What Causes Neck Pain and How to Get Relief
Struggling with neck strain or constant pain? Have a hard time working or sleeping because of it? You’re not alone. Neck one affects millions of people worldwide. In fact, around 10 percent of all adults have this problem. Rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, neck injury, and prolonged sitting are some of the most common causes. Poor posture contributes to neck pain too.
Luckily, this condition can be successfully managed. Simple things, such as sleeping on a firm mattress, applying ice packs, and stretching your neck, can make all the difference. First, let’s see what causes neck pain and how it manifests itself.
What Causes a Stiff Neck?
Statistics indicate that 10 percent to 20 percent of adults have neck problems at any given time. Neck strain, stiff neck, neck pain headache are all a common occurrence and can have a variety of causes. Therefore, there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment plan that works for everyone.
Imagine the following scenario. You spend hours sitting every single day. You sit at the desk, in the car, and on the couch. All that sitting increases disc pressure on your spine, forcing the vertebrae to crunch down onto each other. This leads to neck pain and stiffness along with other problems, such as lower back pain. In the long run, prolonged sitting can affect your posture and increase the risk of developing chronic disorders.
However, this is just of the many possible causes of a stiff neck. Lack of exercise, cervical arthritis, degenerative disc disease, and pinched nerves play a role too. Cervical arthritis, for instance, may cause neck pain, stiffness, muscle weakness, and migraines. Most times, pain is accompanied by headaches, muscle tightness and spasms, and limited mobility.
Treatment Options for Neck Pain
Neck pain treatment depends on the root cause of your problem. Degenerative diseases, for example, will require a different treatment than neck strain or herniated discs. In general, healthcare professionals recommend ice packs, massage, physiotherapy, pain relievers, and anti-inflammatory drugs.
Unless your symptoms are caused by a more serious condition, you may be able to control them through lifestyle changes. Start by switching to an ergonomic workstation. This is a simple, effective way to correct your posture, reduce fatigue, and relieve pain. Plus, you’ll focus better at work and feel more comfortable overall.
Remember to take a break every hour or so. Avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time. Take advantage of every opportunity to leave your office and move around. Go out for a walk during lunch break, stretch your neck and back every few hours, and do exercises that strengthen the neck muscles. Neck tilts, neck rotations, lateral flexions, and chin tucks are all an excellent choice.
Also, any type of low impact aerobic exercise can help relieve a stiff neck. Walking and swimming, for instance, increase blood flow to your muscles and tissues, which in turn accelerates healing. If you’re not sure where to start, consult a physiotherapist. He can develop an exercise plan and recommend lifestyle changes to improve your posture and reduce neck pain.
Consider switching to a firm mattress. Use a neck pillow for adequate support. Apply ice packs on your neck when the pain seems more severe.
Your diet matters too. Certain foods, such as turmeric, ginger, fatty fish, nuts, and seeds, boast natural anti-inflammatory properties. When consumed regularly, they may reduce swelling and provide pain relief. Others, especially sugar, have the opposite effect; they trigger inflammation, making pain worse.