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How To Relieve Back Neck And Shoulder Pain

When Should I See My Doctor

Stretches to Alleviate Neck, Back and Shoulder Pain

You should see a doctor if:

  • the pain is getting worse
  • the pain doesnt ease up in a week or so
  • you have numbness, tingling or pins and needles in your arms or legs
  • you start having difficulties with your bladder or bowel
  • you have a fever as well as neck pain

Neck Spasms And Anxiety

Muscle stiffness and pain can be caused by emotional stress, as well as physical stress. If you develop a neck spasm at a time in your life when youre coping with high levels of anxiety or stress, the two might be connected.

If your neck spasm is linked to anxiety or stress, relaxation techniques might help ease your symptoms. For example, it might help to:

Its normal to feel anxious sometimes. But if you frequently experience anxiety, stress, or mood swings that cause significant distress or interfere with your daily life, talk to your doctor.

Depending on your symptoms, your doctor might refer you to a mental health specialist for diagnosis and treatment. They might recommend medication, counseling, or other treatments.

Some causes of neck spasms are more serious than others. Be sure to call your doctor if:

  • your neck pain is the result of an injury or fall
  • you develop numbness in your back, limbs, or other body parts
  • you have trouble moving your limbs or lose control of your bladder or bowels
  • your symptoms make it difficult to sleep at night or take part in normal activities
  • your symptoms dont get better after a week
  • your symptoms return after subsiding

If you dont already have a provider, our Healthline FindCare tool can help you connect to physicians in your area.

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Treating Neck And Shoulder Pain

Treatment of neck and shoulder pain depends on the underlying cause.

Heart attack, stroke, and other serious conditions often include emergency treatment. For most other situations, home remedies, physical therapy, and massage will bring improvement.

Some of the more serious situations that may require surgical treatment include:

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When To See A Doctor

Most simple back pain will start to improve within a day or two of restricted activity and over-the-counter medication. If you find yourself taking more and more pills to relieve back pain, or if the pain is getting worse, you’ll want to contact a back specialist. After a thorough medical history, physical examination, and diagnostic tests a doctor may be able to determine if there is a specific cause of your pain and will recommend appropriate treatments.

Not all chronic pain is treatable. Pain management is an integrated approach to making pain tolerable by learning physical, emotional, intellectual and social skills. This may include exercise, physical therapy, medication, relaxation, acupuncture, behavior changes, biofeedback, hypnosis, and counseling. When you use pain management techniques, you stay in control of your own health. These techniques also help the brain produce it’s own pain medications called endorphins, which literally means “morphine within” .

Be Mindful Of Your Sleep Positions

15 Stretches to Relieve Neck and Shoulder Pain

Dr. Bang says if your neck is bothering you, you should pay attention to your sleep positions. Sleep only on your side or on your back never on your stomach, he says.

When you sleep on your stomach, often you will end up twisting your head one way or the other for hours at a time, Dr. Bang says. Sleeping on your stomach also can affect your low back because your belly sinks into the bed if you dont have enough support.

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Why Is Neck And Shoulder Pain Such A Problem

Is your posture hunched, bent at the middle or leaning slightly to one side? Far too many of us these days suffer from shoulder and neck pain, so maybe we should have listened to our parents and teachers when they told us to “SIT UP STRAIGHT!” and stop slouching…

We have become a nation of ‘slumpers’, with many of us spending hours hunched in front of computers for work. Plus, in our leisure time, more often than not we are bent over our smartphones or slouched on the couch in front of the TV.

So, it is no wonder our poor shoulders and necks have started to complain! The combination of this slouchy behaviour with factors such as sleeping awkwardly, muscle strain, stress, age and overexertion puts added pressure on our necks and shoulders.

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For Those Who Don’t Like To Look Up

Often we suddenly look up, thereby increasing the over-curvature of the cervical vertebrae even more and begin to look like a vulture. Worse than being unsightly, a partly self-strangulated neck cuts off regular blood supply to the brain. A brain, hungry for blood containing oxygen and energy coming from the heart cannot think properly. Finding it difficult to look up also affects one’s mood, morale, and attitude. Someone who can only look down is a negative person.

Correct head alignment when looking straight ahead and when looking up.

How Is Neck Pain Diagnosed

How to Relieve Neck Pain in 30 SECONDS

Your doctor will examine you and discuss what makes the pain worse or better. If they think there may be a more serious cause of your neck pain, they may order tests like a blood test, x-ray, CT scan or an MRI.

However, usually these tests arent recommended because they wont change how your neck pain is treated.

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Move #: Trigger Point Bar

I fastened a tennis ball to the end of a Back Knobber 2 trigger point bar to widen the surface area that Im going to massage.

Place it right where you feel the knot in your shoulder blade or upper traps, and then anchor the bar down into that knock for about eight to 12 seconds.

As you press down on the tight spot, rotate your head away to stretch it. Continue working the area until you feel the knot release and soften.

See A Doctor If Neck And Shoulder Pain Persist

While topical applications like patches, creams, and ointments provide pain relief in the neck and shoulder, muscles, and joints, they do not cure the underlying issues. If the pain becomes unbearable, persists for more than seven days, or recurs after a few days of clearing up, visit your doctor as soon as possible to address the source of your aches.

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Home Remedy #: Mouth Guards

Grinding or clenching your teeth at night may be the root cause of your neck and shoulder pain. This constant pressure on the jaw radiates down to the neck and surrounding areas. Over time, this will cause tight and painful muscles. By wearing a mouth guard at night, it will help take the excessive pressure off your jaw.

What Causes Neck Or Shoulder Pain

Acupressure points for neck pain and shoulder pain relief ...

The main cause of neck or shoulder pain is poor posture. You can loosen a stiff neck, frozen shoulders, and upper backache, even headaches and migraines by being well aware of your posture. There is no such thing as a short neck. We all possess seven cervical vertebrae. A short neck is merely curved too deeply. The neck supports the head, so it is obvious that if the head is carried too far in front of the body instead of directly above the spine, where it belongs, the muscles at the back of the neck are doing unnecessary overtime. Permanently tense and raised shoulders, poor sleeping habits, stress, or cold drafts also contribute to neck and shoulder pain. The overload in muscle tension just to hold your head up, but in the wrong way, can eventually escalate into chronic headaches and migraines. Oh dear, what to do, what to do?

First, let us look at the shoulder area to create a strong base needed to help the neck support the head.

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Add Pillows To Your Sleeping Position

Sometimes sleep can be hard to find when your neck is stiff or your back is acting up. Rearranging or adding pillows in can help you figure out how to sleep with neck pain. If you suffer from back or neck pain, we recommend sleeping on your back to ease the pressure or on your side to align your spine.

Changing how you sleep is not something that happens overnight, but you can do things tonight to improve your quality of sleep. Pillows might seem like a misleadingly simple answer, but they can provide immediate relief.

  • Side sleepers If youre a side sleeper with chronic shoulder, neck or back pain, try bringing your legs slighting towards your chest and put a pillow between your legs.
  • Stomach sleeper Sleeping on your stomach is already hard on your back and neck, so you should try to adjust this over time if you can. In the meantime, you should try putting a pillow under your pelvis and avoid pillows that put any strain on your neck. Youre better off not using a pillow at all if it strains your neck.
  • Back sleeper If youre a back sleeper good job youre in the best position possible. Add a pillow under your knees to preserve the curve of your lower back.This is not recommended if you had a recent knee surgery or replacement. For extra support, you can add in a small pillow or rolled towel at the small of your back.

How To Treat A Pinched Nerve In Neck And Shoulder

The ideal treatment will vary depending on how bad your pain is and how long it has been happening. If you experience severe, sudden pain in the neck or shoulder, especially with other symptoms like difficulty breathing, dizziness, confusion, or loss of vision, seek immediate medical help.

Otherwise, you can try the following for pinched nerve relief.

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Shoulder Pain From Computer Use: Treatments And Prevention

It is quite common for computer users to develop shoulder pain because they have to keep their neck and wrists in one posture for an extended time. Sticking to one posture can cause tension in the muscles and tendons. In most cases, there is nothing to support your shoulder, especially when you are using the mouse. This can cause muscle imbalance and damage that can lead to shoulder pain from computer use. The pain can sometimes be quite severe, especially when your incorrect posture leads to nerve entrapment. Let’s find how to diagnose the problem and what to do to fix it.

Pinched Nerve In Shoulder

Exercises to Relieve Neck and Shoulder Pain
  • Usually only occurs in one shoulder.
  • Characterized by a sharp pain, as opposed to a dull pain or an ache.
  • May be accompanied by neck pain and headaches.
  • Turning your head or moving your arm may cause the pain to intensify.
  • May cause numbness and weakness in the shoulder.
  • Pain may extend down your arm.

As you can see, a pinched nerve in the shoulder may cause pain in the neck area and vice versa. This is because nerves dont necessarily hurt just where they are irritated or pinched. They often send pain along much of the nerve, making it hard to tell where the affected area is. Luckily, treatments are similar for a pinched nerve in the neck and shoulder. One thing is sure, doing nothing about a pinched nerve is never the right course of action.

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Position Yourself For Success

How you sit while working makes a difference. While your home may not be the best work environment long-term, do the best you can to safeguard your joints and muscles. It might be a good idea to check your home for props, such as stacks of books to raise your monitor and to get yourself and your equipment positioned the right way.

If you can, work from a firm chair positioned at a desk or table. A soft couch isnt your friend for hours on end. Sit right, and dont forget to get up and shake it out to avoid aches and pains.

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Over Curvature Of The Neck

Get the photo album and find a picture of yourself in your profile. Sorry, but if you carry your head as shown in the first picture above, you are in real trouble. When the neck is over-curved, the head is not aligned above the spine but has to be carried in front of the body. That takes a lot of effort and pain. Muscles turn into spasms and cause neck and shoulder tension, headaches, migraine, even a Dowagers Hump. Help!

Preventing Pain And Injury

9 Exercises to Relieve Neck and Shoulder Pain

Posture. Using correct posture and keeping your spine in alignment are the most important things you can do for your neck and back . The lower back bears most of your weight, so proper alignment of this section can prevent injury to your vertebrae, discs, and other portions of the spine. If you have back or neck pain, you may need to make adjustments to your daily standing, sitting, and sleeping habits and learn proper ways to lift and bend. Your workspace may need to be rearranged to keep your spine from slouching. Because extra pounds can make back pain worse, you should maintain a weight that is appropriate for your height and body frame.

Exercise. Regular exercise is important to prevent back pain and injury. A program of strengthening, stretching and aerobic exercises will improve your overall fitness level. Research has shown that people who are physically fit are more resistant to back injuries and pain, and recover quicker when they do have injuries, than those who are less physically fit .

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Stiff Neck Remedies To Try

For minor, common causes of neck pain, try these simple remedies:

Apply heat or ice to the painful area

Use ice for the first 48 to 72 hours, then use heat after that. Heat may be applied with warm showers, hot compresses or a heating pad. Be sure not to fall asleep with a heating pad or ice bag in place to avoid skin injuries.

Take over-the-counter pain relievers

Doctors recommend ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

Keep moving

However, avoid jerking or painful activities. This helps calm your symptoms and reduce inflammation.

Gentle massage

Have a partner gently massage the sore or painful areas. When doing this, communication is key. Have your partner try a variety of techniques until they land on one that feels good.

Youll want them to say, How does this feel? Do you want more or less pressure? Thats what a massage therapist will do, says Dr. Bang. Then keep adapting until you both find the sweet spot.

No matter what technique you choose, however, he advises that any massage movements should be directed toward the heart. This matches the way the blood flows in your veins, the bluish-purple lines visible under your skin. Too much pressure going in the wrong direction, away from your heart, has the potential to damage a valve.

Make sure you have the proper mattress or pillow

Try sleeping on a firm mattress without a pillow or with a special neck pillow.

Use a soft neck collar

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