20 Aug 2020
#HealthBytes: How to take care of neck pain
Written byRashi BhattacharyyaLifestyle
Many people experience neck pain or stiffness occasionally due to poor posture or exertion. Sometimes, it can be caused by injury from a fall, contact sports, or whiplash.
Since most of the time neck pain isn't a serious condition, it can be fixed within a few days through some techniques.
But, if the pain stays for more than a week, consult a doctor.
Apply ice or heat, can use it consecutively as well
Apply heat or ice to the painful area.
You can also alternate between the two. Use ice for the first 48 to 72 hours, and then use heat.
Heat may come in the form of warm showers, hot compresses or a heating pad.
Be sure not to fall asleep with a heating pad or ice bag in place to avoid skin injuries.
Do some simple neck and shoulder stretches gently
Stretching can help relieve the pain and stiffness, and prevent it in the future. Here are some basic stretches you can do:
Press your shoulder blades together and hold the position for a few seconds, then repeat.
Roll your shoulders backward and then forward in a circle.
Slowly turn your head from side to side.
Applying a heating pad before stretching can be helpful.
Adjust your sleeping environment for more comfort
Sleep problems can increase the risk for several different conditions, including musculoskeletal pain. So, readjust your sleeping conditions for minimal strain on your neck muscles.
You can start by getting a firmer mattress. Consider using a special neck pillow. Don't sleep on your abdomen, lie down only on your back or side.
Try relaxing before going to sleep as stress is harmful for muscles.
Pain relievers and other preventive measures
Try over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), naproxen sodium (Aleve) and acetaminophen (Tylenol, others).
Avoid activities that increase your pain for sometime. When you resume normal activity, don't rush in and let your symptoms ease out.
Exercise your neck every day and use good posture.
If your neck pain is severe, or is accompanied by other symptoms, seek medical help.