Treatment for neck pain may include massage, acupuncture, yoga and the obvious pain killers. There are a lot of people today who seek out alternative treatments in addition to standard treatments to gain further pain relief.
What is a Stiff Neck?
Symptoms associated with a stiff neck typically last from a couple of days to a week and may produce neck pain that ranges from mildly painful to severe pain and limit activities. While there are a few instances in which neck stiffness can be a sign of a serious medical condition, in most instances acute neck stiffness usually heals quickly.
A stiff neck is typically characterized by soreness and difficulty moving the neck, especially when trying to turn the head to the side. A stiff neck may also be accompanied by a headache, neck pain, shoulder pain and/or arm pain, and cause the individual to turn the entire body as opposed to the neck when trying to look sideways or backward.
What can cause severe neck pain?
There can be many activities that can cause the sudden onset of neck pain due to muscle strain.
A neck strain is not a serious injury. However, the pain that it causes can be significant.
The beginning of neck muscle strain can be caused by many every day activities that can put strain on the neck.
- Too much time driving
- Leaning forward to view a computer screen
- Sleeping in a position that strains the neck, such as with a pillow that is too high or too firm
- Carrying a heavy objects on one side of the body
- Any form of trauma that impacts the neck, such as from whiplash in a car accident
- A fall in landing on the top of the head
- Sleeping with the neck at an awkward position that strains the neck muscles
- Sports injuries that strain the neck
- Any activity that involves repeatedly turning the head from side to side, such as swimming
- Poor posture
- Looking downward at a mobile phone for prolonged periods
- Excessive stress can also lead to tension in the neck
Most episodes of neck muscle strain typically include difficulty and pain when moving or rotating the head or neck.
When to see a Doctor in relation to treatment for neck pain?
For more severe pain and stiffness, if the symptoms last for more than a day or two, or if the pain is accompanied by arm pain, numbness or tingling, a visit to a health professional is generally advisable.
Also if the symptoms started after any kind of trauma or accident it is a good idea to get a full examination from a health professional to diagnose or rule out any serious problems.
For most episodes of neck pain, self-care and avoiding any additional strain to the neck will usually suffice to manage the symptoms until the strain is healed.
Until the symptoms subside, there are many self-care neck pain therapies that are effective in alleviating the pain and stiffness, such as:
Application of ice or cold packs to the neck for the treatment of neck pain.
The cold helps reduce inflammation in the area, which in turn allows it to heal. The ice or cold pack should be applied in twenty-minute intervals during the initial 24 hours.
Application of heat to the neck for the treatment of neck pain.
The heat helps bring nutrient-rich blood flow to the area to stimulate a healing response. Some people prefer moist heat, such as from a hot bath or shower. Others find more relief from applying continuous low level heat from a heat wrap.
Pain medications taking anti-inflammatory medicines, such as ibuprofen will reduce the inflammation, which in turn will help reduce the pain.
Massage therapy treatment for neck pain
A gentle massage will to stimulate blood flow in the area, which helps it heal, massage therapy is probably most effective in the short term.
Alternative therapies have a good record for safety and lack of side effects.
However, it’s always best to check with your doctor before starting any neck pain therapy in your treatment for neck pain, because they know how it may affect your specific condition.