5 Steps to Instant Neck Pain Relief in San Francisco
Fast neck pain relief happens when you know the “why” behind the pain. The neck supports 10-13 pounds ( your head) and there are 16 small muscles, joints and bones in the neck. Here are the common causes of neck pain.
Muscle strains: A strain, also known as “pulled muscle”, is an injury to a muscle in which the muscle fibers tear are overstretched. Repetitive and/or overuse of muscles such as a hunched posture or a prolonged position will often triggers muscle strains. Neck muscles are especially predisposed to it particularly those in the back of your neck. Minor things like reading in bed or sleeping on one side can result in muscle strain.
Worn joints: Wear and tear is a fact of life and just like all the other joints in the body, neck joints experience wear and tear with age thus leading to osteoarthritis in the area.
Nerve compression: There is a small space inside the neck vertebrae where our spinal cord is located. The spinal cord is basically the nerve highway in our body, which is responsible for motor skill, among other things, all over the body. There are many problems that can reduce the amount of space where the nerves exit the spinal cord that can cause nerve compression. It’s symptoms include pain, tingling, numbness, and muscle weakness. Examples include:
- Stiffened disks- Wear and tear of the cushioning disks between your vertebrae will cause them to become dry and stiff. This narrows the spaces in the spine that can cause nerve compression.
- Herniated disks- This occurs when a disk protrudes out of the supported structures. The protrusion can press on nerves exiting the spinal column causing pain or weakness.
- Arthritis- Arthritic joints in your neck can develop bony growths called bone spur that may press on nerves and cause pain, tingling, numbness, and muscle numbness.
Injuries: Car accidents often result in whiplash injuries. Whiplash occurs when the head is jerked forward and then backward quickly, stretching the soft tissues beyond their limits. Symptoms sometimes appear right after the injury, but often are not felt until days later. The symptoms after an accident may include pain in the neck, back, and shoulders, pins and needles to the arms & legs ,and even headaches.
Home Remedies for Easing Neck Pain
Take a Break- The simplest way to relieve neck pain is to lie down flat to relax the neck muscles. When you are lying down flat the muscles are no longer having to work to hold your 10-12 pound head, and therefore, get rest. Do not use any pillows as this can stretch the neck back muscle, which can aggravate the pain.
Relax- Stress can trigger muscle tension that cause headaches, pain and, stiffness. Identify common stressors that affect you. Once Identified perform:
- Progressive relaxation – Sit or lie down and close your eyes in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Then, starting with your head and neck, consciously tighten and hold it for 2 seconds then completely releasing the muscles in the area and working down the entire body. Do 8 to 10 reps.
- Abdominal Breathing –sit quietly and take a slow, deep breath all the way into your abdomen; place a hand on your abdomen to feel it expand and confirm you are breathing deeply enough. Then exhale completely, gently sucking in your stomach. Breathe slowly and deeply like this for several minutes (if you do this too quickly, you may begin to hyperventilate).
There are other relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, and exercise that are proven to work to decrease stress.
Ice Packs- Ice decreases inflammation, which helps overall circulation, and helps numb the pain. Apply ice pack in a cloth to the painful area of the neck for 15 minutes at a time.
Hot Packs- Heat increases circulation and that can be effective for relaxing the muscles. Muscles get so stiff that circulation is impaired. Use a heating pad for 15-20 min.. Always check the skin to make sure you do not burn yourself.
The Right Pillow- It is very important to choose the right pillow especially if you have neck problems. On average, people sleep about 6-8 hours a night. Look for a pillow that keeps the neck in a neutral position and in line with the spine (not tilting the head forward, backwards or sideways) when lying on your back or on your side. If you sleep and feel that your neck is a little stiff in the morning, then its time to get the right pillow!