Neck. Pain. Ugh. What can we do?
Most people over 20 years old have, or have had, neck pain. That sucks. And it can affect us, not just physically, but also with social and psychological aspects of our beings. It makes sense of course because our bodies and minds are so tightly bound.
A Brazilian study shows a strong association with widowed/separated people with low socioeconomic status, who perform occupational activities with sitting/leaning positions, and who report 2 or more diseases.
When I read this, I thought, “how can we educate more people to get in some free or low-cost self-care for improving neck pain and the problems that follow?” One step is to get the information out there. Thankfully there’s a lot to choose from!
Harvard Health has a few tips:
- Don’t stay in one position for too long. It’s hard to improve poor posture once it’s bad. MOTION IS LOTION!
- Make ergonomic adjustments. Position screens at eye level and use handsfree functions on phones. Sitting/standing up tall really helps too.
- Keep any glasses prescription up to date to prevent leaning the head forward or backward.
- Don’t use too many pillows. Neck should be aligned with good posture during sleep to promote good range of motion.
- Know physical limitations. For example, don’t move that giant dresser across the room if it’s super heavy; ask for help!
- SLEEP!!!! Get a good night’s sleep because sleep problems cause increased pain overall, not just in the neck.
There are several natural ways to relieve neck pain, some of which include:
- Stretching: gentle stretches of the neck and shoulder muscles can help alleviate tension and tightness in the neck.
- Heat therapy: applying a warm compress or taking a warm shower can help relax muscles and reduce pain.
- Cold therapy: using an ice pack or a cold compress can help reduce inflammation and numb the pain.
- Massage: gentle massage of the neck muscles can help relieve pain and tension.
- Acupuncture: a traditional Chinese medicine technique where tiny needles are inserted into specific points in the body to reduce pain and tension.
- Yoga: practicing yoga can help improve posture and reduce tension in the neck and shoulders.
- Meditation: mindfulness meditation techniques can help reduce stress and tension in the body, including the neck.
- Chiropractic: chiropractic adjustments can help realign the spine and reduce tension and pain in the neck.
- Essential oils: certain essential oils, such as peppermint and lavender, can be applied topically or diffused to help reduce pain and tension in the neck.
- Rest and relaxation: getting adequate sleep, reducing stress, and taking breaks from work or other activities that require neck strain can help relieve neck pain.
Ask your provider to see what can be done to improve neck pain!
One way to help needy people get pain relief and free-to-them medical care is to donate or volunteer. Here’s one organization that I have worked with and they are incredible people helping people: https://nwb.ngo