Quick Tricks for Neck Pain Relief
We tend to spend much of our lives hunched over our smartphones, computers, or driving. The strain we put on our necks in daily life eventually manifests as neck pain.
The thing is, you don’t necessarily need to tolerate neck pain. There are plenty of quick and easy things you can do to soften the muscles and tissues in your neck by inducing relaxation.
These easily actionable tips can provide immediate relief from a pain in the neck.
According to Chinese medicine, your neck corresponds to the outer edge of your palm from the base of your little finger to your wrist.
This acupressure massage trick works for some. Even people with osteophytes have found this simple trick to help soothe neck pain.
Take a pen and place it on a table in front of you. Place the edge of your hand on the pen, and roll it backward and forwards for around 10 minutes.
This exercise will stimulate your tissues, tendons, and muscles that run along with your hand, wrist, and forearm.
Gentle stretching can also help to soothe neck pain. The following exercises will help to loosen a stiff neck, warm the muscles, and help to relieve the pain.
Start off seated, and bring your chin down to your chest and hold for 5 to 10 seconds.
Tip your head back and look up towards the ceiling, hold for 5 to 10 seconds.
Next, drop your head gently to the side so that your ear reaches for your shoulder. Don’t force it, and don’t bring your shoulder up to your ear. Just tilt your head to the side and count for 5 to 10 seconds.
Next, turn your head so that you are looking over your shoulder and hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Now turn your head in the opposite direction.
Repeat the whole routine three times.
It’s the time to move on to some over-stretching exercises where you place additional pressure to increase the stretch. Hold these stretches for 30 seconds for relief from neck pain.
While seated, place your hand underneath your leg. Take the opposite hand and place it on the side of your head. Use your hand to pull your head across so you get a good stretch in the side of the neck. Breathe deeply during the exercise and do 3 sets of 30 seconds on each side.
Finally, finish off with the levator scapula stretch. This stretch is perfect for people who sit hunched over a computer a lot and get very tight shoulder muscles. Place your hand on the back of your shoulder (the same side as your hand).
Take your other hand and use it to pull your head towards the opposite side so that your neck and shoulders get a good stretch.
Again do three rounds of 30 seconds on each side.
You can do these simple stretches anywhere and anytime, aim to do them daily. They can immediately provide temporary relief by warming up your muscles and stretching out any tension that might be causing you pain.
Acupressure can help to relieve tension and promote relaxation. These simple acupressure exercises are surprisingly effective in relieving tension and pain in the neck.
In acupressure, there is a pressure point called gallbladder 20 or GB20. You can find this point by positioning your thumbs at the base of the skull. Just beneath the two bony parts is a fleshy area. This area may be a little tender.
Massage this area with your thumbs for around 2 to 3 minutes.
The gallbladder 21 point or GB21 is midway between the base of your neck and your shoulder in a muscle called the trapezius. With 2 to 3 fingers, massage this point in slow circular motion for around 2 minutes.
Another effective acupressure point for neck pain is the large intestine 4 point (LI4) which is located in the fleshy part of your hand between your thumb and forefinger. Massage this area in a circular motion for around 2 minutes.
The small intestine 3 point is situated on the outside edge of your hand. Make a fist then gently prod the fleshy area. Apply firm pressure in a circular motion for around 2 minutes.
Yoga also helps to relieve tension and reduce neck pain. Try these exercises, you will feel immediate relief from a tight neck. The aim here is to promote relaxation which in turn softens the muscles and releases tension.
Heat and Cold
Placing a heat pack or ice pack on your neck can provide some immediate relief from neck pain.
Which you use on your neck depends on the nature of your neck pain and other factors such as the air temperature.
If you injure your neck, you may have swelling (although you may not see that it is swollen). You should always use ice for the first 24 to 48 hours after a recent injury to reduce swelling. If you use heat, it will swell even more.
If you’re already cold though, avoid the ice as you’ll just be uncomfortable.
Equally, if you’re hot and sweating, you don’t want to use a heat compress.
Don’t Use a Heat Pad If…
If you’re diabetic you can lose some sensation so watch out that it’s not too hot. You could burn yourself.
If you have dermatitis, skin inflammation, vascular disease, and other conditions with problematic circulation you should take care. You can burn yourself easily but can end up with a nasty sore that doesn’t heal quickly.
If you have deep vein thrombosis in your leg you do not want to heat it up, and heat can also be fatiguing for people with multiple sclerosis.
You can make a cold pack by wrapping a bag of ice in a tea towel, or you can use a cooler from the fridge. Ideally, however, you should get an ice pack that is gel-based so that it can mold around your neck.
If you suffer from neck pain try to incorporate these tips into your daily life. Regular stretches and acupressure techniques can greatly improve neck pain and you can do them anywhere and anytime.