With many of us gazing into laptops or computers or staring down at our smartphones throughout the day, it is no wonder we are experiencing problems associated with neck pain or stiffness. In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 16.1% of adults experienced neck pain in 2018, and this number is increasing day by day due to the increased use of computers, smartphones, etc.
A stiff neck is painful and can disturb your daily activities. The associated symptoms may make it harder for you to get good enough sleep. According to the best spine surgeon in Lahore, neck pain is temporary most of the time. However, if you do not get proper treatment, then it may become chronic.
There are several common problems that may cause neck pain or stiffness. These problems are:
- A concussion
- Poor posture
- A spinal cord injury
- Stress or muscle tension
- Muscle strain
- Disc degeneration
- A pinched or compressed nerve
In addition, neck stiffness or pain is also associated with:
- High stress levels
To prevent neck stiffness from becoming a chronic problem, it is essential to address it in an appropriate way. Lifestyle adjustments, stretching, and proper medication may play an important role in alleviating muscle tension and pain in the neck.
Other Causes of Neck Pain and Stiffness
Usually, neck stiffness or pain arises from injuries, bad postures, or muscle tension, but several medical conditions may cause neck pain as a side effect as well. These conditions involve bacterial and viral infections, which cause your lymph nodes to become swollen and inflamed.
Neck pain or stiffness may be a symptom of:
- Heart diseases or a heart problem
- Flu or the common cold
- Thyroid problems, including thyroiditis (swelling or inflammation of the gland)
- The Epstein-Barr virus
Home Remedies for Neck Pain or Stiffness
Here are some effective home remedies for several problems associated with neck pain or stiffness.
1.Apply Heat or Ice
Applying ice may help reduce swelling and inflammation by lowering blood flow to the area. Anyhow, heat does the opposite, stimulates blood flow. Both heat and ice can work together to soothe a torn or strained muscle and may give it time to heal. In addition, they can also provide timely pain relief for an overworked spot on the body such as the neck.
According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, applying ice for twenty minutes a few times a day for soft tissue injuries may reduce pain and stiffness. You need to make sure to buy or make a cold compress that would prevent the ice from directly touching the skin.
You may also have the option to alternate between applying heat and ice. Taking a warm bath for some times a day using a heating pad may also help.
2.Stretch but Avoid Sudden Movements
Appropriate stretching may help relieve pain and stiffness and prevent it from coming back in the future. It is essential to stretch slowly and gently, and try to breathe in and out fully. Overstretching or sudden movements can cause more injury or pain. Therefore, you need to avoid sudden movements and over-stretching.
Different exercises to relieve neck stiffness and pain can be done at home or even at your desk. Talk to a physical therapist or medical specialist about creating a good and manageable routine that works for you.
Stretches uses to relieve neck stiffness and pain include:
- Slowly turn your head from one side to another, as far as is comfortable
- Roll the shoulders forward and then backward in a circle
- Press the shoulder blades together lightly, hold the position for several seconds, and then repeat
A good chiropractor manipulates the joints and muscles to provide pain relief. A chiropractor specializes in working on a specific area of the body. You can easily contact a chiropractor who has specialization in the area of the neck.
4.Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers
An OTC pain reliever does not require a prescription of a medical specialist and may help inflammation, swelling, and pain in the body. Usually, these pain relievers include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These drugs possess the properties of pain relievers and anti-inflammatories.
5.Visit a Physical Therapist
A medical specialist or doctor may refer you to a physical therapist if you need to regain mobility and strength in the neck after an injury. Physical therapists may also help with chronic pain relief and management, and assign effective exercises to train the muscles of the neck, etc.
A physical therapist will create a specific exercise for your pain or stiffness, depending upon the cause. You will need to regularly see a physical therapist and do regular sessions.
Neck stiffness and pain may lead to severe conditions or disrupt your daily life if you do not take proper measures. The above-mentioned home remedies can be effective in reducing pain and stiffness associated with the neck.