Have you fallen into what seems like an endless cycle of neck pain?
It may start when you wake one morning with a stiff neck. Throughout the day, spending long hours at your job giving little thought to posture, plus being bombarded with stress from every direction does nothing to eliminate your neck pain. Your neck still aches when you get home from work, it's sore when you finally get to bed, and guess what? It aches again in the morning!
When you truly can't take this cycle another day or night and you're really ready to make a change, the following 7 steps can help:
1. Visit a specialist
You may need to get a referral from your regular health care provider, but regardless - make an appointment with some one who specializes in muscular and postural pain and imbalances. If you want long term results, you need an expert's diagnosis and support, not an over the counter remedy for pain.
2. Follow the specialist's advice
This may include physical therapy, special exercises or perhaps some form of mild medication. In most cases, a combined approach is what's needed to put an end to neck pain.
3. Implement a stress reduction plan
Stress is a major cause of pain for many people. Talk to your specialist about your goals for stress reduction. Personalize your plan so it works for you in the short as well as the long term.
4. Improve your sleep environment
If you aren't sleeping well due to pain in your neck, you won't recover as quickly as you otherwise might. Promote sound sleep by creating a calm, quiet and dark sleeping environment.
5. Invest in a quality pillow
Your specialist may recommend you switch to a specific type of neck pillow for sleeping. Contour shaped pillows and those made from memory foam can work wonders. You can literally say, 'Night night!' to neck pain with the right pillow.
6. Improve your lifestyle with healthy habits
If you guzzle caffeine throughout the day or rely on alcohol to relax or fall asleep, consider switching to some healthier habits.
Caffeine may have an inflammatory effect on your body that can actually aggravate neck pain, and at the same time it will jeopardize your ability to sleep soundly. Alcohol may also interfere with your ability to stay asleep throughout the night.
7. Exercise regularly for neck pain relief
Your specialist may recommend you avoid strenuous exercise while you're treating neck pain. As soon as possible (and under the specialist's guidance), start developing the habit of regular exercise.
Exercising can help reduce stress, promote sound sleep and lead to weight loss. It can also help strengthen muscles and combined with losing weight, lead to improvements in posture.
Although these 7 ways to eliminate and prevent neck pain may seem complicated, they're actually very simple to implement and well worth the effort.
You'll find that sleeping more soundly and switching to healthier lifestyle habits will have a profound impact on your life. Freedom from neck pain is just the beginning of many benefits you can enjoy by improving your health with this 7 step plan.