Got a pain in the neck? You’re not alone. It is estimated that 1 in every 3 people endures neck and head pain on a regular basis. If you’re an athlete, your chances of suffering from neck pain might be even greater due to added wear and tear on your cervical spine and muscles.
Thankfully, with a little self-care, we can restore the neck’s strength and flexibility - and even prevent pain in the future.
5 Natural Ways to Fix Neck Pain
Having occasional neck pain is a normal part of living an active life. The cervical vertebrae, muscles and tendons have a big job to do as they support and pivot the heavy head through our everyday activities. Whether we’re crunched up at the computer or repetitively jerking the neck during a training session, the neck takes a beating.
Let’s learn how to fix neck pain with a few natural ways to combat that pesky pain in the neck!
Check your posture - and your pillows.
Often times, neck pain is related to waking or sleeping posture. The most common culprit is “head-forward posture” - a tendency to slouch your shoulders and jut the head out in front, putting your neck at a strained angle. This poor posture puts excessive weight on the cervical spine and can lead to headaches, muscle tension, pinched nerves and more.
Similarly, sleeping posture or pillow type might be at the root of neck pain. While sleeping curled up or twisted might feel relaxing at the moment, it can lead to stiff and tightened muscles when we wake. An unsupportive pillow can also cause chronic neck pain, but thankfully it’s an easy fix. Replace your pillow with a feather or memory foam pillow to better cradle your neck into a neutral position at night.
See a holistic therapist.
While you may think that your neck pain is just an issue with the neck, injuries and overuse rarely only affect one aspect of the body. A holistic therapist (such as a chiropractor, acupuncturist or massage therapist) works with the whole body to re-establish form and function to not just the neck, but the body as a whole. Of course, you’ll also benefit from immediate pain relief as they help relieve pressure points or trigger points, nerve pain, muscle tension, inflammation and even stress.
Release tension with yoga and exercise. Yoga and stretching exercises help relieve neck pain in a few different ways. First, the movements warm and soothe the muscles and tendons of the neck to release any stiff areas. Secondly, they encourage healthy blood flow through the entire neck and head, and even down through the spine. Last, but not least, yoga and stretching for neck pain helps to encourage better strength, flexibility and posture to prevent strain and pain in the future.
As with many things in life, yoga postures and stretching exercises for neck pain work best with consistency. Aim to practice a neck stretch at least twice per day (once in the morning after waking and once before bed).
Try an anti-inflammatory diet.
Most pain conditions have one thing in common: inflammation. Injuries naturally cause inflammation as the body rushes in to heal the damaged area. But sometimes inflammation lingers long after the injury, causing pain and swelling that prevents complete rehabilitation. To fight back against inflammation, an anti-inflammatory diet (as well as anti-inflammatory topical pain relievers) can work wonders.
The anti-inflammatory diet is rich in foods that not only fight systemic inflammation and pain but are also full of nutrients and antioxidants that work to restore the health of the body’s tissues - including the muscles, bones, tendons and nerves of the neck.
Have a go-to neck pain relief kit.
When it comes to long-term pain management, being prepared is half the battle. Thankfully, there are many ways to relieve both chronic and acute neck pain without the use of conventional pain-killers. Here are a few things we recommend to have in your at-home neck pain relief kit:
A heating pad or neck wrap
Chinese medicine experts believe that warmth is a better way to address most injuries and pain, and rarely use ice. If you have neck pain that feels stiff and eases with warmth, a warming neck wrap is an essential self-care item.
Dit Da Jow topical pain relievers
Not all Dit Da Jows are the same. Choose a formulation that best suits your specific type of neck pain:
Dit Da Jow Ho Family - A great all-around choice for muscular pain.
Dit Da Jow Ancestors Advanced - Best for arthritis-type neck pain.
Dit Da Jow Bruise Juice - The best choice for new injuries, neck pain with swelling or bruising, or inflammation.
Stress relief tool of your choice
Stress is a common cause of neck pain, as we tend to tighten our shoulders and hold tension in our upper bodies when under stress. Address the mental health aspect of chronic neck pain with a daily ritual of stress relief. For us, that’s a soothing cup of chamomile tea, but feel free to zen out in whatever way works best for you.
Fix Neck Pain the Natural WayLife is better pain-free. With these simple tips, you can take a natural approach to heal your injuries, relieve chronic neck pain and set the foundation for better neck health and strength. Learn more about how to stay healthy naturally on the Plum Dragon Herbs blog and podcast!
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I’d also recommend a home traction device. It’s an inflatable neck collar that gently lifts the head, allowing the muscles of the neck to elongate and relives the pressure on the vertebra, discs, nerves and soft tissues, allowing them to heal. It’s miraculous and a game changer. Decades of cycling had left me with a stiff and sore neck. Within a few days it was fixed.