More than 30% of American adults suffer neck pain each year. And if you've ever experienced it, you know how uncomfortable and disruptive it can be in your daily life.
Neck pain can make it difficult to sleep, concentrate at work, and even perform basic tasks like driving or reading — and it can leave you feeling desperate for relief. Luckily, there are lots of ways to reduce your neck pain without medication or invasive procedures.
Our doctors at Cascade Orthopaedics specialize in pain management, and we partner with our patients to develop comprehensive treatment plans that relieve their symptoms. If you’re dealing with neck pain, here’s what you need to know.
Most cases of neck pain are acute, which means the pain appears suddenly and goes away on its own within a few days. We typically start by recommending at-home treatment for acute neck pain, including:
Poor posture is a leading cause of neck pain among adults of all ages. When you spend long hours hunched over a computer or staring down at your phone, you put undue stress on your neck muscles and spine.
To reduce neck pain, practice good posture throughout your day. Sit up straight, keep your shoulders relaxed, and avoid slouching or hunching over your devices. If you work at a desk, adjust your chair so you’re looking straight ahead at your computer screen.
Stretching is another effective way to relieve tension and reduce neck pain. We can recommend a variety of simple stretches you can do at home, depending on your symptoms.
For example, gently tilt your head to one side and hold the stretch for 30 seconds before repeating on the other side. You can also gently roll your shoulders backward and forward to loosen any tension in your shoulder and neck muscles.
If your neck is stiff or sore, applying heat or ice can relax tight muscles, reduce inflammation, and relieve the discomfort.
Use a heating pad, hot water bottle, or warm towel to apply gentle heat to your neck muscles to relax them. To apply cold and reduce inflammation, use a cold pack or a bag of frozen vegetables. Never use heat or ice for longer than 10-20 minutes at a time, a few times a day.
Getting regular exercise can reduce neck pain and improve your overall health. Exercise strengthens your muscles, which can improve your posture and minimize those aches and pains.
You don't need to engage in high-intensity exercise to get the benefits, either. Try simple activities like walking, swimming, or cycling. Remember to talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise plan to make sure it’s safe for you.
Sleeping on an unsupportive pillow can contribute to neck pain and stiffness. So if you're dealing with frequent discomfort, it might be time to invest in a better pillow.
Look for a pillow that supports your neck and keeps your head and spine aligned. You might need to experiment with different types of pillows to find the one that feels most comfortable for you.
Most of the time, neck pain disappears on its own with at-home care. But if you’ve been trying home remedies for several days and your pain is staying the same or getting worse, make a doctor’s appointment.
We can evaluate your condition to determine what’s causing your pain and rule out any underlying conditions. Then we make treatment recommendations to help you start feeling better.
A few effective options to relieve neck pain are physical therapy, massage, medication, and minimally invasive injections.
We know neck pain can get in the way of your daily life, and we’re here to help. Contact our office in Auburn or Bonney Lake, Washington, to make your first appointment and get a customized neck pain treatment plan.