Ice Or Heat: What Do I Use For Neck Pain?
Neck pain – cervicalgia – is a common medical condition. It can be triggered by various diseases or disorders.
There are very few muscles around the neck area meaning there’s very little by the way of protection provided.
The science behind the pain in the neck can also include pain emanating from any of the neck tissues, too. This is oftentimes accompanied by a dull ache.
Why, precisely, do some people end up suffering from neck pain, then?
Pain is the body’s way of telling you that there is something amiss in your system. More often than not, though, there’s actually nothing seriously wrong.
With regard to neck pain, there are many potential contributory factors that could be causing it.
Here are some of the most common conditions that cause neck pain:
- Cervical Radiculopathy
- Cervical Spondylosis
- Congenital abnormalities of the bones and vertebrae
- Degenerative disc diseases
- Herniated cervical discs
- Horse ride accidents
- Injury from contact sports
- Neck injury
- Neck strain
- Spinal stenosis
- Polymyalgia rheumatica
- Poor posture
- Retropharyngeal abscess
- Septic discitis
- Spinal tumor
- Tuberculosis of the neck
- Vehicular accidents
- Virus infections
- Wrong position of neck while sleeping
Although neck pain typically refers to the pain in the neck area, neck pain also sometimes comes on with pain extending beyond your neck.
Neck pain is also frequently associated with other coexisting symptoms. Here are some of the most common examples:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Dull aches
- Jaw pain
- Motion difficulties
- Muscle spasms
- Sharp shooting pain
- Shoulder pain
- Stiff neck
- Swelling of lymph nodes
- Swishing sounds in the head
- Tingling in the arms
- Throat pain
- Weakness of the arms
Now you have a decent idea of how neck pain is caused and some of the most common symptoms, what can you do to prevent this crippling issue?
Proper sleeping position
- Use a rounded pillow to support the curve of your neck when lying on your back
- Avoid sleeping on a stiff or high pillow to prevent a stiff neck in the morning
- Choose cervical pillows or ones with memory foam to encourage proper spinal alignment
- When sleeping on your side, place the pillow higher up under your neck
- When traveling, or if you need to recline your head while watching TV or reading, a U-shaped pillow is recommended
- Sleeping on your stomach is highly discouraged as this sleeping position puts pressure on your cervical bones
Have a Good Night’s Sleep
- Sleep disturbances and sleep deprivation can lead to musculoskeletal problems which come from disrupted muscle relaxation
Have a Good Night’s Sleep
- Neck stretching in the morning is highly beneficial. Try some chin tucks by making sideways and up-and-down movements of the neck. Next, rotate your head in a circular motion from left to right and vice versa
Now, if none of these approaches eases up your neck pain, you could consider undergoing more extensive treatment to clear the issue up for good.
As outlined above, neck pain can come from a variety of reasons and causes. As such, treatment also varies depending upon the cause of the pain.
That said, for most common neck pain, ice and heat are the methods most frequently used. Both can be used as primary treatment for neck pain.
What To Do?
- Apply ice wrapped in a cloth or towel for the first two days. Limit this to 20 minutes each time. Wait for an hour or so then reapply for 20 minutes. This will also reduce swelling if there’s any present. Ice serves like a local anesthetic by numbing the affected area. The cloth is used to avoid direct contact with ice from burning the skin
- After 48 hours, use heat to relax your muscles and relieve any lingering stiffness. Apply a heating pad or hot compress, again for 20 minutes. Reapply heat throughout the day as required. A warm shower can help as well
If you need quick tricks to relieve neck pain check it out.
Speak with your healthcare provider if your neck pain persists for over a week, or starts getting more severe.
If you need to schedule an appointment, call us today at 480-550-9393.