As common a problem as neck muscle pain is, it is not an issue to take lightly as it can quickly escalate into a debilitating injury if not taken care of. There are many ways in which someone may experience pains in their neck including muscle strains, stress, and nerve compression. Luckily, there are as many treatment options as there are causes of neck muscle pains. Some treatment options include ice or heat therapy, physical therapy, or medications. Additionally, simple lifestyle tweaks like maintaining proper posture or switching the type of pillows or mattress used when resting may prevent neck pains as well.
Believe it or not, stress is a major cause for neck muscle pain. When one experiences fear and worrying constantly in their daily life, the muscles of the neck tend to tense up and become tight. Over time, this can translate into neck pains and headaches. Establishing relaxation techniques or practicing yoga are a couple of outlets in which one may alleviate their stresses and reduce neck pain. By taking a brief break every 45 minutes to an hour to stretch and relax the neck muscles, one may prevent neck muscle tightness from developing in the first place.
Another common cause of neck muscle pain is due to muscle strains. Overuse of one’s neck muscles, or poor posture like being slouched over a desk for too long, can eventually lead to development of a neck muscle strain. Unbeknownst to many, teeth grinding can also lead to a strain in one’s neck. Treating the strained muscles with ice could help alleviate pain and provide comfort. Taking over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen can also be beneficial in reducing inflammation and pain of the overused muscles.
Another possibility of pain in one’s neck muscle may be due to nerve compression. Should the vertebrae of one’s upper spine be damaged, nerves in close proximity can be pinched and compressed. When this happens, the muscle nearby become inflamed, causing sharp, intense pains in the neck. A chiropractor may be able to adjust the spine to reduce the pressure and inflammation that led to the nerve compression.
Poor Sleeping Posture
Lastly, awkward sleeping posture can also lead to pain in the muscles of the neck. The recommended sleeping position is simply flat on the back, face up, with the knees slightly elevated with a pillow or two to induce proper spinal alignment. A specially designed pillow, called the cervical traction neck pillow, may be beneficial in elevating the neck to the optimum level for sleep. This specific position will produce the least amount of stress to the upper area of one’s spine, and many who have tried it have noted that neck muscle pains have drastically lowered after adopting this new sleeping style.
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