from neck pain. While one type may be effective for one person, someone else may respond better to something totally different. Aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, and acetaminophen are all effective at relieving symptoms of neck pain.

Ice and heat are other remedies. Ice is effective for reducing inflammation and numbing a painful area, especially within the first 72 hours from the onset of pain. Some people, however, don't do well with ice; it tends to make them stiff and more sore. In that case, heat is just as good a choice. Heat treatment tends to relax muscles and improve circulation (which may help your body absorb waste products that could be producing soreness). A hot shower may be the perfect option, as well as a heating pad or microwaveable warm compress. Alternating between cold and heat in a contrast treatment approach may also be effective.

Finally, gentle stretching of the neck muscles, moving the head to each side or rotating right and left, may lengthen and relax sore, tight muscles. Hold stretches just to the point of tension (short of causing pain) and maintain that position for 15 - 30 seconds to get a good stretch. Several repetitions in each direction should bring some form of relief. Get the help you need by visiting and using the free search tool to find a clinician in your area.



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