Struggling with neck pain? You’re not alone. In fact, 20 percent of people have experienced neck pain in the past three months.
Now that digital devices play a key role in our personal and professional lives, our necks are bound to be negatively affected.
The neck becomes stiff and sore from subpar posture, and when muscles are strained or misused.
Thankfully, the condition is often treatable. Most of the time, neck pain can be treated effectively at home.
Read on for a comprehensive list of the top 16 natural remedies for neck pain. With these tried-and-true tips, we’ll have you feeling better in no time.
1. Evaluate Your Sleep Position
We spend one-third of our lives sleeping, so it’s understandable that poor sleep habits can wreak havoc on our necks. If you’re a stomach sleeper, try switching to your side or back. Snoozing on the belly can cause strain, as the neck is forced to one side for long periods of time. Switching positions can greatly reduce neck aches and other body pains.
2. Apply Ice
When you first notice stiffness or soreness in the neck, try applying ice to the affected area. The Cleveland Clinic recommends applying ice periodically for the first 48 to 72 hours before switching to heat.
3. Apply Heat
If neck pain persists, apply heat to the stiff or sore area periodically throughout the day. Try applying a heating pad, hot compress, or taking a hot shower.
4. Try Hydrotherapy
For this simple and effective technique, you’ll just need a shower. Let warm water flow on the affected area of the neck for 3 to 4 minutes, then let cold water flow onto the area for 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat several times.
Tip: Look straight ahead for best results.
There are various stretches you can do to alleviate persistent neck pain:
- Try sitting in a chair while holding onto the seat and leaning in the opposite direction until you feel the stretch in the neck.
- Next, hold onto the chair and lean, as before, but this time, stare at the ceiling.
- To stretch the back of the neck, repeat the previous stretch while looking down at the floor.
- Be sure to repeat these stretches on each side for maximum benefits.
- You can also roll the neck gently, bring the shoulders to the ears, and look from side to side or up and down to ease soreness and stiffness.
6. Get a Massage
Whether it’s a professional massage therapist or your partner, treating yourself to a massage can improve neck pain and soreness. Make your partner or therapist aware of any areas that feel stiff or painful, as he or she may need to adjust the pressure.
Tip: Check out this article on self massaging with a tennis ball!
7. Try an Herbal Remedy
There are many herbal supplements that are regularly used to alleviate neck pain. These include the following:
- Devil’s Claw: Studies show that this supplement relieves pain. com notes one study that found the herb to be just as effective as anti-inflammatory pain medication in prescription form.
- Lavender: Combined with massage therapy, lavender oil can relieve neck ailments and various other body aches and pains.
- John’s Wort: Known for relieving nerve pain, this herbal supplement can help ease aches and soreness, as well as many other health conditions.
- Menthol and Camphor: When rubbing these herbs on the skin, you’ll begin to feel a warm or cool sensation. These popular ingredients can be found in over-the-counter medications, such as Icy Hot and Ben Gay.
- Kudzu: Excellent for inflammation, Kudzu is regularly used in Chinese medicine.
8. Take Your Vitamins
Believe it or not, taking your vitamins regularly can help with pesky neck pain. The following vitamins can make a big difference:
- Vitamin C: A 2011 study showed that this supplement can alleviate persistent pain.
- Vitamin B: This vitamin helps reduces both inflammation and pain, researchers
- Vitamin D: When the body is low on this vitamin, it tends to develop chronic pain, including joint pain.
Because many of the above herbal supplements and vitamins can interact with over-the-counter and prescription medications, always check with your physician before taking any supplement.
9. Apply Apple Cider Vinegar
To alleviate neck pain quickly, try applying trusty apple cider vinegar. Simply soak a paper towel in the liquid and place it on the area of the neck that is affected. Leave the towel on for up to 2 hours for best results. You can also add 2 cups to a warm bath for relief. Repeat periodically until neck pain subsides.
10. Try Yoga
Along with influencing our mental and emotional health, stress affects us physically as well. The following poses will help to alleviate stress and can ease neck pain:
- Child’s Pose: Sit on the hands and knees, and keep your big toes together as you spread the knees wide. Breathe in while sitting up straight, then exhale and bring your torso between your thighs. Extend arms out in front of you with your palms facing down.
- Cow Pose: Sit on your knees and bring your wrists directly below the shoulders. Your knees should be in line with your hips. Spread the knees hip-width apart. Inhale as your stomach falls towards the floor or mat. Now gently look up to the sky. In this position, bring your shoulders away from the ears.
- Cat Pose: From cow pose, breathe in and bring your belly into a neutral position. Now, round your back (like a cat) and look towards the floor with the chin away from the chest. For maximum results, alternate between the cow and cat poses 10-15 times.
- Corpse Pose: Lie on the back. Legs should be straight and arms should be outstretched and relaxed at your sides. Relax the body by releasing each part, one area at a time, from your toes to the top of your head. De-stress and enjoy a quiet moment.
11. Give Pilates a Go
To stretch the neck and spine, we recommend trying a Pilates workout. Pilates helps to increase spine and neck strength. Plus, it’s a great full-body workout. You’ll leave feeling stronger than ever before.
Note: If possible, try taking a Pilates or yoga class with a certified instructor. He or she will let you know if your body is out of alignment.
12. Go Swimming
Getting into the pool can be an excellent way to alleviate pain and pressure. Be sure the water is covering your neck, and move through the water, making sure not to jar the neck and head. You may also try moving from side to side, or do a stroke that doesn’t require twisting the neck. Note: Warm swimming pools are best for alleviating neck pain.
13. Look into Alternative Therapies
When it’s time to seek outside help, you may consider contacting a chiropractor. These physicians can ensure your neck and body are in proper alignment.
Some folks may need acupuncture treatments, which can reduce neck inflammation and pain. Physical therapy can also help these symptoms by strengthening weak areas and determining causes of pain.
14. Try an Epsom Salt Bath
To ease stress and pain, fill a bathtub with warm water and add 1 to 2 cups of Epsom salt. Soak and relax for 10 to 15 minutes to reduce aches, pains, and muscle tension. Repeat daily until symptoms subside.
15. Pick a New Pillow
Along with changing your sleep position, consider picking up a new pillow that will properly support the head and neck. Remember… sleeping on the back is best for alignment and weight distribution.
Tip: Check out our article on the best pillows for neck pain.
16. Consider a New Mattress
If your mattress is past its expiration date, it’s time to treat yourself to a new, firmer version. A firm mattress helps the entire body to stay in proper alignment. We recommend testing mattresses in person before buying.
Note: Most mattresses should be replaced every 5 to 10 years depending on quality, as well as your sleep habits.
When to See a Doctor
If the above natural remedies don’t alleviate your neck pain or discomfort, don’t hesitate to contact your physician. Your quality of life is important, and neck pain can severely impair daily life. Neck pain can be caused by a variety of triggers, including:
- Common infections and viruses (swollen lymph nodes)
- Pinched nerves
- Poor sleep habits
- Degenerative disk disease
How to Prevent Neck Aches and Pains
While there are many natural remedies for neck pain, there are several ways to avoid it. To keep neck pain at bay, we recommend the following:
- Move regularly: If you are sedentary and/or work at a computer screen, be sure to move and stretch throughout the day. If you need a reminder to move, set an hourly alarm on your phone, or ask a coworker to take a lap around the building each hour.
- Check your posture: If you slump in your chair for the majority of your day, your neck is bound to protest. Regularly check-in to ensure your posture is on the mark.
- Watch your weight: Excess weight can put strain on the body, including the neck. Maintain a balanced diet and be sure to schedule daily movement.
- Drink plenty of water: Our bodies are made up of approximately 65 percent water. Keep the body hydrated to ensure the spinal discs are well lubricated by drinking plenty of fluids each
- Don’t cradle your phone: If you have a tendency to cradle your phone while you chat, consider changing positions. In addition, it’s best to hold your phone higher in front of the body when texting to reduce neck and back pain and strain. Whether you’re texting or talking, be sure to take regular breaks to stretch.
- Use your headrest: If your office chair doesn’t have a headrest, consider purchasing one that does. Also, be sure to use the headrests on lounge chairs and in the car.
- Don’t stress: Emotional stress can make neck muscles tighten. Practicing yoga or meditation regularly can help manage stress.
We understand how frustrating neck pain can be, so we’re passionate about helping you get to the root of the problem and find a natural solution. We hope the above tips and tricks help to alleviate your pain.