There’s nothing more uncomfortable than waking up from a nice nap only to find that you pulled a muscle in your neck. Sadly, that’s not the only way you can get a kink in the neck. Since the neck is a complex network of bones, ligaments, and muscles, it can be affected by injuries in other parts of your body, or simply by sitting too long at your desk (1).
In some cases, the pain can even last for weeks on end. Worst of all neck pain can appear alongside back or shoulder pain, making it difficult to go about your daily life.
Breaking Down Neck Pain
Whether it be caused by inflammation, muscle atrophy, or injury, neck pain can be notoriously hard to diagnose and treat. However, most often than not, neck pain is caused by (2):
- Poor posture
- Overuse of muscles
- Old age
- Poor form during heavy lifting
- Degenerated vertebrae
- Stenosis of the spine
- Joint problems
Other contributing factors include:
- Sitting for long periods of time
- Sleeping a deformed or overused mattress
- Sleeping on your belly
- Lack of physical activity
Neck Pain Relief
The best way to relieve neck pain is to target the underlying cause.
If you suffer from an injury, consider visiting a physical therapist, acupuncturist, chiropractor, or massage therapist.
On the other hand, if you suffer from radiating pain, or pain accompanied by fever, nausea, numbness, and/or lumps in your neck, visit a doctor immediately.
If you suspect that it may be a muscle issue, try yoga, massage or therapeutic stretching, such as the one in the video.
As Dr. Allan Mandell, a Miami chiropractor, explains, the exercise below contracts the trapezius muscles to fatigue them and release muscle tension.
All you need to do is stand tall with your feet at hip’s width apart with your arms by your side and your palms facing forward. Bring your shoulder up towards your ears and squeeze them as hard as you can for a few seconds. Relax for a few seconds and repeat 10-12 times.
When you’re done, shake your arms out and enjoy your fully relaxed shoulders.