Neck pain affects almost everyone at some point, and it can also be accompanied by headaches. Even the slightest activities that involve movement of the neck can cause pain. This pain can affect everyone differently – some may experience pain in one part of their neck or head, or behind their eyes, while others may experience a pounding sensation. Pain can last from a few minutes to days and can also cause nausea.
Although this condition can quite literally be a pain in the neck, you can do many things to treat it at home.
Relax – One way to help with this pain is to relax. Take one to three days off from doing anything strenuous. Activities to avoid include weight-bearing exercise, like running, hiking, or playing tennis, and heavy lifting.
Cold Compress – Try to lessen both pain and inflammation by applying a cold ice pack or ice wrapped in a towel to your neck. You can apply this cold therapy to the area for up to 20 minutes a few times a day.
Warm Compress – You can also alternate cold therapy with heat. With heat, you’re working to ease muscle tension and pain. You may want to take a warm shower or hold a heating pad on your neck.
OTC Pain Relievers – You can find a variety of different over the counter (OTC) pain relievers at your local drug store. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is a popular option. There’s also ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB), which combines pain relief with anti-inflammatory power. Naproxen sodium (Aleve) is another option.
Stay Moving – Staying in one position for too long may cause neck pain. In fact, you should aim to get up or move every 30 minutes from sitting or standing positions. While you may want to rest the first few days after hurting your neck, getting into a regular exercise routine may help in the long run.
Chiropractic Care – Chiropractic adjustments target the spine. The neck is also called the cervical spine, so chiropractors work this area of the body as well. All that cracking you’ll hear is actually from very controlled forces applied to your joints.
Get a Massage – Sore muscles may also respond well to massage by a licensed practitioner. During a massage session, the muscles and other tissues in your neck are manipulated. This helps blood and other fluids flow freely.
Sleep with a Neck Pillow – A neck pillow may make or break your night of sleep. The effects can even last into the next day. Many different pillows on the market are supposed to help with neck pain.
If these home treatments don’t help your neck pain, make an appointment to see your doctor.
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