Should You Put Heat On A Stiff Neck?

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Stiff neck suffers, will hear conflicting advice on whether you should put cold or put heat on a stiff neck.

And, it really depends on whether the sore neck is an acute problem or a chronic one. A general rule of thumb is to ice for acute pain and heat for chronic pain.

Heat will increase blood flow when applied to the skin so can be invaluable for treating chronic neck pain and poorly healed neck injuries.

Waking up with a stiff neck caused during sleep process

A stiff neck often caused by sleeping in a draft or awkward position will also benefit from the application of heat. As heat penetrates the painful area, blood circulation increases due to the dilation of blood vessels. This increase in blood flow reduces inflammation, brings extra oxygen and carries away waste and toxins. As this process takes place, pain will reduce.

Regency Hot/Cold Cervical Pillow with Case

Features of the Regency Hot/Cold Cervical Pillow: Measures 14″ x 5″. Provides relief from neck pain and headaches. Pillow density can be adjusted for individual comfort. Can be completely deflated for traveling ease. Washable pillow case. Hot/Cold pack can be frozen or heated in boiling water.

Heat should not be used on an acute neck injury or where discoloration or swelling is present as it may increase internal bleeding.

Water is a more effective heat conductor than air and the neck can tolerate moist heat at a temperature higher than that of dry heat. Many people use hot water bottles for neck pain relief. The bottle should be half filled and the excess air removed helping it conform more easily to the body. The temperature should be checked to make sure it isn’t too hot and wrapping a towel or cover around it will make it safer and more comfortable.

A hot shower with the shower head directed on the painful area can also provide relief for stiff neck. While soaking in a hot tub is traditionally a method for soothing aches and pains, lying in a tub does not promote good neck posture.

Products On The Market Aimed At Relieving Stiff Neck

There are a variety of products on the market designed to give neck pain relief. Specialized neck wraps containing gel can be heated by using a microwave or by soaking in boiling water for a set period. These wraps are designed to prevent burning and mould to the contours of the neck for maximum pain relief.

Herbal neck wraps, containing spices and herbs such as ginger, black pepper and juniper berries can be heated in a microwave and will dispense moist heat and the relaxing properties of the herbs.

Elasto-Gel Hot/Cold Cervical Support Roll, Large (4 in x 10 in)

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Neck roll pillows, providing a contour that supports the natural cervical spine curvature can be found with optional non-toxic heat pack inserts. Made from memory foam these pillows mould around the neck and retain heat.

Electrical heating pads are also available and mould well to body contours due to  flexibility. They can cause irritation or burning if set too high and if you fall asleep. And, some electric heating pads may use dry heat, it is best to purchase models with moist heating pads for soothing penetrating heat.

Shoulder and Neck Heating Pad by Theratherm

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There are a number of topical products designed to create heat on painful areas. Some may cause a numbing sensation and prevent the patient from feeling exactly how hot they are. Products such as Deep Heat containing menthol can be used with caution if applied to cool skin as they have been known to create a burning sensation when the skin is warm.

Some herbal-based products are gentler on the skin and if applied after using heat therapy will penetrate deeper through the skin.

Heat is a useful medium in relieving neck pain as long as it is used carefully and safely. So, go ahead- use heat on that stiff neck.

Acupressure For Neck Pain

acupressure for neck painAcupressure for neck pain is an alternative choice when you aren’t a huge fan of contemporary medicine and you, unfortunately,  feel some discomfort with your neck, you might want to check it out. Acupressure is an ancient form of touch therapy that makes use of the principles and art of acupuncture and Chinese healing. It involves using the fingers to press certain points on the body surface that can trigger your body to release chemicals in the brain that can naturally provide you with neck pain relief.

How Acupressure For Neck Pain Works

When the key acupressure points are identified and pressed, endorphins are released by the brain which work like a natural morphine. It paves way for letting loose of the discomforting muscular tension, promotes blood circulation, and stimulates your body’s natural-healing abilities.

Acupressure for neck pain, or any pain, as opposed to acupuncture which utilizes needles, makes use of gentle, yet firm, pressure of the hands and perhaps also the feet. But basically, acupressure and acupuncture use the same key points within the body.

Acupressure is particularly effective since studies have shown that stimulating the acupressure points for neck pain can stop the delivery of pain impulses from the spine to the brain. Study has it that these points possess a lower resistance to electrical current. Thus, stimulating them can actually alter electrical activity.

Acupressure Points

Each acupressure point basically possesses different characteristics and ways of functioning. A local point is where you actually feel pain or tension and you can, with acupressure, stimulate that particular point. Actually, that same point can provide relief to a different part of the body, and in that case, the local point becomes the trigger point. In Chinese medicine, acupressure points are parts of the body in which the flow of Qi or Energy and blood can be manipulated to control bodily functions to give further pain relief.

The Point For Acupressure For Neck Pain

You can easily spot the point for applying acupressure for neck pain relief. The acupressure point for your stiff neck is actually situated at the back of your hand, in between the bones on the hollow surface behind the knuckles of the first and middle finger.

Don’t zero in on the precise location of a point. Consider each point as being at the center of a circle with the width of around three fingers. Direct pressure on any point inside the circle will have an impact on the main point. Additionally, put as much pressure as it takes to make you comfortable. Hold it for about a minute until you feel an increase in warmth, a pulsation, or a softening of a certain tissue or muscle.

You can stimulate the acupressure points for stiff neck pain relief simply by using finger pressure which is as good as acupuncture. Firm and gentle pressure from your finger or thumb can make you feel instantly relaxed.

Unfortunately, you cannot entirely rid yourself of the neck pain by the mere use of acupressure. It is just a temporary type of a ‘first aid treatment’ and the effects of acupressure for neck pain are semi-permanent.

Best Way To Sleep To Avoid Neck Pain

SlumberCare Neck Support SupremeCare Memory Foam Pillow

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Best way to sleep to avoid neck painBest way to sleep when you are plagued with irritating neck pain and neck tension, and avoid aggravating your existing pain is to change sleeping positions or use sleeping aids such as specially designed pillows. While there are some neck pain causes that you can’t control, such as aging and wear-and-tear, you can help to minimize or prevent neck pain while you sleep. And that’s good news.

Positioning The Best Way To Sleep To Avoid Neck Pain

Considering that you spend six to ten hours in bed, finding the best position to sleep in to prevent or minimize neck pain is rather essential. The two sleeping positions that work best are on your back or on your side.

Stomach-sleeping arches the back, making it tough on your spine. It also keeps your neck turned to the side, which can lead to increased neck stiffness and pain in the morning.

For most of us, we developed certain sleep habits and have our favorite sleep positions that we have been using since we were kids. And, if we start off in a better sleep position to reduce neck pain, chances are we are going to wake up in our favorite position in the morning!

But, if you can at least start off sleeping on your side or back, it’s at least a step in the right direction. And, even in the right position it is important to get the right support in pillows.

Pillows Help The Best Way To Sleep To Avoid Neck Pain

Pillows are very important in you are looking for the best way to sleep to avoid neck pain. Choose the wrong pillow and you can end up with more pain than you started off with.

If you sleep on your back, you need to make sure you have the right pillow to support your neck in the right places. You really need to steer clear of pillow that are high and stiff. These will keep your neck in a flexed position overnight and you will wake up with more pain and stiffness.

Dynatronics Concept 2000 Pillow, Medium

Features of the Dynatronics Concept 2000 Pillow: Features two lobes – one small, one large contour – to fit every size neck. Three foam densities available to ensure proper support. Full 22″ size fits most pillow cases.

Because you have a natural curve to your neck, you should choose a round pillow to support that and a flatter pillow to cushion your head.  You can buy a special pillow that has built-in neck support and that is indented for your head to rest in. Or, you can tuck a small neck pillow into the pillowcase of a pillow that is softer and flatter.

Another option is to use a feather pillow. A feather pillow conforms easily to the shape of your neck. The bad thing about feather pillows is that they tend to ‘collapse’ over time and should be replaced each year. In the ‘old days’, housewives used to open the feather pillows, wash the feathers and add more inside new pillow ticking.

A more modern option is a memory-foam pillow. The memory foam conforms to the contour of your neck and head, providing support in the right places. You can even get cervical pillows that are made with memory foam. Memory foam pillows are purported to encourage proper spinal alignment while you sleep.

Best Pillow For Side Sleepers

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Side-sleeping is another best way to sleep to avid neck pain. If you are a side sleeper, you should look for a pillow that is higher under your neck than your head. This helps to keep your spine in good alignment. Another pillow you should have is a flatter pillow that you can put between your knees to also help in keeping your spine aligned. Full-length body pillows are great for draping your arm and leg over to maintain a healthy spinal alignment.

Best Neck Pillow For Leisure And Travel

If you are someone who spends time reclined in a lounge chair, you may want to invest in a cervical neck pillow that is shaped like a horseshoe. This helps to support your neck and prevent tilting your head from one side to another.

Jobri Travel Memory Pillows, BetterNeck Neck, 13w x 10l x 3h, Ivory

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Sammons Preston Heels-Off, Medium/Large, 7.5H x 24W x 17D

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The cervical pillow is also great for travel. Take it on the plane or train or in the car. Be careful not to get a pillow that is too big as it may force your head forward which will worsen your neck pain. When traveling, you can’t always find the best way to sleep to avoid neck pain but the cervical pillow should help.

Work Related Neck Pain

work related neck painWork related neck pain is becoming more common these days with more of our jobs becoming computer-based. If most of your day is spent at a computer, pay attention to how you are sitting.

Are you sitting with your shoulders slumped and your head extended toward your computer monitor? And are you in that position for long periods of time? Better watch out- you may soon be on the hunt for some neck pain relief.

Jobs High Risk for Work Related Neck Pain

The research indicates that women in general are at high risk for work related neck pain. Many women with neck pain develop chronic neck pain which is pain lasting more than a month. The most common affliction is called trapezius myalgia, which is a chronic muscular pain and tightness that extends down the back of the neck and moves out toward the shoulders.

Jobs that may lead to chronic neck pain are those that require repetitive work, typically at computer keyboards. These jobs are primarily in administrative offices, post offices, and banks. In these positions, there is overuse and misuse of the neck and shoulder muscles.

Treatment of Work Related Neck Pain

The usual treatments for chronic neck pain include massage, chiropractic treatment, medications, electrical nerve stimulation and exercises of various kinds. The response to these treatments varies and is somewhat inconsistent. As a result, there has been a lot of research into neck pain treatment. And the evidence is building on the effectiveness of neck strengthening exercises.

Neck Pain Relief With Strengthening Exercises

At the National Research Center for the Working Environment in Copenhagen, Danish scientists completed a study to determine the most effective treatment for women suffering from the work related neck pain caused by trapezius myalgia. Study participants were assigned one of these three treatments:

  • Strength training focusing on the neck and shoulder muscles
  • General fitness training in the form of riding an exercise bike without holding on to the handlebars
  • Health counseling

The two groups that exercised did so three times a week for 20 minutes each and for a total of 10 weeks.

The results? The group receiving the strength training had, on average, a 75% reduction in the pain they felt during the study period and for 10 weeks following the study. The women receiving the general fitness training had slight improvements. The group receiving the health counseling reported no improvements in their work related neck pain.

If you are suffering from chronic work related neck pain, or if you at a risk for it, you may want to check with your doctor about seeing a physical therapist for training in neck-strengthening exercises.

Dealing With Neck Pain

Dealing with neck pain can seem to be a pain in the neck, there may be some rather simple changes you can do in your daily living that can help to prevent or at least minimize the pain and discomfort that you feel.

Dealing with Neck Pain

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Most of us, at some point in our life, experience stiff neck pain. Neck pain can radiate to the back and shoulders and can cause headaches. It can be caused by muscle tension and spasm or inflammation of the tendons and ligaments.

There are different types of neck pain and  a lot of reasons why neck pain occurs. It can be as simple as placing your neck in an awkward position like sleeping with your neck twisted the wrong way or sleeping on your stomach. Severe stiff neck pain, on the other hand, can be caused by a blow to the neck or whiplash.

Degenerative disorders like arthritis are among the various causes of stiff neck. If nerves in the neck are damaged, the nerves may be pinched and that can cause neck pain, tingling in the arms and hands and numbness. Stiff neck pain symptoms such as these need immediate medical attention to prevent permanent nerve damage.

   Simple Tips As What To Do For Neck Pain

If you notice that your stiff neck pain gets worse as your day progresses, this can be caused by improper posture. If so, here are some simple tips that could help you out:

  • If you are using your phone almost all the time, it is best to consider using a headset or speaker phone.
  • Avoid sitting for a long period of time. Change position as often as you could. Take time to get up and walk.
  • Make sure that when you are sitting, that your back is properly supported.
  • Alter the position of your computer monitor so it is slightly below eye level and you are sitting forward and looking directly at the monitor.
  • Stay away from looking down when you are reading.

If, perhaps, you are experiencing neck pain as soon as you wake up in the morning:

  • Avoid sleeping on your stomach.
  • Look for a pillow that can provide support to your neck.
  • You can also roll up a towel and place it in an ideal height to support your neck

There are a few measures that you can seek in order to prevent or reduce any temporary or minor pain.  These include the following:

  • Walking- this can help to prevent and relieve neck pain.  Walking is also excellent for back pain.  Several short walks during the day would do.
  • Apply an icepack to the back of your neck.  Do this for about ten minutes, several times a day.  Continue treatment for several days.
  • Try ibuprofen, or acetaminophen.  Remember that aspirin must never be given to anyone under twenty-one years of age.
  • Massage therapy can be quite effective for dealing with neck pain.

A simple exercise to help relieve neck pain can also be done standing or sitting. Exercises like holding the head erect, tucking in your chin and glide your head back is a very helpful exercise.  Hold it for six seconds and then glide it back.  Repeat this exercise six times but do not bend the head onward during this exercise.

Caution When Dealing With Neck Pain

What to do for stiff neck pain can be simple but, if you have constant neck pain or it gets worse, particularly if it’s accompanied by headache or fever, or if even minor pain does not improve within a few days, check with your family physician.

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