There are things you can do at home to help relieve your neck pain naturally, without the use of painkillers or having to see a doctor (in many cases). If you suffered an injury, are experiencing severe neck pain, or the pain is accompanied by other symptoms, you should seek medical care right away.
But if you have a sore or stiff neck that might have been caused by:
- Poor posture
- Sleeping the wrong way
- Working at a computer for too long
- Minor tweaks or strains
Here are several things that may be able to help relieve your neck pain at home:
- Correct posture
For many people, their neck pain is caused by poor posture, whether while standing, walking, or sitting. Try to put emphasis on keeping your back straight, and your head held high, chin parallel to the floor. Practice doing this not only while seated but also while walking around or standing in place.
- Gentle stretching
Slowly let your chin move forward toward your chest, letting your neck stretch gently for about 20 seconds. Then move your head backward, bringing the back of your head towards your upper back, holding it there for another 20 seconds. Repeat on the left and right sides, bringing your ear as close to each shoulder as possible, and even applying light pressure on the temple to help the stretch. If any of these stretches cause pain, stop immediately and call your doctor.
Typically, you only want to use ice on the area the first 24-48 hours after an injury and for no more than 20 minutes at a time. This can help keep the inflammation down. After that, heat can be applied with a heating pad, a hot compress, or even a warm shower or stint in a hot tub. Heating should also be done in increments of 20 minutes on, 20-40 minutes off.
- Adjust your computer and/or desk
If your computer monitor is too low or too high, it can cause neck strain. If you are slumped in your chair or leaning forward to get closer to your computer, this can also cause neck pain. Try setting your monitor up to sit at eye level, keeping your mouse close to your hand (so you don’t have to reach for it when you need to use it), and keeping your back against your desk chair (i.e., proper posture), and see if that feels better. An adjustable or sit/stand desk may also help you find the right position for your needs.
- Sleep properly
The best way to avoid neck pain while sleeping is to sleep on your back or side, not your stomach. You may also want to use a special neck pillow to help provide better support for your head and neck.
If your neck pain gets worse or does not improve with these at-home tips, it’s time to see Dr. Greaux at Aventura Wellness and Rehab Center for fast and natural relief.