Yuck! There’s nothing like trying to work for hours at the computer when your neck hurts.
In the past, I’d always just lived with it, slowly working it out through my yoga practice over a series of days.
It got me wondering. Was there a better way? I did some research, and came up with the following. Let me know if any of these work for you!
- Hot shower: Start with this one, which should help ease some of the tension in the muscle. While allowing the warm water to loosen it up, work your neck around slowly. Move your head forward and back, side-to-side (ear to shoulder), and right to left, but make the movements slow and deliberate. Hold the stretch in each position for at least 15 seconds.
- Blanket roll stretch: Take five minutes to do this stretch. Roll a small throw or blanket into a cylinder thick enough to take up the space between the base of your skull and the tops of your shoulders. Lay back over the roll with the crown of your head on the floor. You should feel the stretch in your neck muscles. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Imagine the muscles relaxing.
- Electric massager. If you’ve got someone willing to massage the sore muscles, take advantage of it! If not, try moving an electric, hand-held massager over the painful area in circular motions. Work with it for at least five minutes at a time, three to four times a day.
- Herbal neck wrap: There are some of these that are made specifically to relieve neck pain. They usually contain a mixture of natural herbs that have soothing or pain relieving properties. Most can be warmed up in the microwave and worn around your neck while you work. Bed, Bath, and Beyond, for example, has a number of options, as does Herbal Concepts and Happy Wraps.
- Hang it up: Inversion therapy can help both your back and your neck. If you have a chair that allows you to hang upside down (like a Teeter Hang Up) spend some time in that. If not, try lying sideways on a regular chair, so your neck hangs down. Spend some time on your stomach, first, then on your back, depending on where the pain is and what feels best. If this doesn’t work for you, try lying on your bed with your head hanging down. The point is to relieve the pressure on the small bones in your neck by letting it hang loose, pressure-free. Make slow movements to avoid further injury.
- Magnetic roll: These pillows are designed with strip magnets inside. They’re based on the idea that magnets help stimulate blood circulation, which helps relieve pain. You can try lying on one for several minutes, or actually use one to roll back and forth over your neck. Most of these are called “magnetic lumbar rolls,” as they’re made to support the lower back, but they work equally well for neck pain. Try this one from DoAbility, or from Bob’s Natural Products. The magnetic neck pillow may also be helpful.
- Herbal tea: A number of herbal teas provide pain relief, and can also help you relax. Try valerian, ginger, chamomile, and Brazilian mint, which has actually been found in studies to relieve pain as effectively as aspirin.
- Arnica cream: The flowers and root of the arnica plant are used to make arnica cream, which helps reduce muscle and joint pain. You can find the product at health food stores and pharmacies. Simply massage into the painful area.
- Epsom salts bath: Enjoy a warm bath with Epsom salts right before bed. This traditional remedy really does work for sore muscles, and will increase the odds of you waking up feeling better the next morning. Soak for at least 15 minutes to allow the magnesium to soak into your skin.
- Take some time off. Unless you have a horrible pillow that needs to be replaced (possible), your tense muscles are likely the result of stress. Try to take a day, a half-day, or even just a few hours off to go do something you enjoy. A few hours of true relaxation (think walk in the park, trip to the salon, time with friends, game of golf) may help you forget that your neck ever hurt in the first place.
Do you have tips to ease neck pain? Please share them!
Tags: crick in the neck, muscle pain, neck pain, stiff neck, writer, writing life
When you first determine what is causing your stiff neck, you can then seek an appropriate treatment. This can range from massage, yoga, rest, or even dietary supplements. Here are some other holistic treatments:
Apple Cider Vinegar is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Whether imbibed internally or applied as a topical it can help relieve pain at the site, it’s also rich in important nutrients the body needs to prevent nutrient-deficiency related pain symptoms.
Kudzu is another remedy for stiff neck and muscle pain; like apple cider vinegar it is an anti-inflammatory that can relieve the swelling in your muscles that makes your neck stiff. It also has the added bonus of aiding in blood flow circulation which can also relieve symptoms.
Blackstrap Molasses is a nutritional supplement that can help with some muscular pain which is linked to nutrient deficiency, specifically lack of potassium and calcium. Blackstrap molasses is a nutrient-dense syrup that provides many important minerals and vitamins to the body. By replenishing these nutrients you can help relieve pain symptoms.
Treating neck and back stiffness with a variety of remedies is always the best way to go! Try out these traditional cures!