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Neck Pain Treatment

Anyone who has suffered from a stiff neck knows how much of a damper it can put on your day. The vertebrae, cervical discs, ligaments and muscles in your neck are responsible for supporting your head and allowing it to move, but any inflammation, injury or abnormality in the area, can cause neck pain and reduce your range of motion, making it difficult to go about your normal day.

You may experience neck pain due to an injury after a fall or whiplash from a contact sport or an accident, in which case you should immediately consult with a medical professional. If your neck pain is severe and lasts for more than a couple of days, or if you also feel numbness, tingling or pain in your arms, you should also visit your doctor to determine a proper course of action.

If your neck hurts or feels stiff occasionally, most likely the cause is poor posture or overuse. In these cases, several home remedies for neck pain treatment are available to ease your pain.

  • Ice and heat therapy. The cold reduces inflammation, which allows the affected area to heal. Heat, which can be applied through a heating pad, hot compresses, or by taking a hot shower allows for blood to flow to the area stimulating the healing process. During the initial 24 hours, you should alternate every 20 minutes between cold and heat.
  • Pain medication. Over the counter anti-inflammatory medicines, muscle relaxants and pain relievers can reduce and relieve pain.  
  • Exercise and stretch. Stretch your neck by turning your head in a side to side and up and down motion. Take a few days away from sports and heavy lifting and ease back into it slowly as your symptoms subside.  
  • Massage. A gentle neck massage can stimulate blood flow to the neck area and relax the tensed muscles, relieving pain.

If your pain persists, a doctor may recommend one or more of the following treatments:

  • Corticoid injection. Steroids are injected near the nerve roots and into the small facets of the joints in the cervical bones or into the muscle
  • A neck collar. A soft collar can take the pressure off the structures in your neck, therefore relieving pain. A neck brace or collar however can only be used when prescribed by a doctor, since in some circumstances, it may cause more harm than good.
  • Antibiotics. In case an infection is the cause for your neck pain, your doctor might prescribe antibiotics
  • Physical therapy. Stretching and strengthening can help accelerate tissue healing, restore muscle flexibility, mobility and motion.
  • Hospital treatment is sometimes required if the cause is determined to be meningitis or a heart attack
  • Surgery. Although rarely needed for neck pain, in some instances, surgery is required in order to relieve nerve root or spinal cord compression.

Some alternative therapies for neck pain treatment that can help ease neck pain and maintain a healthy neck include:

  • Acupuncture. Part of Chinese medicine, acupuncture attempts to correct or maintain the normal flow of the body’s energy, through the insertion of hair-thin metallic needles into specific points in the body.  
  • Chiropractic. Certain spinal manipulations and chiropractic adjustments may help relieve pain and maintain a proper posture, conducive to a healthy spine.
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. Electrical impulses sent by electrodes placed over your skin near the affected area may relieve neck pain