Are you living with a literal “pain in the neck”? Neck pain is no fun and no one should have to suffer through it acute or chronically.
The pain you feel in your neck may be due to muscle strains, vertebral degeneration, compressed nerves, injuries, or osteoarthritis.
Fortunately, there are so many alternative ways you can do to fight the pain, without taking medications or needing surgery.
In this article, we’ll give you the 5 best natural remedies that work to relieve your neck pain!
5 Natural Remedies For Neck Pain
1. Frequent Stretching
Are you working from home or commuting all day? Taking breaks to stretch several times a day is key to your keeping neck (and back) pains at bay.
These 3 simple stretches may be just the ticket to provide you the comfort you need:
Sit or stand up with your arms to your side. If you stand, do so with your feet shoulder-width apart in a comfortable position.
Next, you will want to start with your chin close to your chest and go towards the right. You will circle towards your right shoulder, towards your back, then to your left shoulder, and then finishing back where you started facing forward chin to your chest.
Then, you will want to reverse the process going towards the left. You can repeat this process a couple of times to get a great stretch in. (1, 2)
Try neck-friendly yoga poses
The yoga pose called “cat and cow” also known as “chakravakasana” is another easy stretch that you can do.
Although, you may want to be out of the public’s eye while doing this pose as you will be on all fours on the floor.
You will literally hunch your back like a cat and then relax into the “cow” portion of the pose where you drop your belly towards the floor and then raise your head and chest upwards. (3)
Taking posture breaks
If you are working in an office setting and don’t want to draw attention to yourself, you can simply tilt your head towards your shoulder on the right for 15-30 seconds and then repeat this going to the left.
You can repeat this exercise 2-3 times until you feel less tension in your neck while also keeping in mind that if you are hurting during this stretch, you’ve gone too far. (4)
2. Good Posture
There are many ways that our modern lives have contributed to bad posture. We tend to do anything from crossing our legs and slumping to leaning to one side as we stand and having “Donald Duck” posture where your bum is sticking out.
We’ve grown so accustomed to being in certain positions as we binge-watch TV programs or work at a computer for a living that correcting our posture can feel foreign or even uncomfortable.
However, it’s imperative to address your posture daily until having good posture is achieved, and implementing good-posture remedies becomes second nature.
Here are a couple of posture-restoring exercises that you should be diligent about daily:
- Performing planks or side-lying leg raises are good at helping to correct the hilariously-named “Donald Duck Posture”.
- Sit up straight in your chair with your shoulders back instead of rounded forward or stand up next to your desk and do some back stretches.
Since our bodies are one ecosystem, stretching your back and strengthening your core and pelvic floor also help in reducing your chances of having neck pain.
3. Wearing A Neck Collar
Neck collars may become necessary if you have whiplash from an injury, been through neck surgery, or just need to provide extra stability to reduce the strain on your neck muscles.
Depending on your specific circumstances, you have two types of neck collars to choose from; soft and hard.
Soft collars are for less serious neck issues and are made from soft materials like foam or felt.
Hard neck collars are to help limit your range of motion for more serious neck injuries/issues and are made from materials such as plastic.
4. Physical Therapy
When taking care of your neck seems to need expert care or maybe you just don’t feel safe doing exercises on your own, then it’s time to pay a visit to your physical therapist (PT).
The PT may ask you to get x-rays or an MRI of your neck and back so that they know exactly what exercises and therapies are appropriate for your particular needs.
Your PT will prescribe you with anything from water therapy to stretches that are appropriate for you.
As you progress, your PT will push you towards strengthening and rehabilitating your neck and spine to reduce the likelihood of recurrence in the future.
One great benefit of visiting a physical therapist is that you can use your therapies at home to keep your strength and stability intact for years to come.
So, never be ashamed or afraid to seek help when you feel that you may be past your level of expertise.
5. Sleeping In The Proper Position
Have you ever awoken to a stiff neck or have that sharp pain when you try to rotate your head in a specific direction? Usually, it’s due to sleeping in positions that aren’t conducive to your neck working optimally or without pain.
Sleeping on your stomach can cause your neck and back to be strained thus causing you to wake up in pain. You can also run into neck pain issues when you sleep in the fetal position.
Here are a few tips about how to sleep properly that may help mitigate neck pain issues:
- If you can sleep on your back, you are winning. This is the most natural position for your body and will lessen your risks of waking up with throbbing neck pain.
- You can also sleep on your side if you follow a couple of best practices;
- Do your very best not to curl up in a ball which is also called the “fetal position”. Keep your back as straight as possible.
- Use a pillow between your legs to provide more stabilization for your spine and neck.
Consulting A Neck Pain Specialist For An Accurate Diagnosis
Your health is the most important thing you will manage in your life. It goes without saying when you don’t feel your best you can’t do the things you need to do and your quality of life will suffer.
You will want to address your neck pain as soon as possible and get a proper diagnosis and treatment protocol so that you can get back to the business of living.
When you visit a neck pain specialist, you will be given several options for medical therapies that can be utilized to help you heal.
Let’s dive into a few medical procedures that may be helpful in your situation:
- Getting a nerve root block may help to reduce or resolve your pain temporarily or permanently.
- There are also facet joint injections that provide pain relief directly to your specific area of pain with soothing and numbing agents alongside anti-inflammatory medication.
- Neck pain injections are also another therapy to consider in helping to calm inflammation which then reduces your pain levels.
- Surgery may also be required. However, that is typically after other methods of therapy have been exhausted and may also depend on the severity of your diagnosis.
No matter what medical treatment you’re considering, it’s best to decide for your care along with your specialist.
There are a plethora of different specialists that can assist you on this journey. Your primary doctor may recommend you to see other specialists in addition.