Neck pain is very common and most of us will have it at some point. Usually, neck pain is the result of holding your neck in the same position for too long. However, other things such as stress can also cause neck pain.
There are four common ways to relieve it.
- TENS Therapy
- Neck Collar
A TENS (Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) machine is an small machine which can help to relieve pain. Small pads are placed over the painful area and low-voltage electrical stimulation produces a pleasant tingling sensation, which also relieves pain by interfering with pain signals to the brain.
TENS, when properly used, is generally safe. The technique works different for different people, and it’s not for everyone.
What are the benefits?
- A drug-free alternative to treat neck pain
- Evidence to support TENS as a treatment for patients experiencing chronic pain
TENS is very safe, however, users should take precautions.
Here are the 5 side effects to be aware of:
- Burn marks under the electrode pads (if using for too long)
- Skin irritation
- Muscle twitching (if the TENS intensity is too high)
- Damage to open wounds
- Unpleasant electric shocks to the skin
A gentle massage or a rub around the painful area can alleviate the pain and improve the flow of blood. Healing damaged muscle tissues. However, avoid massage if the area is injured.
Research indicates that massage therapy can reduce inflammation of skeletal muscle damaged through exercise. Evidence is found that massage therapy may provide relief from inflammation.
Another type of massage is called trigger point therapy consists of rubbing and pressing on trigger points (sensitive spots in soft tissue). Anyone can learn to relieve some minor pain problems cheaply and safely.
There are no actual knots in there, the usual explanation is that a trigger point is a small patch of tightly contracted muscle chokes off its own blood supply and causing muscle pain.
Further information about the trigger point can be found here: https://www.physio-pedia.com/Trigger_Points
A cervical collar, also known as a neck brace, is a medical device used to support a person’s neck. Some healthcare professionals suggest using a collar may promote neck stiffness and worsen the situation whereas others believe they can be helpful for some patients when they’re fitted well and not used for long periods.
Collar is used to protect your neck from acute pain by limiting your neck movement. But be careful, prolonged use can result in further weaken your cervical spine, which may worsen the situation. As your pain gets better, you may be able to remove the collar for a short time each day. This time will increase until you no longer need the collar.
How does collar help in recovery?
- Prevents the possibility of further injury
- Relieve neck pain by limiting the neck movement
Two types of collar, soft and rigid
Soft collars do not completely immobilise the neck, but they restrict motion and remind the patient to reduce neck movement. They can fit closely on the neck.
Rigid collars are usually constructed out of rigid plastic. One big advantage is easy to keep clean. It is also available in different sizes to fit the patient. These collars can effectively restrict motion. Supporting the chin as well as the back of the head. However, a drawback of the rigid collars is that they potentially can cause venous outflow obstruction. If there is clear evidence of increased intracranial pressure, the collar should be removed or re-positioned.
To put on your cervical collar:
- Look straight ahead and keep your chin parallel to the floor
- Fit the collar around your neck
- Attach the fasteners around your neck.
- Make sure that you can breathe comfortably
- Adjust the collar, make sure it is not too tight.
- Put cotton padding between the collar and your skin if the collar irritates your skin.
A collar should be worn constantly for one week only for pain relief. Afterward the use of the collar should be reduced.
Neck pain can often caused by poor posture and staying in the same position for too long. Try to be aware and adjust your posture.
If you are sitting long hours in the office, the most important thing is to have a good desk setup. Are you sitting wrong?
It is simple but many people are unaware of their bad posture. While you are working in front of a computer, try to do the following exercise. Close your eyes, adjust your head position and open. When you open eyes, you should see the middle of the computer screen. If your gaze is not in the middle of the screen, probably it is too low, adjust the screen height using items like books.
In addition, try to do the exercise below to strengthen your neck muscle and relieve neck pain.
Exercise 1: Chin Tuck
- Press your spine against a door jamb
- Pull the upper back and head backwards until your head touches the jamp
- Keep your chin down
- Hold your head against the jamb for 5 seconds
- Repeat 10 times
Exercise 2: Prone Cobra
- Lie face down with your forehand on a rolled hand towel
- Keep your arms at the side with palms down on the floor
- Pinch your elbows in with palms out and thumbs up
- Hold this position for 10 seconds
- Repeat 10 times
Almost everyone will experience neck pain at some point, don’t be stressed! Almost all neck pain problems are caused by tight muscle, relaxing your muscle always helps the situation.