Managing Chronic Neck Pain At Home
At least once in a person’s life, neck pain will appear. Often the result of stress or sleeping in an awkward position, for some people, the condition isn’t fleeting. For individuals where neck pain is constant, the condition is known as chronic neck pain. However, people can still manage the discomfort through at-home therapeutic remedies. Still, in some scenarios where the pain doesn’t improve over time, medical interventions such as surgery may be necessary.
1. Take advantage of hot and cold therapy
Just like with a sore knee or an overused muscle from exercise, hot and cold therapy is a great way to control the pain and recover from a sore neck. Immediately after the discomfort is experienced, people should apply ice to the injured area for the first few days. Ice therapy helps to prevent inflammation. Meanwhile, heat therapy helps to soothe sore muscles and aid in recovery. People should use a warm compress or heat pad for heat therapy.
2. Avoid maintaining the same position for too long
Neck pain can sometimes be caused by people maintaining the same position for too long. For example, sitting at a desk while looking down for extended periods can aggravate the neck. Instead, people should try to change positions frequently to prevent neck strain.
3. Engage in stretches throughout the day
One of the best ways to reduce the incidence of neck pain is to engage in gentle stretches throughout the day. Evidence has shown that stretching can help to reduce pain and minimize stiffness, common neck pain symptoms. Likewise, getting massages by a trained therapist can help to loosen and stretch muscles in the back.
4. Invest in proper support
Spending extended time in chairs that aren’t supportive for the back and neck can lead to developing neck pain over time. People should opt for chairs that support proper posture. Proper posture is defined as feet being flat against the floor, arms parallel with the desktop, and the shoulders in a neutral position. Shoulders shouldn’t be hunched, and the spine should maintain a natural curve.
When to choose ACDF surgery
While many people can manage neck pain through at-home methods, other individuals may need medical interventions. One common option is anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) surgery. The procedure removes discs from the neck that are damaged and then fuses the bones. Typically the surgery is considered ideal for individuals that struggle with mobility as a result of chronic pain that causes stiffness and numbness. If chronic neck pain is impacting a person’s life and significantly reduces the quality of life, a conversation with a physician should be considered to determine if ACDF surgery is the right choice for pain relief.