The expression “pain in the neck” is used for good reason; there is nothing more aggravating than a sore neck. Pain and stiffness is often caused by stress and poor neck position while sleeping or working. Fortunately, The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration offers a few simple tricks that may help relieve discomfort.
Gently Unwind the Muscles
Sometimes simply rotating the neck and moving the head from side to side is enough to loosen stiff neck muscles and provide relief. As the muscles relax, the head should be able to rotate more freely.
Apply Heat and Ice
If exercising the muscles fails, applying heat may eliminate neck soreness. A heating pad may be applied or a disposable heat wrap may be used. Often the moist heat provided by a warm shower can alleviate muscle pain. Some individuals find that alternating heat and ice packs helps with discomfort, and neither should be left on the area longer than 20 minutes.
When no relief is found from exercise or heat and ice, most individuals can use over-the-counter pain medication. As long as a patient’s doctor has cleared an individual for their use, pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help to eliminate neck soreness.
If all else has failed, the neck muscles may need time to rest. Lying down with a small rolled towel behind the neck can give enough support to allow the muscles to recuperate. Prolonged rest should be avoided because it can further weaken the muscles.
If efforts have failed to resolve neck soreness, or the pain is the result of trauma or other injury, a physician should be seen. If neck pain is caused by an injury to the spinal column, exercising the area may cause further damage. Pain in the neck following an illness is another situation that necessitates medical intervention from a traditional or minimally invasive spine procedure.
Interested in learning more about neck pain and treatment options? Contact The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration, located in Santa Monica, CA. While we take a conservative approach to spine care, we are also on the cutting-edge of spine surgery, with surgeons who have been involved in some of the most advanced and revolutionary clinical trials for how to treat neck pain. Call (310) 828-7757 for more information or to schedule an in-person consultation.