Neck pain can make us feel uncomfortable and even miserable at times, and it can come at the most inconvenient times; when there is no one around to help us get relief. Fortunately, there are ways we can help ourselves
The American Academy of Pain Medicine has gathered statistics on pain for several years. Their data shows that 15 per cent of citizens suffer from neck pain at any given time. While this may not sound like a lot, doctors say that 70 per cent of the population will have a ‘pain in the neck’ at some point in their lives.
Often, people simply have a stiff neck, especially if they are tense and stressed out or have been straining their neck while sitting at their desks for hours. In other cases inflammation of the neck is the main problem. Inflammation can present itself in different ways. For some people who suffer from neck pain, inflammation makes the affected area feel hot, while others simply feel pain. Inflammation often occurs when you have neck pain due to an injury. For example, you pull a ligament while participating in a sporting event.
For the most part neck pain is due to muscle strain, sleeping with your neck at an odd angle, carrying a heavy package on one side, and by injury to ligaments and tendons. Depending on what caused your neck strain you will apply ice or heat to the affected area, perhaps visit a chiropractor, physiotherapist or massage therapist. What happens though, when you need pain relief fast? The obvious answer is you give yourself a neck massage.
There are ways to give yourself a massage without straining more muscles. Since it is easy to strain your neck, it might be a good idea to go over some techniques with your doctor or a massage therapist before you actually experience a muscle strain; just so you are prepared in the event you need to administer your own pain relief someday. In the meantime, here are some suggestions.
Using your hands can bring you pain relief. One approach is to clasp your fingers behind your neck, press the heels of your palms into your neck on either side of your spine then massage the heels of your hands up and down slowly. Follow this by placing the fingers of your right hand on your trapezius muscle on the left side of your neck just below the base of your skull. Press into the muscle and tilt your head to the left. Rub downward until you reach your shoulder. You should repeat this about three times, then switch to the other side. Finishing up with neck stretches is recommended.
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Tennis balls are a quick pain relief tool. You simply take two tennis balls, slip them into the end of a sock, sew the sock near the end where the tennis balls are then lie back gently on the balls. You can position yourself so that the balls are at the base of your skull and gently roll your neck on the ball to dig into any tight spots.
Handheld massagers come in a variety of sizes and are an easy way to give yourself some pain relief. Mini massagers are very popular because they can easily fit in a suitcase or purse. Some are electrical and vibrate, while others require you to apply pressure to gain relief. Therapeutic hand-held massage devices tend to be bigger and come with various attachments for specific types of massage. There are different speed settings depending on how deep you want to penetrate the muscles.
Whether you use a hand-held massager, tennis ball or your own hands, it is important that you get pain relief. If pain increases then you should stop what you are doing immediately and seek professional help. Your neck pain could be something more serious than simple muscle strain.