Many people don’t realize how many times they move their heads throughout the day until they suffer from stiff necks. There are a wide variety of things that can cause this ailment. For example, you may get it after sleeping in a strange position, using an unsupported pillow, or even using too many pillows. However, sleeping isn’t the only thing that could cause a stiff neck.
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Stress is often to blame, as is poor posture. Some contact sports can be problematic, as well. However, despite the fact that there are many things that contribute to the issue, fortunately you have just as many options when it comes to treating it.
1. Use A Heat Pack
Heat can be very soothing to your stiff neck, and you may even notice benefits after taking a shower. However, for maximum relief, it is a good idea to use a microwavable heat pack. Simply insert it into the microwave for the specified amount of time, and look forward to feeling better. Many packs are made from flexible plastic or fabric, so you can easily conform them to the shape of your neck and target the stiffness.
2. Get A Massage
A massage is a good treatment for a stiff neck, because it brings warmth to the area and stimulates blood flow. If you are having trouble relaxing, ask the practitioner to use an essential oil such as lavender, which is known to tame tension.
Be sure to inform the therapist about your neck problem, so they will know how to focus the treatment. Because massage therapists are so in tune with how the body operates, don’t be surprised if your practitioner mentions one or more areas that are especially tight.
3. Ease Stiffness With Ice
Similarly to how heat is very therapeutic for people with stiff necks, you may also get great results by applying an ice pack to the area. Direct contact could cause irritation, so be sure to wrap the ice packet in a cloth before putting it up against your skin. Soon, the ice will start relieving any inflammation that may be at least partially causing your stiff neck.
4. Apply Soothing Balms
There are many naturally derived balms made to conquer tightness and soreness. You’ll probably have the best luck finding them at a health food store, but you can also search at shops that cater to athletes, since they often deal with stiffness related to training.
Thoroughly describe your symptoms to salespeople so they can recommend an appropriate remedy. Furthermore, always follow the directions on the label, especially in terms of how frequently to apply it.
5. Try Hydrotherapy
You’ve already learned about how certain temperatures may give relief for your sore neck. Branching off that concept, you may also want to experiment with hydrotherapy, which involves alternating hot and cold water streams hitting your neck.
It’s easiest to do this in the shower, but you can also get creative with a kitchen sink sprayer nozzle if necessary. Begin by using hot water for three to four minutes to relax the muscles, and then switch to cold liquid for 30 to 60 seconds. If you find this treatment is especially effective and it seems like your stiff neck is a long-term problem, see if there are physical therapy centers in your town that have hydrotherapy equipment.
6. Soak In Epsom Salts
Epsom salts is easy to find at the pharmacy, and it’s known for being very healing. Add one to two cups to your bath water and soak in it for at least 20 minutes.
Since it may be hard to allow your neck to have constant contact with the water, consider soaking a washcloth in the water and holding it against your neck. Epsom salts contain magnesium sulfate, a natural muscle relaxant that also reduces pain. Be sure to check the label if you have any preexisting health conditions, because this remedy is not appropriate in some cases.
7. Make The Most Of Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is another example of a potential neck-stiffness treatment that is simple to find. You may even already have a bottle in your cabinet or pantry. It’s useful for stiff necks due to the fact it’s an antioxidant that can also reduce inflammation.
Thoroughly soak a paper towel in the substance, and hold it on the affected area of your neck for at least a couple of hours. Repeat twice a day until the pain subsides. Initially you may not think it’s feasible to hold the towel on your neck for so long. Aim to naturally incorporate this treatment into sedentary tasks such as reading or watching TV so it doesn’t seem like such a hassle.
You can also add apple cider vinegar to the bath, as you might have already done with Epsom salts. In that case, just put it in lukewarm water and soak for at least 15 minutes per day until your neck returns to normal.
8. Perform Purposeful Neck Movements
Not only does neck pain make it difficult to move the head, but it can also spread to other areas of the body such as the shoulders. That’s why it’s so important to think about relying on remedies that don’t just treat the problem you’re currently having, but prevent something similar from happening in the future. Neck exercises may offer the help you seek.
Try rotating your neck slowly and carefully to see if the movement improves the amount of stiffness you feel. This may cause pain at first, but the discomfort should lessen as you keep going. Also, move your head back and forth with a controlled motion. If either of these solutions causes extreme pain, stop and wait to get advice from a professional.
Neck exercises can be especially helpful for people who keep their necks nearly still for long periods of time, such as when using the computer. A physical therapist could be a great resource if you struggle with neck stiffness often or just want to tend to the problem before it becomes more debilitating.
9. Go To An Acupuncture Specialist
Acupuncture involves inserting thin-gauge needles into the body in strategic ways to restore the flow of energy and thereby help patients find relief from bodily problems. This is a widely used treatment in the Eastern world, but you can probably find nearby practitioners too, especially if there are specialists in your hometown that offer holistic help.
Even if you are scared of needles, don’t let the fear discourage you from exploring this treatment for your stiff neck. Many people that try it are surprised that it hardly hurts because the practitioners are so well-trained.
As you can see, there is no need for neck pain to get you down and interfere with life. The treatments above are ones you can try today, and even better, they don’t require the use of any drugs.