Neck strain is by far not a serious injury; however, it can also lead to physical limitation; thereby, managements are still essential to provide maximum comfort. Neck strain or the presence of stiff neck is a very common condition making it very easy to manage. Neck strain is commonly a result of overuse injury to the neck such as working for prolonged periods in front of the computer and assuming a forward head posture. Neck strain can also be a result of poor posture that puts the muscles and ligaments in an overstretched position.
If you are suffering from neck strain, here are the treatment modalities for the relief of the pain:
- Application of ice and heat
When you suddenly felt neck strain while working or after arising from sleep, ice packs are the treatment modality of choice because the neck is still suffering from an acute injury. After 24 hours of injury, warm compress can be used to relax the strained muscles, ligaments and tendons. You can also use alternate warm and cold compress every 15 minutes.
- Neck massage
Neck massage is also a good remedy for neck strain. It helps the muscles relax so the inner structures such as the cartilage, ligaments and tendons also relax. Neck massage also improves the circulation to the neck area to help heal any overuse injury in the neck.
- Use of medications
When the neck strain significantly causes pain, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as naproxen and ibuprofen can be used to relieve the discomfort. These drugs reduce inflammation in the strained muscle; thereby, reducing nerve irritation and pain. Muscles relaxants can also be taken to relieve strain on the neck especially when the pain does not respond to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Neck stretching exercises
The neck is usually prone to strains because of poor flexibility especially to those who assume a single position for a prolonged period of time such as working in front of the computer. Neck stretching exercises are very easy to employ and you can do them while you do your work. The following neck stretching exercises can be done:
- Neck flexion and extension
While seated, flex the neck aiming to touch the chest with your chin. Support the back of the head with your hands gently to hold the stretch. Maintain the flexed position at least 20 seconds and release. After which, extend the head with the chin facing the ceiling. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds and release.
- Neck rotation
After flexing and extending the head, you can also do neck rotation. Rotate the head to the side with your chin facing the right shoulders. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds and repeat on the other side.
- Side neck flexion
Lastly, you can flex your neck with the right ear towards the right shoulder. Support the head with your hand to hold the stretch. After a 20 second stretch, repeat on the other side.
- Physical therapy
Physical therapy can also be employed especially for recurrent neck strain. Proper ergonomics and head positioning can be taught to prevent the recurrence of the strain.
Aside from these, you can also seek chiropractic care as an alternative remedy for neck strain. In chiropractic care, massage, manipulation and other managements are employed to manage the condition.
Neck strain is relatively easy to manage; however, managements should be employed early to reduce the discomfort faster.