The cervical spine or the neck consists of vertebrae extending from the skull to the upper torso. The cervical disks absorb the shock that go between the bones. Your head is supported by the muscles, bones, and ligaments in your neck. In case there are any injuries, abnormalities, or inflammation, you may experience stiffness or neck and shoulder pain.
Most people do not experience neck and shoulder pain often. These issues only come by occasionally, usually as a result of poor posture or overwork. You may also experience stiffness if you work at your desk for too long without switching positions,using improper form during exercise, or sleep in an unideal position.
Take note that your neck is highly prone to injury, especially in sports, falls, and car accidents, where your the ligaments and muscles are forced to move out of their normal range. If a fracture or dislocation were to happen, your spinal cord may be damaged.
Different Pain Relief Options
The condition is typically not serious. Relief usually sets in after several days of resting and using home remedies. However, if you experience chronic pain, this may be a sign that there is something wrong. This may be an indication of a serious illness or injury.
Immediate medical attention is especially necessary if the pain goes on for over a week, is accompanied by other symptoms. Likewise, you should seek medical help if you notice a lump on your neck, headache, fever, swollen glands, vomiting and nausea, weakness, difficulty breathing or swallowing, tingling and numbness, pain in the legs or arms, inability to touch chin to the chest, inability to move hands or arms, or bowel or bladder dysfunction.
When you go to a doctor, you will be given a physical exam and your medical history will be evaluated. See to it that you give as much details as possible, including specifics about your prescription and over-the-counter medications,
supplements, accidents or injuries, and the symptoms you have.
Your treatment will depend on your diagnosis. Some of the tests necessary for determining the cause of your pain include x-rays, blood tests, computed tomography scan, lumbar puncture, magnetic resonance imaging, and electromyography. You may be referred to a specialist by your doctor based on your test results.
In order for you to experience relief, you may have to undergo treatments, such as heat and ice therapy, pain medication, muscle relaxants, corticosteroid injections, neck collar, antibiotics, traction, hospital treatment, surgery, and stretching, exercise, and physical therapy. (check out our physical therapy exercise guide Here and Here)
Just remember to never use a brace or collar without getting approval from your doctor. If you use one inappropriately, you may only make your condition much worse. Similarly, you should avoid taking medications that are not approved by your doctor. This is especially true if you are taking other types of medications for other health issues.
Alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, and chiropractic massage can also help you attain relief. No matter which alternative treatment you go for, see to it that you only work with a licensed professional to avoid making your condition worse.
If your neck and shoulder pain is not that severe or your doctor told you that your condition will get better in a few days, you can try simple home remedies. For instance, you can apply ice on the affected area. Keep doing this for several days. Then, apply heat on it using a hot compress or heating pad. You can also take hot showers. (check out our shoulder heating pad review here)
As much as possible, you should refrain from engaging in sports or any other physical activities that may aggravate your symptoms. You should also avoid lifting heavy objects or performing strenuous workout routines. Once your symptoms have lessened, you can go back to your normal activities.
When talking on the phone, you should refrain from cradling it between your shoulder and neck. You should also refrain from standing or sitting in one position for several hours. When you sleep, you may want to use a special pillow. You can look for reviews about the best pillow for neck and shoulder pain on the Internet.
Yoga Exercises for Relieving Pain
Moreover, you may want to try some yoga exercises to give you relief. Yoga is a great way to strengthen your body at a slower pace. Then again, see to it that you get approval from your doctor before starting any exercise regimen.
The Clock or Pec Stretch is ideal for relieving neck pain. Just stand against a wall and put your right hand up to the 12 o’clock position. Then, move your hand slowly until you reach the 3 o’clock position. Put your left hand over your right rib cage. Inhale and exhale as you pull your rib cage forward. Do not move your right arm as you do this. Hold the position for six breaths. Repeat the same steps on your other side.
Another yoga exercise you may want to try is Arms Overhead with Strap. For this exercise, you need a yoga belt or strap. Bring your arms over your head. See to it that your palms are facing away from each other. Then, drop your chin to your chest so you can relax the muscles in your neck. Hold this position for six breaths. Repeat the exercise twice.