You’re probably not sure about the difference between a stiff neck and a sore neck. It’s the same thing.
Basically, we’re talking about the tightness or pain you experience in your neck after sleeping wrong or bending over your computer for hours.
There are many reasons you may get a sore neck; they all have to do with bad posture or over-straining neck muscles.
A stiff neck can cause you a ton of discomfort, and if you don’t do something about it, it could last a day or two and sometimes even longer. The last thing you want is to have that kind of discomfort prolonged. That won’t happen with these five easy ways to soothe a sore neck:
1. Use Medications
Before anything else, we recommend seeing a doctor about any kind of pain. You want to rule out serious problems like injuries or medical conditions like fibromyalgia, which has neck pain as a symptom.
You’ll need to see a doctor, get checked, and start taking medications. But if the cause of your sore neck is apparent, like maybe straining your neck reading, you don’t have to see a doctor about it.
Get medications for stiff neck relief at any drugstore. Most likely, the pharmacist will suggest common analgesics like Tylenol or NSAIDs like Advil.
2. Try Heat or Cold Therapy
An ice pack or a hot compress are good therapies for relieving sore neck. Heat offers a much deeper treatment, but both work well against the pain.
You may use an ice pack first, as the cold will numb the pain and stop inflammation. Later you can lie in a hot bath and benefit from heat therapy as well.
Heat relieves muscle tension and encourages blood circulation in the affected area.
For the best outcome, use a heating pad or a cloth dipped in hot water. Use the warm cloth to massage your neck gently.
3. Treat with Herbs
Herbs are part of what’s known as alternative treatments, which have a long history and have been in use for thousands of years.
What makes herbal remedies amazing is that they are natural therapeutic methods which limit adverse effects.
For sore neck relief, herbs like Ginseng and Lavender may help as they contain pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties.
You could also try cannabis to ease the pain. Besides the controversy, the plant has many therapeutic benefits and is especially touted for pain relief. Various studies have found that the array of cannabinoids and terpenes can help with health issues, including pain management.
4. Get a Neck Massage
Massage is great for pain and stiffness because it eases muscle tension and encourages blood circulation.
Like back pain, neck pain can also benefit from a massage. If you’re doing it yourself, gently massage the area and try to move your head in different directions to break the stiffness.
Understandably, a sore neck can be too tricky to self-massage if you can’t get past the initial pain. You may get someone to give you the massage, keeping things gentle to avoid an accidental injury.
To boost the effects of massage, use balms or essential oils for pain. Here are some essential oils you can use to relieve pain and soreness:
5. Find the Right Pillow
Sometimes a sore neck, especially a recurring one, may mean that you’re straining your neck muscles when you sleep.
Perhaps your pillow is the culprit. Check to see if it’s comfortable enough to support your neck. If it’s a little too high or too low, it may be doing you more harm.
If you need to shop for a new pillow, go for the right one for you (not a fancy one advertised as the best). The more comfortable the pillow is, accommodating the neck’s contours, the better.
You also want to consider the material in the pillow as it can relieve or contribute to neck pain. Scientists have tried to figure out which materials work best for neck pain. The findings revealed that memory foam and latex provide the best support.
Most people get sore necks once in a while. It’s a common problem that can be treated with simple home remedies and lifestyle adjustments. Basically, if you tend to strain your neck working, you’ll have to do something about it.
However, if your sore neck is a source of constant pain, you need to see a doctor for an official diagnosis.