If you have neck pain, you don’t have to resort to medication straight away. There are home remedies that you can use to relieve tension quickly and effectively.
Neck pain, shoulder pain, headaches: People who spend a lot of time sitting at a desk in particular have problems in the cervical spine area. Many people then turn to painkillers as a quick solution. Although medications can provide short-term relief, they usually do not address the cause.
The reason is as follows: The active ingredients paracetamol, ibuprofen, diclofenac and acetylsalicylic acid (ASS) are among the so-called anti-inflammatory drugs. So they only work if there is inflammation. However, neck problems are in most cases a result of muscle tension. Instead, those affected can relieve their pain with a few simple measures.
1. Heat for neck pain
Heat is good for tense muscles. This causes the vessels to expand, blood circulation to be stimulated and the muscles to be supplied with important nutrients. The following measures help to relax and de-spasm the muscles:
- Full bath: Get into the bathtub for at least 15 minutes and make sure that your neck is also under water. A few drops of chamomile oil as a bath additive provide additional relaxation.
- Sauna and steam bath: Going to the sauna can also relieve neck tension. The moist heat of a steam sauna works even deeper into the muscles. However, when taking a cold shower afterwards, it is better to avoid the shoulder and neck area to prevent renewed cramps.
- Cherry stone pillows or millet pillows: Cherry stone and millet pillows store heat for a long time and release it gradually. Warm the pillow by placing it in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes or in the oven at 150 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Red light lamp: Infrared light has a beneficial effect on the body and soul. Sit about 40 centimeters away from the heat lamp. The radiation treatment should last about 20 minutes.
- Heat ointment, heat patches and hot water bottles : They have a similar beneficial effect and help relieve cramps.
2. Massage against tension
If your neck and shoulders are tense, a careful massage can loosen the muscles. To do this, use the hand opposite the painful shoulder and massage in circular movements.
You can also use a massage ball, tennis ball or foam roller for self-massage. A massage combined with previous heat application and warmed massage oil works even better.
If you experience severe neck pain and blockages, you should contact a physical therapist or chiropractor. However, manual therapies may only be carried out if injuries to the spine have been ruled out. Before you have neck pain treated in this way, you should first have the exact causes diagnosed by a doctor.
“The best remedy for existing tension is light exercise,” emphasizes Professor Herbert Löllgen from the German Society for Sports Medicine and Prevention. A protective posture only increases the pain. Instead, the muscles can be loosened, stretched and strengthened using simple neck exercises .
Even light endurance sports , such as cycling or walking, relax and train the neck muscles. If you have neck pain, you should initially refrain from breaststroke swimming or martial arts.
Pay more attention to your posture in the office. The viewing angle of the screen and the seat height should be ergonomically aligned so that your head is in a natural and relaxed position. Adequate lighting, a headset when talking on the phone and regular exercise can also help to relax tense neck muscles.
Avoid stress and treat yourself to some wellness every now and then. A hot bath, a massage or a mud pack will loosen up the muscles. Meditation and yoga can also help relax the muscles and prevent tension at the same time. Regular relaxation is particularly important if you have psychological neck pain.
6. Sleep properly
To ease neck tension, it can help to rethink your sleeping habits. If possible, avoid sleeping on your stomach, as this causes your head to bend unnaturally. Instead, get an ergonomic pillow and a custom-fitting mattress that allow for a back-friendly sleeping position.
With a neck pillow you can take a nap on the plane, car or train without waking up in pain.
7. Arnica ointment for neck pain
Ointments containing arnica can provide quick relief from acute neck pain. The essential oil of the medicinal plant has an anti-inflammatory effect and promotes blood circulation. Ointments that also contain menthol or eucalyptus relax and invigorate the affected muscles particularly well.
Chronic neck pain: which doctor can help?
If the home remedies mentioned no longer help and the symptoms last longer than three months, you should consult a doctor. The first point of contact for the diagnosis and treatment of neck pain is usually your family doctor or orthopedist.In order to narrow down exactly what type of neck pain it is, you should pay attention to your symptoms and, if necessary, write them down. This will speed up the examination and make it easier to decide on treatment options. If symptoms of paralysis, restricted movement, tingling or numbness in the arms, hands, fingers, legs or feet occur, a neurologist should be consulted immediately.