Why Is It Important To Relieve Your Neck Pain?
The neck is the ‘bridge’ between your body and head and besides supporting our head, it houses the arteries that supply blood to the brain from the heart. Your brain is responsible for and automatically controls most of your body functions (such as heart rate, breathing, hormones, coordination, immune system, balance and sleep). The pair of arteries that are located in canals inside your neck’s vertebrae is responsible for bringing enough blood to your brain, so it can function properly. If, for some reason, our brain doesn’t receive a large amount of blood, it will perform under par and all the systems of the body mentioned before will malfunction. By taking care of your neck, you are making sure that your brain and body will function well.
However, keeping your neck healthy is not an easy job. First of all, it is quite fragile and although its movement is of great importance for your sensory organs, at the same time it can also be to your disadvantage since the vertebrae can easily ‘misalign’ or its joints can dislocate, resulting in serious injuries that may affect your entire body. Furthermore, many things we do and face on a daily basis such as stress, posture and the excess computer use can also influence the health of our neck, resulting in reduced blood supply to our brain which further results in poor wellbeing, the breakdown of the immune system, reduction in energy level, etc.
How can you relieve neck pain?
There are many things you can do to improve the health of your neck and reduce the pain. First of all, we strongly recommend that you talk to a specialist before you decide to make any treatment on your own. They will examine you and give you precise physical therapy which will help you identify the cause of pain, reduce it, and strengthen the weak areas of the neck through targeted exercises. That being said, you should also know what type of neck pain you are experiencing.
According to John H. Shim MD and famous invasive spine surgeon, there are three general types of neck pain:
Acute: Pain that lasts less than four weeks.
Subacute: Pain that lasts four to twelve weeks.
Chronic: Pain that lasts three or more months.
"Most neck pain can be treated with nonsurgical methods, with self-care at home and with guidance from a medical professional." - John H. Shim MD
Steps to avoid neck pain:
1. Rest and avoid stress:
Most types of neck pain are temporary, and it will take a few days for the muscles and tendons to heal on their own. You can help your body by resting and avoiding any unnecessary movements and stress such as continued work on the computer.
2. Modify your lifestyle
If you notice that after some activities you regularly do you get neck pain, make a determined effort to avoid them. Furthermore, make sure that your surroundings, (especially at work) are ergonomically friendly. Have your chair, monitor and keyboard positioned in the right way to keep your body, head and neck aligned in natural position. Buy yourself an ergonomically-friendly pillow and supportive mattress. Furthermore, limit your time on the computer and phone and use them correctly; your “phone should be held up close to eye level to keep the neck more upright while texting.” - John H. Shim, MD
3. Apply ice
You can reduce the neck pain and swelling with ice, which will work as an anti-inflammatory and will “temporarily close small blood vessels and prevent swelling from becoming worse”. - John H. Shim, MD.
Apply ice for the first few days, then begin to apply heat with a heating pad, a hot compress, or by taking a hot shower.
4. Massage and exercises
Massage and exercises are proven to be one of the most effective ways to reduce neck pain. Usually, after you apply ice, it is recommended to massage the neck gently. This way, you will soothe the tension in the muscles and spasms and with that, reduce the pain. The second most effective way to reduce neck pain is through exercises. There are many exercises you can use at home to try and relieve your pain.
Carolyn (Caz) Rowland is a fashion designer, model, lifestyle blogger and professional Image Stylist. Caz is also a qualified NLP Master Therapist, Advanced Practitioner of Matrix Therapies, Time Line Therapist, Practitioner of Hypnotherapy, has a Diploma for Business and Life Coaching. Caz is happily married to her husband Simon, and raised four beautiful children, who are now young adults and a teenager.