How to Manage Neck Pain Between Chiropractic Visits
By Sara Butler
If you are one of the millions of Americans who deal with neck pain every year, you probably see a lot of your chiropractor. Unfortunately, you can’t live at your chiropractor’s office or see them any time of the day. So, if you experience an episode of neck pain what should you do before you can get in to see your chiropractor? Here are a few strategies to consider if you can't make it to The Joint right away for your neck pain.
Exercises and Stretching
If you’re experiencing neck pain due to muscle tension, sprain or strain you need to get moving. One of the things you can do is move your head clockwise in a circle slowly and then reverse it. Do this for several minutes in an attempt to stretch out your muscles and hopefully relieve some of the tension.
You can also slowly move your neck from side to side, first by looking over your right shoulder then looking over your left, and ending with looking down and then up. With each move try to move your head a little farther than you did before, just make sure you don’t go too far. These moves may be a bit uncomfortable at first if you are struggling with muscle sprain or strain, but they should never be painful and if they are, you should stop.
Nothing combats inflammation better than good old fashioned ice. When you place a cold compress on an area causing you pain it will cause the blood vessels to contract, and that will help to fight inflammation and hopefully increase healing time. To use cold therapy properly, make sure you take a cold compress wrapped in a thin towel to protect your skin and hold it on the problem area for 15 to 20 minutes, then leave it off for 30 to 40 minutes before you reapply it. Make sure you protect your skin from the cold by always placing something between your skin and the compress.
Heat therapy should not be used for acute injuries, as it may make inflammation worse. But if you’re dealing with an ongoing problem, heat therapy can offer relief by encouraging blood flow to the area, often helping to relax muscles and restore range of motion to the neck.
If you have any questions about what you can do to treat neck pain at home before you are able to see your chiropractor, you should ask your DC (that's Doctor of Chiropractic) during your next visit to The Joint Chiropractic!