If you have chronic neck pain, you have probably tried common treatments like ice, heating pads, or medications, which do not always offer significant relief. The best treatment plan for chronic pain involves a combination of interventions and usually requires trial and error before finding what works for you. Sometimes general surgery Englewood is an option, especially if the pain is disabling and does not respond to nonsurgical treatments. Below are examples of lesser-known tips for managing long-term neck pain.
Try a water pillow
Chronic pain can make it difficult to enjoy a good night’s sleep and can worsen when you wake up. As such, you want to choose a good pillow with the appropriate thickness. No one pillow works best for everyone with neck pain, but some people find water pillows to be helpful since they allow you to adjust the firmness by increasing or reducing the amount of water inside. More water makes the pillow firmer, while less water means a softer pillow. If you have tried traditional neck pillows and braces to no avail, water pillows may be worth considering.
Choose a chair with neck support
If you need to sit for an extended time, consider a chair with a headrest to keep your cervical spine in neutral alignment. Don’t hunch forward; instead, rest the back of your head comfortably against the headrest. You also want to use the headrest on your recliner or in your car. If you spend much time working at your computer, ensure that your eyes level is even with the top third of the monitor. Alternatively, use a standing desk since it leads to a more natural position and dissuades you from hunching forward.
Go for physical therapy
It is a common belief that physical therapy is a rehabilitation treatment that benefits patients recovering from an injury. Although true, physical therapy can help you identify and correct poor posture or habits that may cause a sore and stiff neck. Physical therapy also teaches you how to reduce your risk of re-injury and uses targeted exercises to strengthen weak areas of your neck. However, before starting any therapy program, check with your doctor to know if physical therapy can improve your chronic neck pain. Many people report improved neck strength and flexibility after a couple of physical therapy sessions; this may help better support the cervical spine and minimize pain. Some studies show that the benefits are more when physical therapy is combined with other treatments like aerobic activities.
The buoyancy in the water takes the pressure off your spine; this makes swimming a great, low-impact exercise if you have neck or back pain. Like any other exercise, it is best to consult your doctor about which swimming strokes you need to avoid or modify. Talking to your healthcare provider is important because some neck pains may worsen with certain activities. While many people with neck and back pain find swimming helpful, for some, it can be strenuous on the neck.
To learn more about managing chronic neck pain, consult your doctor at Coast Neurosurgical Associates.