How to Treat Neck Strain


If you wake one morning with a stiff neck and find yourself suffering from pain throughout the day, first eliminate any of the more serious problems listed above. If you feel confident that you don’t have a critical condi­tion, you may be suffering from a simple muscle strain. Even though a muscle strain can be painful, it is not life-threatening. Here are some tips to help you recover more quickly.

  • Warm it up. Moist heat applied to your neck, back, and shoulders will reduce your pain and loosen up your muscles. You might want to take a few moments with a heating pad before you start any therapeutic exercises.
  • Massage it out. Whether you go to a professional masseuse or simply enlist a family member into the job, a rubdown on your neck, shoulders, and upper back will feel heavenly and relax tense or spasmed muscles at the same time.

How to Treat Neck Strain  Neck Strain1

  • Punch the nighttime clock. Stress and fatigue are a lethal combination for your body, so make sure you are getting not only the proper amount of sleep, but the proper kind of sleep, as well. Leave the day’s worries behind as you climb into bed for a deep, restful sleep.

The long-range plan for neck strain

You must make some definite changes in your habits if you want to avoid further neck strain.

  • Practice positive posture. The way you sit and stand has a tremendous influence on every joint in your body. In order to be kind to your neck, you must first realize the stress poor posture places on it. Freeze for a moment and examine your posture right now. Are you sitting slumped in a chair, leaning over a table, propped up in bed, or on the sofa with your neck against the arm? All of these positions may feel comfortable at first, but they put your neck and back at an awk­ward angle. Chances are, when you get up, you’re going to feel an ache in those muscles. If you con­tinually sit or lie with your head forced one way or another, you are asking for a stiff neck that really is a pain. To keep yourself sitting tall, scoot your bot­tom all the way to the back of your chair and place a small pillow in the hollow of your lower back. Don’t jut your chin up or out — keep it tucked in. Choose a chair with arms. This will give your back, shoulders, and neck additional support.
  • Don’t sleep like a baby. Unlike infants who can curl up anywhere and never feel the conse­quences, you must examine your sleeping positions and your pillow. These are two major culprits of sore necks. Don’t sleep on your stom­ach, since this forces your neck to one side or the other. If you sleep on your back, make sure your pillow is not too high. The best size keeps your neck parallel with the bed. As a side sleeper, you may have the hardest time keeping your neck straight. It is very important to align your head with your spine. Try one of the orthopedic pillows that are on the market. Never sleep in a chair or slumped across a couch.
  • Adjust your activities.
  • If you spend your day at a desk or table, make sure your chair is the right height to keep you from bending or leaning.
  • Have a small step stool handy for those top shelves in the kitchen or garage. Reaching up can be just as harmful as bending down.
  • Bifocals are a fact of life for most older adults, and it is easy to get into that bad habit of shift­ing your neck up and down to see properly. Try to lift your book or paper to the proper angle and save your neck.
  • Don’t cradle the telephone receiver between your neck and your ear. This places a terrible strain on your neck muscles. Add a foam attachment to the handset if you can’t break the habit.
  • Take a moment before driving off to check your car seat. Is it too far back? Do you need to sit on a cushion? Tilt the steering wheel, if neces­sary, to keep your shoulders at a good angle.
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  4. How to Treat Back Pain
  5. How to Massage the Neck

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About the Author: Andrew Reinert is a health care professional who loves to share different tips on health and personal care. He is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo and lives in Canada.

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