Neck pain can be more than just a temporary inconvenience for some people. Those who live with chronic neck issues can attest that it can hinder your ability to do even simple day-to-day tasks like driving a car or shampooing your hair. Whether you’re dealing with short episodes of neck stiffness, or chronic neck pain, the following tips can help you to achieve relief naturally:
Neck Pain Relief Jackson MI
- Stay hydrated: Making sure you are getting adequate water intake is one of the best things you can do to naturally care for your spine. Your intervertebral discs, which provide cushion and protection for your spine, need water in order to stay healthy. The disc is made up of approximately 80% water at birth. This percentage decreases as we age causing degeneration of the disc and ultimately pain and discomfort as the spine begins to move improperly and causes nerve irritation. It can be difficult to remember to drink enough water throughout the day, so carrying a water bottle along or setting a reminder to have a few sips every 30 minutes can ensure that you’re staying sufficiently hydrated.
- Check your sleep habits: it might be crazy to think of it this way, but we spend approximately one-third of our day in bed getting the restorative sleep we need to take on the day. This makes our bedtime routine and sleep habits important when it comes to keeping your neck and spine healthy. Many people will read or browse on their phones in bed before falling asleep. This can force the neck into a forward bending position which can strain muscles, wear on discs, and irritate the spinal cord. When it comes to sleep position, stomach-sleepers might find that they experience the most neck pain and stiffness since the head is turned to the side for hours through the night. Back or side-sleeping is optimal, and the neck should be supported only with enough pillow height to keep the spine in a neutral position.
- Take care with technology: poor technology habits are contributing to neck and spinal problems in younger and younger people. Whether you call it “tech neck” or “text neck”, the spinal changes that come along with abnormal positioning of the cervical spine can have long-lasting implications. The average weight of an adult’s head is around 10 pounds. When we look down, it puts a tremendous amount of strain on the neck in several ways:
- Increases the chance of a bulging or herniated disc by causing the disc to migrate backward
- Creates constant contraction of the muscles in the back of the neck, which are trying to keep the head upright
- Places increasing amounts of force on the neck the more you tilt your head forward to look down. Staring at a phone with your head at a 45-degree angle can feel (to the tissues of your neck) as if the head weighs 60 pounds!
A few things you can do to avoid technology-related neck pain are to train yourself to hold your device at eye-level and to make sure you are giving your neck a break frequently.
- Choose a better chair: paying attention to your posture while seated is important for keeping neck pain at bay. It’s easy to start slumping forward in your chair, especially if you are sitting for longer periods of time. If your job requires a lot of seat-time, choosing a chair with a high back and a headrest can be a good reminder for you to sit upright in better posture. A headrest acts as a good reminder to keep your cervical spine in a neutral position with your head centered over your neck. Keeping the back of your head in contact with the headrest either at your desk, in your recliner, or in the car, can help you to avoid neck pain.
- Try turmeric: turmeric may be one of the best natural anti-inflammatory supplements available today. Usually labeled as curcumin, this plant-based substance helps fight inflammation (a major neck pain contributor) by fighting free radicals and protecting cells from oxidation. It is one of the most researched natural supplements and, aside from helping your body fight inflammation, can have brain and heart health benefits as well. When shopping for a good curcumin/turmeric supplement, look for one with black pepper (or its active ingredient piperine) in it – this helps your body to increase absorption, giving you maximal benefit.
- Increase your magnesium intake: magnesium is a mineral used by the body in the normal functioning of muscles and nerves. Magnesium is obtained through a balanced diet that includes lots of leafy greens and nuts. It can also be absorbed through the skin by soaking in an Epsom salt bath. Magnesium can help to alleviate neck pain by allowing your bones to absorb more calcium and allowing your cells to repair themselves. Low levels of magnesium can also cause headaches, muscle cramping, GI symptoms such as nausea or diarrhea, and numbness/tingling in the hands.
- Find an upper cervical chiropractor near you: experts at dealing with neck pain and problems, upper cervical chiropractors are specifically trained to address the root cause of the issue rather than placate symptoms. At the root of many neck issues is a misalignment of the atlas – the uppermost vertebra in the neck that holds the weight of the head. The atlas is the most freely movable vertebra in the entire spine, accounting for the freedom of movement that our head has to be able to turn and face in all directions. It can misalign as a result of an injury (car accident, slip and fall, sports injury, etc.) or wear and tear/repetitive movements, causing the head to be carried off its center of balance. This will strain the muscles of the neck, put abnormal stress on spinal joints, and cause nerve irritation which can not only lead to pain but can also cause headaches, jaw pain, earaches, vertigo, and more. Upper cervical chiropractic adjustments restore normal atlas alignment gently and precisely so that your body can heal from neck pain naturally. To see if upper cervical care is a good fit for you and your family, contact us for a complimentary consultation.