Having relaxed or tense muscles in the neck can very easily make or break your day. A tight or tense muscle in the neck causes the phenomenon we call a ‘crick in the neck’, and it can be downright grueling – a sudden and spasmodic pain triggered by even the slightest movements of the neck. If you ever get a crick in the neck, there are a few home remedies you can try to lessen the pain and discomfort.
1. Hot and cold therapy
Neck pain can often be caused by tense muscles. Applying gentle heat to the neck area dilates the blood vessels, increasing blood flow and helping ease up the pain. You can use a hot towel, water bottle, or even take a hot shower/bath to the same effect. But be sure not to use too much heat, as scalding can make matters worse.
If you notice swelling or inflammation in your neck, that means inflammation has occurred within the muscles. Try putting some ice wrapped around in a cloth against the swollen area. This should help reduce the inflammation and provide instant relief against neck cricks.
Getting a healthy dose of exercise daily can not only help build muscle strength and overall endurance, it also relaxes the body and keeps it active preventing you from feeling lethargic. You don’t need an extensive workout routine to fix your neck pain. In fact, exercising too much can only worsen the problem. Some light exercise for the neck should help.
Make use of fitness apps such as Injurymap to maintain a workout routine. Injurymap helps you reduce neck pain through exercise and creates a custom workout plan based on your particular needs. It also suggests when you might need to see a physician.
3. Use a scarf for neck support
A very quick and easy (not to mention in-style) remedy for neck pain is to wear a scarf around the neck. It might not be as effective as medication or massage therapy, but a scarf can give support to your neck and help lessen the crick in your neck. It also provides warmth, which in itself is beneficial for ensuring a smooth blood flow and healing process. The same can be achieved with a turtleneck sweater as well.
4. Neck massage
Getting a neck massage, preferably on a regular basis, should keep most of cricks and neck pains at bay. A massage relaxes the muscles and lets go of the pent-up tension within the body. You can apply a tropical cream or balm along with a message to maximize the effect.
5. Keep hydrated
Staying hydrated is essential for the body in general, but it also helps relieve neck pains in specific. Cricks and pains in the neck can be a disguised manifestation of dehydration as the muscles get tense over lack of water. Be sure to drink lots of water during the day, at least 8-10 glasses or 2-2.5 liters, and make a regular habit out of it.
6. Lifestyle changes
No matter how many remedies you try, you will never get any real results if you don’t address the cause of your neck pains. Are you sleeping in an uncomfortable position? Are you crouched on your office chair all day? Do you watch a movie or read a book in bed while lying down at an odd angle? Do you drive around a lot and have to move your neck constantly?
All of these questions can help diagnose the real cause of your neck cricks. If the pain occurs more than once or twice, it should be fairly easy for you to pinpoint what the source of the problem is. Short of a medical condition, it always boils down to what kind of physical stress or strain are you putting your neck (and indeed your whole body) through. Reduce this stress by making some lifestyle changes, and your pains should go away soon.
Keep your head held high!
The neck is one of the most important parts of the human anatomy. It serves as the brain’s connection to the rest of the body with respect to the blood supply and neural activity. It also has the important job of holding up the head, which weighs approximately 11 pounds.
Not taking care of neck pains can lead to serious repercussions. Not only will it hamper mobility, it can also cause damage to the spine or nerve pinching, which could have adverse effects elsewhere in your body. It is important to keep your neck healthy and pain-free.
Important note: tense muscles are not the only cause of neck pains. Sometimes, medical conditions, infections and even tumors can disguise themselves as an ordinary neck pain, which is why if the pain is recurring and is not going away after trying out some remedies, it might be time to go see a doctor and get professional advice on how to deal with it.