Have you ever woken up with muscle spasms so intense that you can barely even turn your head? Neck pain affects around half of adults in the US every year and is one of the most common reasons for a doctor’s visit.
Having to deal with a neck pain is very cumbersome especially as it pertains to daily activities. When pain strikes, the first reaction is usually to become weary about the possibility of an underlying condition and therefore to ask a medical professional to do a radiography on you to discard anything serious. The great majority of times however, this turns out to be a waste of time, money and more importantly exposes you to radiation unnecessarily. While the risk from X-rays and MRIs are small, it is preferable to avoid them if at all possible. With this said, you should seek an MRI or radiography if you suffer from neck pain accompanied by some of the following: fever, chills, history of cancer, numbness or loss of strength of the limbs and unexplained weight loss.
Home treatments to keep in mind:
Ice pack: One of the simplest remedies for neck pain. The cold temperature will help to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. Apply a bag of ice wrapped with a hand towel to the affected area for no more than 15 minutes, do not place the bag of ice directly on the skin.
Hydrotherapy: Very effective for neck pain and it can be easily done while in the shower. The force of the water from the showerhead onto the affected area on the neck will help to reduce pain as it acts as a massage. First, use warm water for 4 minutes. Then, adjust the water to cold temperature for about a minute. Repeat as many times as necessary.
Epsom Salt: A bath of Epsom salt can alleviate muscular tension and reduce stress. The magnesium sulfate of the salt functions as a natural muscle relaxant that helps minimize swelling and pain. Just add 2 cups of Epsom salt to a warm bath. Settle yourself in, making sure the affected area is plunged into the water. Remain in the salt bath for 15 to 20 minutes. Please refrain from doing this technique if you suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes or any cardiac condition.
Apple Cider Vinegar: A powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, it is capable of relieving pain pretty quickly. Wet a paper towel with the apple cider vinegar and place it on your neck for an hour or so. You will want to try to remain relatively still so make sure you choose a comfortable position. Do this twice a day until the pain has subsided.
Correct sleep posture: Lie on your back with 1 or 2 pillows placed under the knees and a smaller pillow under the neck. If the pain does snot let you sleep, a cervical collar can help keep your neck aligned. However, using one during the day is counterproductive since overuse tends to weaken cervical muscles.
OTC Meds: Obtainable in any local pharmacy, these OTC options can alleviate pain relatively fast. A couple popular examples are acetaminophen and ibuprofen. These OTC meds are thought to probably work better than muscle relaxants, according to recent investigations.