Should You Put Heat On A Stiff Neck?

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What Helps 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.

Correct Way to Sleep on a Pillow to Reduce Neck Pain

reduce neck pain

Duro-Med Stress-Ease Support Pillow: Offers total cervical support, whether you sleep on your side or back. Ideal for post-whiplash syndrome and headache sufferers. Quality polyester fiber fill holds its shape and lasts twice as long as the average foam pillow. Hypoallergenic and machine washable.

Reduce neck pain, there is nothing more frustrating or painful than waking up in the morning with neck pain, how to reduce it. The most common cause of morning neck pain is your pillow. In this article we are going to look at what to look for in pillows to relieve neck pain and the correct way to sleep on your pillow to reduce neck pain.

Choosing the Right Pillow to reduce Neck Pain

When choosing support pillows for neck pain it is important to pick one that supports the head and neck in the correct position to reduce neck tension and further damage to an existing injury.  A good pillow conforms to body shape, giving support without applying pressure and ensuring that weight is spread evenly along the spine and vertebrae.

                      Lying On Your Back

A much sort after pillow

When lying on the back, the pillow should support the neck, head and shoulders keeping the curvature of the spine in a natural position. The pillow should be kept low to prevent the chin tilting which can put strain on the neck.

Any excessive pressure to the neck in this position can irritate sensitive muscles. The facet joints, also known as synovial joints, which lie in between the vertebrae, can impinge nerves or become inflamed when a pillow is too high and puts pressure on the neck and spine.

Any existing neck problems may be amplified causing a delay to recovery. Placing a pillow under the knees can also lessen back strain and is the most suitable and gentle position for the back.

Lying On Your Side can help reduce Neck Pain

Pillow to Reduce Neck Pain

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Memory Foam Knee Pillow

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When lying on the side, a pillow should support the head and neck so that the spine remains straight in a horizontal position.  The head should not be tilted at an awkward angle and weight should be distributed evenly. The pillow should fill the space between the mattress and the ear to prevent the neck bending awkwardly.

A small pillow placed under the waist may create additional support and comfort, as may a pillow between the knees. By changing sides when sleeping and repositioning the pillow, pain can be hugely reduced.

Sleeping On Your Stomach

When sleeping on the stomach, a flat pillow should be used or no pillow at all to protect the head and neck and prevent them from turning in an unnatural and awkward position. Another pillow placed under the stomach helps prevent the spine from arching and keeps it aligned naturally.

Core Ladies Comfort Cushion, Standard, Gray

Features of the Core Ladies Comfort Cushion: Provides face-down comfort for large-breasted patients. Standard version features a layer of resilient foam. Deluxe version features an additional layer of memory foam for added comfort. Both cushions come in a durable, easy-to-clean vinyl cover. Available in blue, black or gray.

Many pillows can aggravate the shoulders if positioned incorrectly and this in turn can aggravate the neck by setting off spasms in the trapezius muscles. These muscles span the neck, back and shoulders, performing many actions including moving the neck in different directions.

By placing the shoulder slightly forwards on the mattress when sleeping on the side, pressure is removed from these muscles and the risk of forcing the shoulder blade towards the spine is lessened. People who often suffer from neck pain occasionally find that putting extra pillows under their arms for support can also increase comfort and reduce neck pain.

Having good posture in the waking hours, with ear, shoulder and hip in alignment can decrease existing pain and prevent further aggravation. It is important to maintain this correct posture when sleeping to protect the neck from inadvertent damage, so using suitable pillows in a correct manner is vitally important.