Neck Pain: Causes, Treatments, and Alternatives

Neck pain can be very debilitating. In this article, we explore some common causes of neck pain as well as treatment options, and alternatives.

  • Whiplash – Whiplash is the result of the head moving forward and backward in a quick motion, often as the result of impact from a car accident.
  •  Degenerative Disc Disease - Degenerative Disc Disease involves irritated nerves, and/or possible herniation of vertebrae. This can result in severe localized or radiating pain.
  • Lymph Node Swelling – Lymph nodes swell as the result of viral illnesses. The lymph nodes located in the neck can become tender and painful.
  • Meningitis – Meningitis is a serious condition which involves inflammation and infection of the cerebrospinal fluid. Meningitis is a medical emergency. Its first symptoms include neck stiffness, lethargy, and headache, often accompanied by a rash.

Self-Treatments

Provided a person is sure that neck pain is not caused by a dangerous or urgent underlying condition, some self treatment for neck pain include:

  • Heat and Ice

Try to alternate heat and ice at the site of the pain, three times per day, 20 mins on, 20 mins off. Use a thin cloth in between the ice and the skin. For heat, single –use heat wraps are available in drugstores. Alternatively, lie upon an electric heating pad on a low setting. You can also take a warm shower in place of a heating pad or wrap.

  • Move around, Carefully

Although keeping the neck still may seem appropriate, it will be necessary to avoid stiffness by returning to normal activities gradually, as soon as possible. Keeping the neck muscles limber and strong is imperative to healing and preventing future pain. Further, gentle stretching and moving within normal range of motion several times per day is beneficial as well. Avoid any strenuous activity.

  • Pain relievers

Pain relievers may be helpful, though they should be taken under the direction of doctor to inflammation; which is commonly involved with neck pain.

Topical pain relievers can also help to increase blood flow and reduce pain. Massaging in some analgesic gels can in many cases, provide relief.

Self-Care Alternatives and Herbal Remedies

So, you’ve tried the suggestions above and those treatments just don’t work. There are other, less obvious strategies that you can try, below:

  • Massage

A professional massage can do wonders for your well-being. It can increase blood-flow, stretch muscles and break up knots and deposits. This can result in immediate relief and relaxation.

  • Stress Management

Stress levels of Cortisol in the brain, which can have a negative impact on the body. Cortisol also impacts or worsens feelings of pain. The more relaxed and content we are, the better equipped we are to deal with pain.

If these strategies do not work well, always consult a doctor and possibly a good physiotherapist for further assessment.

 

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