Free Shipping on orders over $75
Free Shipping on orders over $75
neck pain
CBD Topical
Chronic Pain

How Can I Relieve Pain in My Neck?

Are you feeling a twinge in your neck? If you are, you're not alone. Neck pain is a common complaint that most people experience at some point in their lives. It can range from a mild annoyance to a severe and debilitating condition, impacting our ability to perform daily tasks and reducing our overall quality of life.

Typically, neck pain stems from strains or sprains of the muscles and ligaments in the neck. Understanding that neck pain is not just an isolated issue is important. It can lead to other problems, such as headaches, shoulder pain, and even difficulty concentrating.

The good news is that most types of neck pain respond well to self-care and noninvasive treatments. So, let's learn more about neck pain and how you can manage it effectively.

What Is the Anatomy of the Neck?

The neck, the cervical spine region, is a sophisticated network of bones, muscles, ligaments, and nerves. It's designed to hold the weight of your head (which is about the weight of a bowling ball!) and provide a range of motion for it.

The cervical spine consists of seven small vertebrae, starting from the base of the skull to the upper torso. These vertebrae encase and protect the spinal cord, which sends signals from the brain to the rest of the body.

Surrounding the cervical spine are various neck muscles that provide support and movement. Ligaments, which are strong bands of tissues connecting the bones, help stabilize the neck and keep it aligned.

The neck is also home to nerve roots that branch out from the spinal cord. These nerves control muscle movement and carry sensations from the body to the brain. Hence, any issue with these structures can lead to discomfort or pain in the neck.

What Can Cause Neck Pain?

The neck's complex structure and role in our body's movements make it susceptible to various issues. The musculoskeletal system of the neck, which includes the muscles, bones, and joints, plays a significant role in neck discomfort.

One common cause of neck pain is poor posture. Slumping over your computer for hours, cradling your phone between your shoulder and ear, or simply not maintaining a good posture can strain the neck muscles.

A sudden force or trauma, like a whiplash injury, can also cause neck pain. This occurs when the neck suddenly jerks backward and then forward, straining the soft tissues of the neck.

Muscle strain and sprains, often from activities that require prolonged or repetitive neck movements, can cause discomfort, too. Even something as simple as sleeping in an awkward position can cause a stiff neck come morning.

Pinched nerves, where the nerve roots become compressed, can result in neck pain as well. This can occur due to various reasons, including degenerative diseases like osteoarthritis, herniated discs, or even bone spurs.

Understanding these potential causes can help you identify the best methods to ease neck pain and improve your quality of life. Remember, if your neck pain persists or is severe, it's always wise to consult a healthcare provider.

What Are Ways To Relieve Neck Discomfort?

Now that we've explored the causes and anatomy of neck discomfort, it's time to look at some ways to ease it. From good posture to strengthening exercises, there are various methods you can try to alleviate that stiff neck.

Consider Your Posture and Workspace

One of the first steps to relieve neck discomfort is to evaluate your posture. Slouching or hunching over your computer can strain your neck muscles unnecessarily. Ensure your workspace is ergonomically friendly, with your monitor at eye level and your headrest adjusted correctly if you're sitting. Take regular breaks and do simple neck exercises to improve blood flow and reduce muscle tension.

Standing or sitting tall, with your shoulders relaxed and your body aligned, can significantly help reduce neck discomfort. Maintaining a good posture promotes better neck alignment and helps reduce the risk of developing chronic pain.

Strengthening Exercises

Strengthening exercises are essential in maintaining your neck muscles' health. They help enhance the flexibility and range of motion of your neck, reducing the risk of strains and sprains. For example, gentle neck stretches and isometric exercises, where you press your hand against your forehead and resist the motion, can help to build strength.

You might also consider incorporating exercises like shoulder rolls and side-to-side neck tilts. Aim to perform these exercises daily, or at least several times a week, for the best results. Remember to always keep the movements slow and controlled to avoid injury. These exercises strengthen the neck and contribute to overall postural improvement, helping to alleviate neck discomfort in the long run.

Over-the-Counter Options

Over-the-counter pain medications like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen, and acetaminophen, can help manage neck discomfort. These OTC pain relievers work by reducing the body's production of certain substances that cause inflammation and pain.

However, they're not without side effects. Long-term use can lead to stomach problems, high blood pressure, and even liver damage. That's why some people prefer to explore other methods of relief before turning to these drugs.

Hot and Cold Therapy

Another way to soothe neck discomfort is hot and cold therapy. A heating pad can help increase blood flow and relax stiff neck muscles. On the other hand, an ice pack can help reduce inflammation and numb the affected area, providing relief.

Usually, it's recommended to use ice for the first 24 to 48 hours after an injury, then switch to heat. However, everyone is different, and what works best for you might depend on your specific situation and comfort. Always wrap ice packs or heating pads in a towel to protect your skin, and never leave them on for more than 20 minutes at a time.

Remember, these methods can help manage neck discomfort, but if your neck pain persists or worsens, it's important to consult a healthcare provider. They can help identify any underlying issues and guide you on the best course of treatment.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is a non-invasive approach often recommended for managing neck discomfort. Physical therapists are trained to identify the root causes of your discomfort and develop a customized treatment plan to address them.

They may use a combination of exercises, stretching, manual therapy, and even therapeutic modalities like ultrasound or electrical stimulation to help alleviate your discomfort. The goal is to improve your neck's range of motion, strengthen your muscles, and promote optimal function.

Physical therapy can also educate you on good posture and ergonomic principles to prevent future neck discomfort. Remember, consistency is key in physical therapy, so stick with your exercise plan for the best results.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to help ease discomfort. This traditional Chinese medicine practice involves inserting thin needles into specific points on your body, known as acupuncture points.

The belief is that this helps stimulate the body's natural healing process and balance your energy flow, known as Qi. For neck discomfort, acupuncturists focus on points located on your neck and upper back.

Modern research suggests that acupuncture may help ease discomfort by stimulating nerves, muscles, and connective tissue, improving blood flow and triggering your body's natural painkillers.

Stress and Neck Discomfort

Stress can significantly impact your physical health, including causing or worsening neck discomfort. When you're stressed, your muscles, including those in your neck, may tense up. This tension can lead to discomfort or exacerbate existing discomfort.

Finding techniques to manage stress can help ease this tension. This might include activities like meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, or even taking a warm bath. Regular physical activity is also beneficial as it helps release endorphins — your body's natural painkillers and mood elevators.

Maintaining a balanced diet and ensuring adequate sleep can further help manage stress levels. Remember, a healthy mind contributes to a healthy body, and managing stress effectively can be a key step to relieving neck discomfort.

CBD for Discomfort

One natural way to help ease feelings of discomfort is using CBD (cannabidiol) products. CBD is a compound found in the cannabis plant that has been shown to have numerous potential health benefits, including soothing feelings of discomfort.

CBD interacts with your body's endocannabinoid system (ECS), a complex cell-signaling system that influences various functions and processes, such as sleep, stress, and discomfort perception. The ECS has two primary receptors, CB1 and CB2, which are found throughout the body, including in the neck.

By interacting with these receptors, CBD can help support the ECS to maintain balance and ease feelings of discomfort. One way to use CBD for neck discomfort is through topicals like our soothing CBD Balms that can be applied directly to the affected area. These products provide targeted support and can be a great addition to your routine.

CBD’s ability to work with the body’s endocannabinoids to help maintain healthy stress levels offers another layer of support against neck discomfort, as stress is a common cause of neck tension.

When Should You See a Doctor for Neck Pain?

While many instances of neck discomfort can be managed at home, there are times when it's wise to seek professional medical advice. If your discomfort is severe, has been ongoing for several days, or the self-care methods and home remedies you've tried aren't providing relief, it might be time to consult a healthcare provider.

Doctors can use tools like X-rays and other imaging tests to get a clearer picture of what's going on in your neck. These diagnostic tools can help identify the root cause of your discomfort, such as a pinched nerve or degenerative disc disease.

Armed with this information, your healthcare provider can develop a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to your needs. This might involve a combination of treatments, from physical therapy to medication, and even lifestyle changes, to help you manage your discomfort and regain your quality of life.

The Bottom Line

Neck discomfort can be frustrating, impacting your daily activities and overall quality of life. But remember, you're not alone. There are various ways to manage and relieve your discomfort. It could be by maintaining good posture and strengthening exercises or from over-the-counter options. This may also include hot and cold therapies, professional treatments like physical therapy and acupuncture, and natural support from CBD products.

If your discomfort persists or is severe, don't hesitate to seek professional help. A healthcare provider can work with you to identify the cause of your discomfort and develop an effective treatment plan.

For neck discomfort and stiffness associated with stress or overuse, CBD can be helpful in encouraging balance throughout the mind and body. We invite you to explore our full range of all-natural, third-party-tested CBD products at Muscle MX.

They are designed to partner with your body's natural systems to help ease feelings of tension and discomfort, offering a potentially effective, natural method to support your well-being.

Sources:

Anatomy, Head and Neck, Neck | NCBI Bookshelf

3 surprising risks of poor posture | Harvard Health

Pinched Nerves: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Guide to Good Posture: MedlinePlus

Enhancing Endocannabinoid Control of Stress with Cannabidiol | PMC

Let's Stay Connected