Overcoming Neck & Shoulder Pain: Causes! How to Cope – Treatment & Self-Help Strategies
Are you one of the many thousand people whom suffer with debilitating neck and shoulder pain? Overcoming neck and shoulder pain begins by understanding the causes and learning how to cope with self-help strategies that will improve and prevent neck and shoulder pain, that also often leads to headaches and migraines. You will find learning how to cope better with stress, taking regular breaks, improving your posture, implementing stretching and regular exercise to improve blood flow are all important for managing this problem effectively.
During my years of practice as a Massage Therapist two of the most common areas that caused my clients a great deal of discomfort and pain was Neck and Shoulder problems. Let me help you by going through the common causes and what are the best ways for you to deal with them.
You have a nine to five job or even longer, sitting at a computer all day. Then the chances of your suffering from annoying neck and shoulder pain are very high. Obviously this isn’t the only career that causes these problems. Some of the more common causes range from emotional stress. distressing situations, trauma, birth defects, injuries and manual labour. Full time carers are among the many whom also suffer from neck and shoulder pain, not just because of any physical labour, but the emotional responsibility as emotional stress is carried within the shoulders and neck areas.
Symptoms may vary from mild to severe with pain being from headaches, lower back pain, hand pain to maybe even some loss of movement within your arms. Tightness and stiffness in the shoulder region, difficulty moving your neck and sometimes lifting your arms.
- Stress and Distressful times: Feeling that things are all going wrong, with no real resolution. Taking on more than we are able to handle. Lack of sleep leads to us feeling more stressed about our situation. Not eating properly also leads to stress. Learn more: How to cope with Stress.
- Infection: Often if your glands are swollen in your neck area this may well be a viral infection. In this case things such as garlic, ginger, lemon juice and herbs such as echinacea will be helpful. Including rest and lots of water.
- Constant or Overuse of a muscle or tendon: This is quite common when playing sport. It is important here to remember to always warm up and cool down effectively with stretching exercises. So stretch the muscles and tendons, this includes your neck, shoulders, arms and legs. You could also include a gentle jog on the spot before and after your sport event. Moving only seems to aggravate the problem causing further pain and discomfort..
- Poor Posture – while you are sitting or walking. Leaning over instead of holding your head and shoulders high
- Poor Sleeping position – it may be that your mattress or pillows aren’t providing your body with the correct alignment and causing your problems.
- Injury or trauma to neck or shoulder area
- Prolonged activities that force you to crane your neck such as working on a computer, manual work such as painting, lifting and bending
- Carrying heavy items – shoulder bags, ladders or heavy equipment
- Grinding your teeth
- Wearing heavy necklaces
- Congenital problems such as scoliosis, osteoporosis, curvature of the spine
Problem with Medicated Crèmes & Conventional Treatment
Many of the medicated crèmes are purely chemically based will give little to no real time pain relief not to mention skin irritation and unwanted side effects from the crème being absorbed into our bloodstream. The safest is to use pure essential oils such as lavender, eucalyptus and chamomile. The conventional way of treatment used such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs are what are most commonly prescribed. However, as with most medications there are unfavourable side effects, especially when taken over a long period of time. Probably even worse still their effect diminishes very quickly, as our body overrides the medication in an attempt to correct the problem.
Preferred Treatments, Self-help and Prevention!
- Correcting Your Posture: Ensuring that you have correct posture whether sitting or walking is vital to prevent problems with your neck, shoulders and back pain. When doing manual and physical work ensure both correct posture and also lifting as well.
- Hot and cold compresses: alternating with hot and cold compresses for 20 minutes several times a day.
- Warm bath: Either in the morning before work or at the end of the day: Maybe even both add ½ cup of Epsom salts and a couple of drops of lavender oil and RELAX
- Stretching and Rotating: Throughout the day you will find it helpful to stretch your neck and shoulder area with firm but gentle stretches. Rotating your shoulders both clockwise and anti- clockwise is helpful
- Massage: If you suffer constantly with this problem, one of the best ways to keep at bay, whilst incorporating the above support, is to have regular professional massage treatments. This is especially beneficial if you have a pinched nerve that is causing the problems. Massage will serve you in two ways as a preventive and also as a treatment. Assists with reducing inflammation, bringing movement back to the joint or area. Whilst helping to reduce swelling. However if there is swelling massage should be gentle not deep tissue.
- Chiropractic – If you are suffering from a congenital problem it will also help to combine regular Chiropractic treatments together with regular Massage Treatments.
- Lifestyle and Dietary Changes – As with any condition a healthy lifestyle combining regular exercise such as walking, swimming and yoga will provide extra support and prevention for any further problems. Together with a Healthy diet to ensure that you body is getting adequate nutrition from eating fresh wholesome foods. Eliminating habits that will add to your pain and health problems such as smoking, drinking of soft drinks, excessive amounts of alcohol, processed, packaged and fast foods will all add to the problem and also cause future health problems.
Read Next: Alkalize your Body to Prevent or Improve Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a major cause of neck and shoulder problems, by changing your diet to eating alkalizing foods this will help to prevent and also improve the symptoms of Osteoporosis. Click on Image Below to Learn more
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