Four easy ways to relieve neck pain
Whether you’ve slept awkwardly or spent too long looking at your mobile phone, aches and pains in your neck are incredibly annoying!
If you suffer from neck pain, you’re not alone. It’s one of the most common musculoskeletal disorders, with 27% of adults experiencing niggling neck pains at least once.
So, if you have neck pain, how can you ease your symptoms? We’ve put together four simple ways to help you say ‘no thanks’ to neck pain!
1. Pain relief medication
In most cases, over-the-counter medication that you can get from your local pharmacy or supermarket can help relieve your neck pain.
Paracetamol is an excellent place to start, as most people respond well to it. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen work well too, but you should avoid them if you have heart disease or kidney issues.
Always read the label before you start taking pain medication, and if you have any questions, speak to your pharmacist or GP.
2. A good pillow
If you wake up with a pain in the neck, chances are that your pillow is to blame. The wrong pillow can mean your neck and spine are misaligned, leading to those all-too-familiar niggles.
Swapping your pillow can offer relief and even eliminate neck pain entirely. As an example, if you usually sleep on a soft pillow, a firmer one can give you more neck support.
Memory foam pillows are excellent options if you have neck pain. This is because it adjusts to your unique shape and gives you the support you specifically need.
3. Heat and cold packs
A hot water bottle or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel can work wonders on your neck muscles.
Heat relaxes your muscles and increases blood flow to your neck, relieving tension and reducing stiffness. Cold can reduce inflammation and numb the area, reducing the pain you experience.
Heat is best for chronic neck pain, while cold is best if you’ve suffered an acute injury like whiplash. However, everyone is different, so see which pain relief method works best for you.
Exercise might feel like the last thing you want to do when you’ve hurt your neck. However, gentle stretches can reduce tension, improve circulation and release endorphins, your body’s natural pain relievers.
Here are some great exercises to get you started – repeat each movement three times. If you experience pain while doing these stretches, stop straight away.
- Tilt your head to one side, bringing your ear towards your shoulder. Hold for 15 seconds, then switch sides
- Turn your head to the left, bringing your chin towards your shoulder. Hold for 15 seconds, then switch sides
- Tilt your head forward, bringing your chin towards your chest. Hold for 15 seconds, then tilt your chin towards the ceiling
- Relax your shoulders and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold for ten seconds, then release
Neck pain can be frustrating, but follow these guidelines, and you’ll feel better in no time!