Chronic neck pain is a common medical condition that millions of people are affected from. There can be a number of reasons that cause chronic neck pain like neck stain, inappropriate positioning of the neck while sleeping, bad posture while sitting and standing, neck injury, heavy lifting and other spinal issues directly affecting the muscles of the neck.
Neck pain when caused by wear and tear of the bone joints in the neck is referred to as cervical spondylosis which usually occurs with age. Sometimes neck stiffness also affects the nearby nerves and the pain radiates from arms due to which the effected person feels numbness in his hands and legs. Anxiety and stress often causes tension in the neck muscles, resulting in neck pain.
Treatments For Managing Chronic Neck Pain
Whatever may be the cause of chronic neck pain, it is generally advised to stay active and carry on with daily activities. Following treatments are helpful for getting relief from chronic neck pain.
Medicines like no-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen are often prescribed to reduce inflammation of the tissues and relieve neck pain. Pain relief allows the sufferer to move his/her neck gently and allows him/her to start doing exercises that can strengthen the neck muscles and avoid worsening of the condition.
Pain creams and gels are also prescribed for rubbing on the neck. Some other prescription pain relievers include muscle relaxants which are usually prescribed to treat acute neck pain and spasms. Antidepressants are sometimes used for treating chronic pain.
Exercise is the best way to get relief from chronic neck pain. Stretching out the neck will help to prevent and ease neck pain. Start with gentle motion exercises. Repeat each exercise five times twice or thrice a day. To perform a simple neck exercise, first sit upright. Now slowly turn your head towards the right as far as possible, hold for 20 seconds and return to the center.
Then repeat the same for the opposite side. As you finish, drop your chin towards your chest slowly, hold for few seconds and then lift your head. Next tilt your head slowly towards your left shoulder, hold for few seconds return back to the center. Then do the same towards the right shoulder.
To avoid developing chronic neck pain, you must always sleep on a firm mattress. One of the major causes of sore or stiff neck is improper sleeping habits such as sleeping on the wrong pillow or mattress. Always use a firm mattress and make sure that your head is aligned with the spine while sleeping. Avoid sleeping on the stomach as it forces the head to rise up. Avoid firm or thick pillow and instead go for crushed foam or feather pillows.
Apply Cold Compress or Heat
Another great strategy for relieving neck pain is to either chill the painful area or warm it up. To do this, you can use a heating pad or an ice pack for about 10-15 minutes, 4-5 times a day, to relieve the pain.