The neck consists of several small bones called vertebrae. These are surrounded by 32 complex muscles that work together to support the head, which weighs between 10 and 20 pounds. With its intricate structure and wide range of movements, it is no wonder that the neck is particularly vulnerable to strain and pain.
Often, neck pain is caused by muscle tension. In other cases, traumatic injuries or degenerative diseases lead to neck pain. It's estimated that up to 86% of the general population has suffered from neck pain. Your Noblesville chiropractor has five natural ways to relieve your neck pain:
- Relax: Work-related tension or everyday stress causes the neck muscles to become tense, leading to neck pain. Focus on relaxing and eliminating stress from your life. Lie down and make a conscious effort to calm your mind and body. Medication, yoga, breathing exercises, or listening to peaceful music may help you to relax.
- Practice Good Posture: Posture when sitting, standing, walking, and even sleeping can affect your neck health. Adjust your computer monitors – at home as well as at work – so that you are working at eye level; looking downwards for long periods of time can cause neck strain. When sitting, your back should be against the back of your chair. Focus on sitting and standing tall, rather than slumping over or slouching. When sleeping, avoid resting your head on a thick pillow, which moves your neck into an unnatural position. A firm mattress and sleeping on your stomach or side can also help to alleviate neck pain. Noblesville chiropractor Dr. Dahlager does complete postural analyses for his patients, as an essential component of preventing neck pain.
- Ice and Heat: Ice packs decrease inflammation and numb pain. Wrap crushed ice in a bag and a pillowcase, and hold it against your neck for 15 minutes at a time. Heat increases circulation, which is helpful when your neck pain is caused by stiff muscles. Stand in a hot shower or use a warm, wet towel. Try alternating hot and cold treatments to ease neck pain. If you have questions about when and how to use heath/ice therapy, contact your Noblesville chiropractor.
- Exercise: Strengthen core muscles such as your abs, which helps to support the spine and in turn, the neck. Take frequent breaks while at work to exercise your neck; remaining in the same position for long periods of time can lead to neck strain. Gentle range-of-motion exercises, in which you turn your head and neck to each direction, can help alleviate neck pain by stretching neck muscles. Your Noblesville chiropractor can teach you safe exercises to lengthen and tone your neck muscles after an injury.
- Chiropractic Treatments: Research has shown chiropractic care to be one of the most effective treatments for neck pain. This non-invasive treatment method has the potential to reduce your neck pain even after just one session. Dr. Dahlager at Noblesville Family Chiropractic has treated many patients suffering from neck pain, and encourages any Noblesville residents experiencing neck pain to seek chiropractic treatment. Complementary treatments such as exercise therapy and massage can also help alleviate your neck pain.