Neck pain is uncomfortable and debilitating. It can negatively impact your mood and stop you from doing the activities you enjoy if left untreated. Most of us have woken up with a crick in the neck before. It’s a strain injury that’s usually due to muscle spasm, sleeping in a poor position, and often occurs because the neck muscles are tight and deconditioned. It presents as discomfort, pain, or a pulling sensation on one side that affects the back/side of the neck, upper shoulder, and sometimes reaches down to the shoulder blade. It can range in severity from mild to severe and requires some attention to enable recovery. See the top tips below for starting your recovery from a crick in the neck!
1. Don’t stress – most neck pain is muscular and will be eased with relaxation and treatment.
2. Take pain relief medication – take some pain relieving medication and try using a hot or cold pack on the area for 10-15 minutes, 2-3 times per day to help reduce muscle tightness and spasm.
3. Gently move your neck- it’s important to keep moving your neck to avoid stiffness and further spasm. Doing some gentle movements within your comfortable movement range 3-5 times per day will really help. Doing these movements after you’ve used some heat and taken pain killers will help. Movements include looking up and down, turning your head from side-to-side to look over your shoulders, and bringing your ear towards your shoulder on each side. *Remember to move slowly, and avoid fast or jerking movements.
4. Move your arms – when it comes to muscle issues, the neck and shoulders are closely related. It’s helpful to gently roll your shoulders backwards and forwards in large circles 3-5 times per day, and use your arms normally for daily activities.
5. When to get it checked – if your pain is not improving within a few days, is getting worse, or if you are concerned, book an appointment with a physiotherapist to get it checked.
If you have face, arm, or head symptoms, or a history of circulation or blood pressure problems, get it checked immediately.