You wouldn’t really believe how I got to learn some of the most amazing home remedies for neck pain. They’re very easy to perform and don’t necessarily have any side effects. One time, I had this really painful episode that I finally decided to have a physical therapist take a good look at it. Maybe I have already pinched a nerve or something. A colleague recommended that I should try a well-regarded physiotherapy clinic in Footscray, but that I had to visit their website to make an appointment first as they can be quite filled with patients. What amazed me is that they did not only help me with my neck pain, they also taught me what to do at home to help prevent or even manage any recurrence. And this is what I’ll be sharing with you in the following.
- Give it a rest
When I say give it a rest, I don’t mean that you’d have to lie down in bed all day or perhaps even propping up some pillows on both sides of your head to keep it perfectly still. You can actually do this even while you’re sitting on your couch. Just roll up a towel and place it under your neck. This helps relieve the pressure on the cervical spine which physiotherapists say is one of the more common causes of neck pain. Now, here’s the trick. As soon as you feel an improvement in your neck pain, gradually increase your mobility. Take note with the word ‘gradual’. Let it slowly heal.
- Know when to apply cold and hot compresses
I know most of you are confused which between cold and hot compresses you should apply onto your aching neck. Believe me, I once was baffled myself. The general consensus is that cold applications should be used first within the first 24 to 48 hours to help prevent further tissue injury and reduce inflammation. Once the 48-hour period has passed, you can apply hot or warm compresses to help relax the muscles and alleviate stiffness. What I found out, however, is that if the neck pain’s origin is much deeper than a simple muscle strain neither cold nor heat will ever penetrate the affected tissue deeply enough to relieve inflammation. As such, you can actually use either whichever is more comfortable and convenient for you. A more important note is to observe the 20-40 rule. Apply the compress for 20 minutes and remove it for 40 minutes. Additionally, never apply these compresses directly onto your skin.
- Learn some stretching exercises
Once you’re feeling much better, you can then perform some very simple exercises that are meant to improve the flexibility of your cervical joints. You can gently turn your head to the side then pull it some more with your hand and hold it in this position for about 20 seconds. Then you can repeat the process on the other side. You can also try tilting your head so that your ear will touch your shoulder. Now apply pressure on the opposing temple and hold this position for about 20 seconds then repeat on the other side. Another stretching exercise involves bending your head downwards so that your chin tries to touch your chest. Just make sure to relax your shoulders while performing this for about 20 seconds. Alternatively, you can lie down, place a pillow under your neck and head and bend your knees. Now try to gently nod your head as if you’re saying ‘yes’. Hold this position for about 10 seconds then return to your starting position. Repeat this for 9 more times.
- Stay hydrated
How many of us really stick to the recommended daily intake of at least 8 glasses of water? Well, I found out that increasing our fluid intake can actually minimize the occurrence of neck pain. This helps the body become more efficient in the production of body fluids necessary for keeping the spinal discs well-lubricated. As you may already be aware, aging can take its toll on our skeletal and articular health. Drinking plenty of water should help us stay in control of neck pain.
- Think happy thoughts
I really mean it. Studies show that getting preoccupied with a lot of negative things only heightens the effect of stress hormones on pro-inflammatory substances. What this simply means is that the more stressed out we are the greater is the tendency for us to feel pain as if the intensity is heightened. Breathing exercises, casual walk, or even a gentle massage can all help relax these tensed muscles. Having happy and positive thoughts can definitely help, too.
If you’re like me, spending long hours in the office behind a desktop computer, chances are you may have already experienced pain or discomfort in your neck region. I know how it feels. Thankfully, with these very simple tips you can easily manage neck pain right at home.