Neck pain can be particularly debilitating. One of the most common and painful types of neck pain is caused by the compression of the discs that are inside of your cervical spine. These soft cushion-like discs help your spine’s vertebrae move without coming into contact with one another, somewhat like shock absorbers. They’re not solid, but in fact filled with a gel-like fluid. When a disc becomes ruptured or herniated, it can move out of place and impinge on the nerves in your spine. In the cervical region, pain in these nerves can be felt throughout your neck, back, shoulder blades, arms, and hands. In effect, nerve pain stemming from your neck may affect different areas of your body and cause significant pain and weakness. You need to treat this type of pain aggressively so that you can get some relief and prevent the symptoms of your injury from worsening over time. Here are some simple but effective things that you can do at home to treat your condition and relieve your pain.
Stay Strong With Supplements
When you’re experiencing pain from a spinal injury in your neck, maintaining good muscle tone and strength may be one of your body’s best defenses. If your neck muscles become weak or easily fatigued, it can greatly exacerbate your nerve pain. Nutrition plays an important role in keeping your muscles healthy. Protein is a core component of building strong muscles and repairing tissue, so you may want to add a protein supplement to your diet if you’re concerned that you’re not eating enough protein every day. In addition, you should considertaking a glucose disposal agent. This type of supplement can enhance muscle strength while also ensuring that the food you eat is optimally digested. It works by helping the carbohydrates that you eat to be stored as glycogen that strengthens muscle rather than being added as content to your body’s fat’s store.
Avoid Motions That Aggravate Your Pain
While it’s important to stay mobile to prevent joint and muscle deterioration, there are some movements that you may be doing that can cause your pain to flare up. Neck pain is commonly made worse by poor posture. The more you let your head drop forward, the heavier it becomes. This problem is sometimes referred to as “heavy head syndrome” and also “tech neck.” Try to avoid frequently looking down or craning your head forwards when you reach for things or type on a keyboard or phone. Don’t look down at your phone for a prolonged period of time; instead, bring your phone or your tablet closer to eye level.
Change Your Sleeping Position
If you’re a side sleeper, you may want to give some thought to switching the position that you sleep in. Sleeping on your back can help your spine stay straighter and more evenly supported. This change can help to alleviate stiffness and compression that may cause further impingement on the nerves in your cervical spine. You should use a pillow that is made from a soft but supportive material. If you can’t get comfortable sleeping on your back or you feel that it actually makes your pain worse, you should reevaluate the pillows that you use to sleep on your side. No matter what, you have to avoid propping your head up in a way that causes misalignment and stiffness. You can try using a rounded pillow that is specially designed for side sleeping. It offers support for your cervical spine but also has a slight dip so that your head can stay in the right position instead of tilting at an upwards angle and straining your neck.
The Main Takeaway
When you’re experiencing chronic neck pain, it’s extremely important to stay engaged with your medical providers. However, you also need to consider what you can do independently to help manage your pain, and you need to be willing to make some lifestyle changes that will promote good spinal health.
Mikkie Mills is a freelance writer and expert in health and fitness. When she isn’t writing she can usually be found reading a good book or hitting the gym.