Anyone suffering from neck pain likes to take medication to get rid of the painful pulling as quickly as possible. However, there are also some simple home remedies that can help you to relieve tension quickly and effectively.
Neck pain, shoulder pain, headaches – Especially people who sit a lot at their desk have complaints in the area of the cervical spine. Many then resort to painkillers as a quick solution. Although medication can provide short-term relief, it usually does not fight the cause.
The reason is as follows: The active ingredients paracetamol, ibuprofen, diclofenac and acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) belong to the so-called inflammation inhibitors. They are therefore only effective if there is an inflammation. However, neck problems are in most cases the result of muscle tension. Instead, sufferers can alleviate their pain with a few simple measures.
Warmth is good for tense muscles. The blood vessels expand, blood circulation is stimulated and the muscle is supplied with important nutrients. The following measures help to relax the muscles:
Full bath: Get into the bathtub for at least 15 minutes and make sure that your neck is under water. A few drops of chamomile oil as a bath additive provide additional relaxation.
Sauna and steam bath: A visit to the sauna can also relieve neck tension. The moist warmth of a steam sauna has an even deeper effect on the muscles. However, it is better to leave out the shoulder and neck area when taking a cold shower to prevent further cramps.
Cherry stone pillow or millet pillow: Cherry stone and millet cushions store heat for a long time and gradually release it again.
Heat the pillow by placing it in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes or in the oven at 150°C for 10 to 15 minutes.
Red light lamp: Infrared light has a beneficial effect on body and soul. Sit at a distance of approx. 40 centimetres in front of the heat lamp. The irradiation should last about 20 minutes.
- Heat ointment
- warming plaster
- hot-water bottle
Attention: Warmth only helps with muscle tension. If, on the other hand, inflammation is the cause of neck pain, cold is more effective.
If the neck and shoulders are tense, a careful massage can loosen the muscles. Use the opposite hand of the aching shoulder and massage in circular movements. You can also use a massage ball, tennis ball or fascia roll for self massage. A massage in combination with a previous application of heat and heated massage oil works even better.
For severe neck pain and blockages, consult a physiotherapist 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 therefore first have a doctor diagnose the exact causes.
“The best remedy for existing tension is light exercise,” emphasizes Professor Herbert Löllgen of the German Society for Sports Medicine and Prevention. The pain is only further intensified by a gentle posture. Instead, the muscles can be loosened, stretched and strengthened with the help of simple exercises for the neck.
Even light endurance sports, such as cycling or walking, relax and train the neck muscles. If you suffer from neck pain, you should refrain from breaststroke or martial arts for the time being.
Pay more attention to your posture in the office. The viewing angle to 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 for making phone calls and regular exercise can also help relax cramped neck muscles.
Avoid stress and treat yourself to some wellness now and then. A hot bath, a massage or a mud pack will relax your muscles. Meditation and yoga can also help to relax the muscles and at the same time prevent tension. Regular relaxation is especially important for psychologically caused neck pain.
In order to relax neck tension, it can already help to rethink your sleeping habits. If possible, do not sleep on your stomach as this will cause your head to bend unnaturally. Instead, get an ergonomic pillow and a mattress that fits exactly and allows you to sleep in a position that is easy on your back. With a neck pillow, you can also take a nap on the road in the plane, car or train without waking up in pain.
Ointments with arnica can provide rapid relief from acute neck pain. The essential oil of the medicinal plant has an anti-inflammatory effect and promotes blood circulation. Ointments that additionally contain menthol or eucalyptus relax and invigorate the affected muscles particularly well.
Chronic neck pain: Which doctor can help?
If the home remedies mentioned do not help any more and the complaints last longer than three months, you should consult a doctor. The first point of contact for diagnosis and therapy of neck pain is usually the family doctor or orthopaedist. In order to limit exactly what type of neck pain is involved, you should be aware of your symptoms and possibly record them in writing.
This will speed up the examination and make it easier to decide on treatment options. If you experience signs of paralysis, restricted movement, tingling or numbness in your arms, hands, fingers, legs or feet, a neurologist should be consulted immediately.