Have you experienced pain in your neck? Wondering what causes it? Neck pain is usually a result of muscle problems in the cervical area leading to sprains and nerve impingements contributing to a painful and stiff neck, and your local Tampa chiropractor may be able to help. Mostly, neck muscle pain can go away in a few days and it may not cause significant problems; however, it may lead to reduced range of motion and pain when the neck is moved. To help you manage neck muscle pain effectively, the following discusses the common causes, symptoms and basic managements for neck muscle pain.
What Causes Neck Muscle Pain?
Neck muscle pain is usually caused by positional problems as well as overuse injury to the neck. Specific causes include:
- Poor sleeping posture
Sleeping with your neck twisted is a common cause of neck muscle pain. Overnight, the muscles in your neck lack sufficient blood supply leading to a feeling of stiffness when you wake up. Positions that may cause neck pain include a prone position with head turned on one side or a back lying position with the head facing either the left or right side. To avoid neck muscle pain, be sure to sleep comfortably in a flat position or a side lying position with the neck in a neutral point.
- Sleeping with too many pillows
Using too many pillows when sleeping is also a common cause of neck stiffness. This leads to an unwanted and uncomfortable flexion of the neck when lying down contributing to neck stiffness and pain.
- Working in front of the computer for prolonged periods
Another common cause of neck muscle pain is working in front of the monitor for longer hours. Looking at the monitor for longer hours usually lead to a forward head posture causing the neck to bear 10X the actual weight of the head leading to significant neck pain.
- Poor posture
No matter what you are doing, when you employ poor posture, the neck, shoulder and back muscles suffer because of poor ergonomics.
What are the Symptoms of Neck Muscle Pain
Neck pain not only occurs with pain along the neck area. It is also associated with other symptoms such as:
- Neck stiffness
- Difficulty rotating the head from side to side
- Heavy feeling on the head and neck portion
- Tenderness on the neck muscles
These symptoms make neck muscle pain disturbing as one cannot employ full range of motion of the neck.
What are the Managements for Neck Muscle Pain?
Fortunately, neck muscle pain can be easily managed at home using the following remedies:
- Warm compress. The easiest way to relieve muscle tension on the neck area is to place warm compress over the painful site. The heat relaxes the muscles and reduces kinking of the nerves.
- Massage. You can also massage the painful and tender area of the neck while sitting or lying. Massage helps the muscles relax and also relieves pain through tactile stimulation.
- Taking OTC analgesics. If you want immediate relief, you can take analgesics in the form of ibuprofen or paracetamol.
- Using a low and firm pillow for sleeping. Make sure to use the right pillow when sleeping to adequately support the head without causing undue pressure on the neck.
- Employing correct posture. To allow the muscles to heal better, proper posture should be employed to avoid further neck muscle strain. Make sure that your head and neck are in a neutral position and always stand up straight to avoid shoulder and neck muscle strain.
Following the above remedies, neck muscle pain can be relieved in one to two days. Make sure to prevent poor neck position and overuse of the neck muscles through proper ergonomics.