We’ve all heard the expression, “That’s a real pain in the neck”, which universally translates to a situation that’s highly unpleasant! In all seriousness, a sore neck is no laughing matter and people go to extraordinary lengths to find the cause of neck pain, and to get neck pain relief.
Despite the fact that we’d all like to live without neck pain, it is estimated that approximately 70% of people will suffer from some form of neck pain condition at some time in their lives. Of course, the types of neck pain may differ, with some experiencing severe neck pain, whilst others suffer from neck pain headache. It may even manifest as a combination of back and neck pain, giving rising discomfort and a desperate need for relief.
Neck Pain Causes
There are multiple causes of neck pain but most are brought about by activities that strain the neck, causing muscle tightness or spasm due to repetitive actions or limited movement; stress, twisting or straining the neck in an odd position for long periods of time, e.g. painting the ceiling, repeating the same exercises in the gym (repetitive strain injuries) or sleeping incorrectly on a poor mattress, or the wrong type of pillow.
Worn joints are another cause of neck pain, with many people in later years suffering from neck pain and stiffness due to osteoarthritis. Severe neck pain may be caused by a cervical disc pressing on a nerve, which can cause sharp pain to the cervical area, or even migrating referred pain down the arms.
Sometimes external factors that can’t be avoided are the cause, such as rear-end auto collisions resulting in whiplash injury. With a whiplash injury, the head is quickly jerked backward then forward, which stretches soft tissue around the delicate neck beyond its limits. Less common contributors are diseases, such as cancer, meningitis or rheumatoid arthritis.
Neck Pain Headaches
When we have neck pain, pain can sometimes radiate upwards towards the head, resulting in a nasty headache. Headache and migraine physiotherapist, Dean Watson, head of the Watson Headache Institute, says that neck pain is underestimated in its contribution to headaches. Therefore, sufferers of neck pain headaches should have their upper cervical vertebrae medically assessed, as well as take care of their neck when they sleep, ensuring that correct alignment is maintained.
Neck Exercises for Neck Pain
More often than not, pain relief is just not enough. As well is avoiding certain situations or movements that may exacerbate your pain, it’s vital to have a health professional organise a rehabilitation program to correct any muscle imbalances, which may involve improving the strength and balance of muscles in the upper body area. Sensible, prescriptive programs such as individualised Pilates studio classes, exercise classes overseen by a physiotherapist or occupational therapist, or possibly even a reputable yoga class could help both to remedy the pain and prevent its return.
Neck Pain Relief
The desire for neck pain relief is as prevalent today as the desire for lower back pain relief. Whether you have neck pain headache, neck muscle pain or stabbing nerve pain in your neck, relief needs to be found – even if at first it is purely symptomatic relief.
If pain is ongoing, once again it is always wise to see a health professional to determine the cause of this pain. If it is not caused by disease or injury, it will pay to have a thorough investigation of your posture, lifestyle, muscle imbalances, stress levels and so on to see if by paying attention to these factors, you can have more relief from pain.
Pillows for Neck Pain
Given that we spend a third of our time asleep, it’s crucial that you look at the pillow you are sleeping on as your pillow could be the cause of the pain
– and, therefore, could be remedied quite easily.
To choose the right pillow for neck and shoulder pain relief, it’s essential to address numerous factors such as your body size, sleep habits, material preferences and so forth. Also, the correct pillow should allow you to that you maintain a neutral alignment in your spine while you sleep. It’s also noteworthy that the more the pillow can mould to your body shape, the more it offers relief from pressure to your neck area. And, for ultimate cervical comfort, a moderate to high pressure relieving pillow is recommended.If you have injured your neck through some activity or have neck muscle pain, choosing the correct pillow for your body, or even a specific neck pain pillow, may be able to realign your vertebrae while sleeping and relieve pain through pressure relief while you are recovering from injury. In fact, sometimes improving the health and functionality of your upper vertebrae can give substantial lower back pain relief.
At Mattress & Pillow Science, we specialise in healthy sleep pillows and mattresses. View our Pillows for Neck Pain here or ask our Healthy Sleep Consultants in-store for advice on what type of pillow will match your specific needs .
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