If you are one of the many Americans that suffer from chronic neck pain, there are physical therapy methods that you can try on your own that can help lessen the stiffness in your neck and help reduce the occurrence of neck pain in your life. Here are two simple physical therapy methods that you can easily do on your own to treat your chronic stiff neck.
#1 Cold & Heat Therapy
Cold and heat therapy is not just for when you pulled a muscle; it can also be an effective way to treat a chronic stiff neck.
Cold should be applied to your neck after you have worked out your neck muscles. Keep in mind that working out your neck muscles doesn't have to mean that you worked out in the gym; it can also mean you drove for an extended period of time or worked on your computer for hours; any activity that actively worked out your neck muscles. You can apply either an ice pack or a bag of ice wrapped in a towel directly to your neck. When applying cold to your neck, you should keep the application short; it will help lessen inflammation and pain associated with working out your neck muscles.
High heat works best when you just need some relief from your stiff neck. It can also be applied more often than cold for neck muscle relief. Some of the best ways to apply heat to your neck muscles is by putting an electrical heating pad, hot towels, or a heating pack you have to boil to warm up around your neck. If the heat from the source is too strong, you can wrap it in a towel. The heat source you use should be warm enough that you feel it seeping into your muscles but should not feel like it is burning your skin.
Apply heat before your day starts to relax your neck muscles, during the day if possible, and when you get home. If you can, try to keep the heat source on their as long as it is warm; this will help your neck muscles relax.
This is a method commonly used by physical therapist.
#2 Ergonomics At Work & At Home
Second, make sure that you practice ergonomics. Ergonomics is the practice of making sure that your body is in the best possible position when doing work.
To lessen your neck pain, you want to make sure that your neck is aligned with your spine. That means you need to be sitting up straight and have your back and legs supported; supporting these areas will also help your neck. Another way to make sure that your neck is aligned with your spine is by adjusting your work material. You don't want to be looking downward at your computer all day; if you use a laptop or table, purchase a stand that will elevate it so you can it at eye level instead of having to look down at it.
This applies to when you are at home as well. Make sure that your couch or chair is far enough away from your TV so that you can look directly at it without straining your neck up or down. When you use your phone, hold it up at eye level instead of looking down at it.
These are all tricks that physical therapist teach their patients to use and that you can use on your own to lessen your chronic neck pain. Using heat and cold therapy on your neck will help relax and rejuvenate your muscles and learning to practice ergonomics will lessen the strain on them.
For more information, contact local professionals like South Shore Wellness Center.