Neck pain is a common problem that plagues many Americans. Neck pains are commonly caused by incorrect posture, muscle strain from sitting in one place for long periods of time or awkward neck positioning throughout the day. The latest figures showed that Americans spent approximately $20 billion on drugs for back and neck pain in 2005. If you've been dealing with neck pain and would like to lay off over-the-counter medications, here are 3 tips you should try.
Perform Trigger Point Exercises
Neck pain can be caused by tight muscles. You can easily loosen up these muscles at home by yourself if you are familiar with the appropriate trigger point exercises. All you'll need is either a foam roller or a racquetball to assist you in ironing out tense muscles.
You'll want to use a foam roller to roll over your scapular muscles and a racquetball to massage shoulder blade trigger points. Place the foam roller on the ground or the racquetball against a wall and lean on either one with your entire body weight. If you're using a foam roller, keep your torso parallel to the ground. On the other hand, if you're using a racquetball, lean onto the ball using your upper back. You should feel temporary relief by performing these trigger point exercises. If you continue these exercises long-term, you might even achieve permanent neck pain relief.
Soak in Epsom Salts
When your neck starts aching, it may be an indication that you should take some time off to relax at the end of the night by soaking in an Epsom salt bath. Epson salt bathing is not only relaxing, but also great at relieving muscle pain and speeding up the healing process. Epsom salts contain magnesium, which helps release muscle aches and pains by reducing the rate of calcium binding during muscle contraction. This causes your muscles to relax.
You can purchase bags of Epsom salt at your local drugstore. You'll only need to use 2 cups of Epsom salts for your hot bath, and you should soak in the bath for at least 15 to 20 minutes. Take this time to relax. Light some candles. Read a book or even watch a movie on a tablet while you soak in the bath. It'll not only help you with your neck pains, but will also relieve you of any mental stress that you may have been carrying with you throughout the day.
Take Some Time to Stretch
If you don't have time to take a bath, but need neck pain relief, you should try taking some time out of your day to stretch. Neck stretches are incredibly easy to do and will only take approximately 3 to 5 minutes to complete. There are several different types of neck stretches that can help loosen up your neck muscles. Neck flexions, which involve lowering your chin down to your chest and holding for 10 to 15 seconds, are extremely effective in relieving neck pain.
In addition to neck stretches, you can also try shoulder shrugs and upper back stretches. Most of these exercises can be completed while sitting. Take a little bit of time out of every day to stretch, and you'll feel a significant difference. Your neck muscles won't feel as tight and strained.
If you are struggling with consistent and long-term neck pain, you should seek medical help as soon as possible. A family physician, a chiropractor or even a massage therapist may be able to help relieve you of your symptoms and keep neck pain away for good. It's important to deal with this problem at its roots and as soon as possible before the condition worsens and requires more medical attention. Contact a clinic like Southwest Florida Neurosurgical Associates to get started.