Do you have neck pain that is getting worse?

Neck pain can be a symptom of stress or overwork, or a deeper malaise. We list ways to relieve neck stiffness and pain.

You may have experienced it before – you go to bed feeling stiffness in your neck, and wake up with a full blown pain that makes it difficult to move your head. It may be the result of fixedly staring at your computer for hours on end, or a compressed nerve, or a spinal disorder. Neck pain can happen to anybody, though the incidence is higher among adults.

The causes of neck pain are numerous – you can get a crick by sleeping wrongly, or by suddenly jerking your neck up, or even by blunt trauma or some injury. Sometimes, the neck pain can progress slowly, or occur in episodes of stabbing or radiating ‘wave-like’ pain. It can become quite debilitating to live with – neck pain may even interfere with everyday activities such as moving the head, getting dressed, watching TV, inclining the head to write or look at the mobile phone, etc.

But there is no reason to live with neck pain. Identifying the cause is the first step in knowing how to get rid of neck pain. If it is merely stiff, the stiffness might go away after resting the neck and keeping it supported when you sleep or sit at your desk. But if it is a sharp pain at a certain spot in the neck, or if it feels like a wave of pain, or if it causes headaches, you must see a neurologist for treatment.

Here are some ways to relieve neck pain

Don’t strain the neck. Regular, slow activity is essential for the neck to remain limber. Keeping the neck locked in one position can freeze the muscles and the spinal section leading to the head. Periodically look left and right, then up and down, and move your shoulders in a circular motion to relieve neck stress.

Rest on the right pillow. Many of us wake up with stiff, painful necks because our pillows are either too soft or too hard. The right pillow aligns the neck straight with the rest of the spine. Never choose a pillow in which the neck dips below the line of the shoulders.

Do shoulder and neck exercises. Get a fitness expert or physiotherapist to show you light neck and shoulder exercises. These keep the joints supple, relax the muscles and promote blood flow to the neck.

When you should see a doctor for neck pain treatment

Generally, most neck pain is symptomatic of overwork or stress, or even poor posture. The pain often dissipates if corrective measures are taken to resolve the pain. However, certain types of neck pain are to be treated as an emergency medical requirement, such as being in an accident, hard collision during sports, or falling from a height. Often, neck pain does not immediately manifest itself due to blunt force trauma. An internal nerve might get pinched, or muscles might get painfully compressed, or the spine might become misaligned. The neck pain might occur progressively and become worse in stages. Such neck pain requires immediate treatment from a specialist.