Tips on How to Prevent and Ease Neck Soreness

Neck soreness or neck pain is relatively common. In fact, its prevalence in the adult population (15-74 years old) ranged from 5.9% to 22.2% according to studies. And it generally affects women more than men.

Neck soreness can be the result of a variety of other health issues. It can be due to psychological stress or it can also be caused by using the computer for hours every day. In fact, only recently, researchers found out some people suffer from neck soreness because of prolonged smartphone use. In some cases, it might even develop without a specific cause.

How to Prevent Neck Soreness

Having a sore neck can greatly affect your productivity and performance. It can also make doing simple daily activities more challenging. Here are some ways on how you can prevent neck soreness.
  1. Use a pillow that provides adequate support for your neck. It should help maintain the natural curvature of your neck and keep your cervical spine in a neutral position. If your pillow is already too stiff, then it’s time to buy a new one. 
  2. Ideally, the best position when sleeping should be on your back but it’s not easy changing this particular habit especially when you’re used to sleeping on your side. The important thing to remember is to avoid bending your neck in an unnatural way. Sleeping on your belly doesn’t only cause neck pain but can also affect your lower back.
  3. If your job includes working in front of a computer all day long, the monitor should be placed at your eye level. You should neither look down or up because it will put unnecessary strain on your neck. 
  4. Take breaks frequently to stretch and massage your neck. You can do two easy exercises that won’t even take more than five minutes. First, touch your ear to your shoulder and repeat for 10 times on each side. Second, with your hands behind your head, push your head back and hold this position for thirty seconds.
  5. Don’t use your smartphone or tablet for too long. Texting and scrolling on your news feed for a few minutes is okay but when you spend more than an hour looking down, it could have several effects on your health on top of possibly developing neck pain.
  6. If you have to carry heavy items, opt for a backpack instead of a sling or a shoulder bag because the former evenly distributes the load on your shoulders. Carrying the whole weight on only one side of your body can strain your neck muscles.
  7. Maintain proper posture at all times, whether you’re sitting down, walking or lifting heavy objects from the floor. Avoid slumping forward as this can add tension on your neck muscles. When driving, you should be in an upright position with adequate support on your head and neck. Don’t reach out for the steering wheel.
  8. If you’re on the phone for a long time, use Bluetooth earphones so you don’t have to cradle the phone in your neck. This habit can put tension on the cervical spine.
  9. Strengthen your neck muscles by performing exercises, going for a swim, and doing yoga. 

How to Relieve Neck Soreness

If you are suffering from neck soreness, here are some easy home remedies and health tips you can try:
  1. Rest and stop any activity that caused neck soreness. If it’s because of your work, consider taking a day off to relax and allow your sore muscles to heal. Don’t overdo it, however, since too much rest can likewise weaken your muscles, defeating the purpose. 
  2. Apply warm and cold compress. For the first 48-72 hours, use a bag of frozen peas or corn and wrap it in a cloth or towel before putting on the neck for 15 minutes at a time. Afterward, you can use a warm towel, a heating pad or a hot water bottle on the affected area for no more than 15 minutes.
  3. Take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines like Ibuprofen for pain. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and do not use more than what is needed. If there’s no relief after seven days, schedule an appointment with your physician.
  4. Gently massage your neck to improve blood flow in the area and therefore help in relieving the pain.
  5. Keep on doing your daily activities as long as they don’t aggravate the soreness. 
  6. Perform low impact exercises like walking or swimming to help promote healing by improving circulation and delivering oxygen to the injured tissues.
  7. Find ways to relieve your stress. If there’s no other identifiable cause for your sore neck, you are probably burned out and it’s taking a toll on your body. Go to the beach, watch a movie, hike with friends, and take time to distance yourself from whatever is causing your stress.

If you’ve done all of these and the soreness still persists after a week, it’s time to see a doctor.

More often than not, neck soreness can be relieved with self-care treatment unless there is a serious underlying cause. So if you’re in doubt or worried that it could be something worse, go and seek medical attention immediately. After all, you know your body best.

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Image source: Samantha

About the Author

Elliot Sanchez | Profile | Articles | Contact
Elliot is a health enthusiast who aims to spread the significance of living a healthy lifestyle. She is a midwife, a nurse, and a trained EMT who has personally seen the reality and effects of diseases and accidents in a person's life.

Through this website, she hopes to influence her readers to be health conscious and to educate them on how to achieve health and fitness and prevent diseases.

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