Health desk- Have you ever woken up with a stiff neck and awkwardly put it down to sleep? Yes me too But what if you’ve had a stiff neck for five days, and it’s the third time in as many months? Surely you can’t just put it down to your sleeping position? And now it’s to the point where looking over your shoulder has become an issue – I mean who needs to check blind spots anyway??!
So what’s causing this annoying problem? If we’re not careful, it can start to affect our quality of life and get in the way of doing the things we enjoy (or that are absolutely necessary in the case of blind spots!).
So here are 5 top ways to get relief from neck pain-
1 .Avoid sitting for more than 20-30 minutes-
This is especially important if you are doing something that involves looking down or if you are sitting still (looking at a screen, for example). Our heads are very heavy and keeping our head slightly forward or tilting it down tends to overwork the muscles in the back of the neck, which eventually leads to discomfort.
The reason for regular walking is that it gets the blood flowing and replenishes the oxygen in your muscles. This lack of oxygen to your muscles causes something called ischemic pain, which can be completely avoided by running regularly.
2 .Sleep on a pillow that supports your neck-
Have you ever played with the pillow in the middle of the night to make it more comfortable? Maybe tie it under your neck so your head feels supported? In fact, there are pillows that are designed to solve this problem by providing support under the neck as well as being comfortable for the head. Ask us if you would like to try one of ours! I (Lindsey) use one every night so can wholeheartedly recommend them.
3 .Gentle stretch-
Stretching is something we all should be doing regularly and is a much better option for relieving stiffness than cracking a neck. The crack you hear is just a bubble forming inside the joint space, which is reabsorbed by the body within 20 minutes. So while cracking your neck (or any other joint, for that matter) feels good right away, the results are short-lived and offer no long-term benefits. In contrast, stretching gives a better result because it relieves muscle discomfort, while also improving range of motion. What often happens is that people can’t “feel the right spot”, which simply means you’re not stretching the right muscles for your problem. A physiotherapist would be able to guide you on this. Neck stretches should be accomplished regularly on any given day and especially during those breaks that you have now scheduled for every 20-30 minutes.
4 .Apply heat A question we are often asked-
Do I apply ice or heat? There is another blog on this so check it out – but if the pain feels muscular then heat is often your friend. However, if you’ve suddenly woken up with a very painful neck and can barely move, ice may be your best option for calming any swelling. By applying one or the other, you’ll soon know which one you prefer at the time. Apply heat (or ice) for 10 minutes, then rest for 10 minutes, then 10 minutes again… repeat as many times as needed.
5 .See a physiotherapist-
So you’ve tried the above tips and found some relief, but something’s still nagging and you just can’t seem to get on top of it. Or maybe you also have a headache, or maybe arm pain or tingling. The best thing to do here is to see someone who can assess you and find out what’s causing your symptoms — and then complete a treatment program to address those issues. At Alpha Physiotherapy we are very skilled so don’t expect that you will just be given a sheet of exercises and sent on your way. The other great thing is that not only can we get you out of pain, we can keep you out of pain too. After all, prevention is better than cure!
So here are your top 5 tips to get relief from neck pain! As with anything you’re trying to change in life, consistency is key – so try to make it a habit to do these things regularly. Setting an alarm can be really useful to remind you to move (it sounds ridiculous but we’ve all been engrossed in something for an hour or two before realising we didn’t move. Huh). If the discomfort has already started, it’s too late, so if setting an alarm works for you, go for it.
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Note- This article has been written for educational purpose. There is no alternative to cure any disease. Therefore, if you do not get relief even after taking the above measures, then consult a qualified doctor. Thank you.