Do you wake up some mornings with a very stiff neck? There could be a variety of reasons for the intense pain, but before we get into the causes and symptoms, it's important to understand some basic anatomy first.
The neck is located at the uppermost section of the spinal column. It contains seven sets of vertebrae, also known as cervical vertebrae. The neck contains many sensitive nerve endings, making it a powerful erogenous zone.
By the end of this article, you'll be more familiar with the causes and symptoms of neck pain, and have a better understanding of how to treat the pain at home.Main Causes of Neck Pain
Recommended Treatments You Can Do At Home
Hot and Cold Therapy - Heat therapy can be used to alleviate neck pain. There are two main types of heat therapy, which consist of dry heat and moist heat. Heating pads contain dry heat, while steamed towels constitute moist heat. Electric heating pads keep a constant heat level as long as they are fully charged. The therapeutic benefits of heat therapy help reduce joint pain, muscle spasms and arthritis - all common contributors of neck pain.
You can begin the heat therapy process by applying a heating pad between 15 to 20 minutes every 2 or 3 hours. Ice packs may be applied to the neck for the same duration as the heating pad. The ice pack drastically reduces inflammation and soothes the affected areas. There are also single-use heat wraps that last up to 8 hours, which can be used as an alternative to heat pads.
Perfect Posture Exercise - Remember when your parents told you to stand up straight? There's a perfectly good reason behind that. Standing in an upright position greatly improves posture and spine health. There is an exercise you can perform at home to help build perfect posture:
Stand with your back against a wall, while keeping your heels just a few inches away. The heels are the only part of the body that should not come in contact with the wall. Walk away from the wall and back to check that your posture is upright. Repeat the process throughout the day.
Isometric Neck Exercise - Isometric exercises play a vital role in maintaining a strong and healthy neck. This particular exercise is performed against the resistance of your neck, keeping your head in a static position. Here's how to perform an isometric exercise:
Begin by sitting in a relaxed position with your hands touching your forehead. Your palms are used to resist the pressure, as you lean in towards your forehead. Place your right hand on the right side of your head, and let the left side resist the pressure being applied. Make sure you switch sides after.
The next step is to press both hands against the back of your neck, and resist your head from going backward. To complete the exercise, you'll want to press your left hand against the right side of your face as you try to turn your head to look over your right shoulder. Don't forget to switch sides.
Range-of-Motion Neck Exercise - In order to complete the range-of-motion exercise, you should slowly turn your head to the far right, pause a second, and return it to the center position. Do the same for the other side.
Drop your chin down slowly toward your chest, while holding for a brief static moment, then relax. Your head should be back in the center position now. Gently tilt your head toward your left shoulder, while holding for a moment, and gradually return to the center position.
Pillows Can Make a Difference - Last but not least, are pillows. There are certain pillows that are ideal for preventing neck pain. Water-filled pillows are used to alleviate neck pain, and give you a good night's sleep.
Orthopedic pillows are used to support the curvature of your neck, whereas, water-filled pillows, support the neck by redistributing the weight. The main function of each pillow is to keep your neck in a neutral position when you sleep. Make sure you choose a comfortable and firm mattress as well.
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