Sometimes, the cause of neck pain is clear – whiplash after an automobile accident, for example, or a disc problem that shows up on x-rays. But many cases of neck pain are harder to discern. When the cause of neck pain is undetermined, it can be difficult to come up with a treatment plan – and all-too-tempting to simply rely on painkillers to mask the problem.
But many cases of neck pain will respond to comprehensive treatment that involves muscular and skeletal health as well as environmental and psychological changes. By approaching neck pain from multiple angles like this, pain and pressure can be reduced – and often even eliminated completely. So if you have unexplained neck pain, try incorporating the following into your treatment.
When you're tense, that isn't just a psychological effect; you also become physically tense. That means that stress often leads to soreness and pain, especially in support areas like the back and neck. When these muscles tighten and contract with stress, they can also affect your posture, throwing your entire body out of alignment.
The right stress reduction depends on where the stress in your life is coming from. For ongoing or daily stress, many people find meditative techniques and yoga helpful. For stress with clear environmental causes, such as a divorce, short-term therapy is very helpful. And anxiety disorders respond well to cognitive-behavioral therapy, which teaches techniques for changing the way you think about stressful situations.
Reducing stress can have a huge impact on your sleep quality, and likewise, improving sleep quality can help reduce stress. When you sleep poorly, you become more sensitive to pain and more easily taxed by daily worries. Adopting proper sleep hygiene, on the other hand, can help reduce pain and tension. This means going to bed at the same time every night and getting up at the same time every day, both weekdays and weekends. In addition, limit your caffeine intake to the morning only, and make your bed a place that's just for sleeping, not reading or working.
On the physical side, massage is very useful for releasing tension within the muscles of the neck. For the best results, it should be combined with cervical manipulation – a chiropractic technique for adjusting the spine. By applying gentle pressure to specific parts of the neck, both the joints in the neck and the surrounding muscles can be brought into proper alignment. This is effective for both reducing pain and improving mobility in the neck.
For further assistance, contact a local chiropractor, such as Eric Schmetterling DC.Share