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If you’ve ever woken up after sleeping in a position that puts pressure on your neck, then you know how uncomfortable a little neck pain can be. A small neck problem can turn into a major source of discomfort if it’s not treated right. That’s why it’s important to know common types of neck injuries, what can cause them and, more importantly, how to treat neck pain if you’re experiencing it. Here’s some information about neck pain, including what can cause it and how to treat it.
Causes of neck pain
Accidents like a car crash, bike accident, or any other situation in which your body experiences extreme outside force can all lead to neck pain. One of the most common types of neck pain is whiplash, and it’s often caused by a car accident. It occurs when there’s a force that moves your body forward abruptly, jerking your head and your neck back. An example of an accident involving whiplash could be when your vehicle is hit from behind, throwing the driver forwards then backwards.
Sleeping in awkward positions
Sometimes sleeping in a certain position can cause neck pain. Putting awkward pressure on the wrong part of your neck when you’re sleeping could potentially lead to a strain that’s caused by overstretching the muscles in your neck. If you notice stiffness after waking up and difficulty moving your neck easily, it’s possible you injured it while sleeping.
Sitting at a desk
People who sit down while working often experience neck pain caused by hours of maintaining the same sitting position while working. This can be caused by a computer monitor that doesn’t align with your eyes, which can lead to you holding your head at an angle, or an office chair that doesn’t properly support your back and neck. Simple fixes to your office setup can help you avoid these types of injuries.
How to treat neck pain
While understanding what can cause neck pain is important, it does nothing if you don’t take action to relieve the pain and prevent it from happening again. Here are a few ways to relieve pain and keep it from coming back in the future.
- Ice your neck: to reduce swelling, hold a cold compression against your neck multiple times a day for 10-15 minutes. To prevent yourself from injuring your skin in the area, wrap the ice pack in a bag or towel.
- Apply heat to the neck: After a few days of icing, use a hot compress on your neck. You can do this with a hot towel, or a hot compression bottle.
- Use over-the-counter drugs: Painkillers like Tylenol, Advil or Motrin can help relieve pain. Read the directions before using any and consider all of the side effects.
- Visit a chiropractor: A chiropractor can help with proper alignment and repair the damaged muscles and ligaments, which can expedite recovery and prevent subsequent injuries and chronic complications. Choosing the right chiropractor can make a huge difference in helping you get back to full strength.
Neck pain shouldn’t rule your life, but if it’s not managed well, it can. If you are experiencing pain, consider at-home remedies including icing your neck or applying heat. As you seek a well-rounded recovery plan, reach out to a chiropractor to inquire about additional treatment that can help you feel pain free more quickly.
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