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Sore Neck Right Now? Tom’s Quick Fixes

We aren’t really all about quick fixes here at Next-Gen but I totally understand how pressing finding some form of instant relief is!

You can’t concentrate at work, the kids are going mad, you would like to go the gym or footy/netball training, a family dinner awaits, you want to relax .. any myriad of life “things” are happening and your neck kills, you’ve got a headache behind your eye and your jaw feels tense.

I don’t tend to get much pain in my life but neck pain and headaches are an on and off frustration for me. It sucks!

While I am fully aware I definitely need to do some big picture stuff to prevent the headache from happening in the first place (get stronger, exercise more, manage my stress, lose a bit of weight etc) none of that really applies in those moments of utter pain and frustration.

So here is my list, 14 things you can try in those moments of neck-related dysphoria. I have provided a more in depth reasoning behind these on our website – check out the link here.

While much of this is backed by scientific evidence, some tips are based on my personal experiences of what helps. These may not work for everyone, but they’re worth trying if you’re really struggling.

Take a 20-Minute Walk While Listening to Calming Music
Why It Helps: Walking increases blood flow, which can help to reduce muscle stiffness and pain. Listening to calming music (I love Ziggy Alberts) can also lower stress levels, which are often linked to tension and pain in the neck.

Rest in a Dark Room for 5-10 Minutes, Focusing Solely on Your Breathing
Why It Helps: Reducing sensory input helps calm the nervous system, reducing overall tension. Focused breathing promotes relaxation and can help ease muscle tension in the neck and shoulders.

Step Away from Stressful Situations
Why It Helps: Stress can exacerbate neck pain by causing you to clench your muscles, particularly around the neck and shoulders. Removing yourself from stress can help prevent this involuntary muscle tension.

Jot Down Your Stressors
Why It Helps: Writing down what’s bothering you can provide a psychological release, lowering stress levels and helping to relax the muscles that may be clenched due to emotional tension.

Consider Over-the-Counter Relief
Why It Helps: Non-prescription pain relievers can reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. Always check with a pharmacist first to ensure it’s safe for you based on your health history.

Apply Voltaren Gel or Fisiocreme
Why It Helps: These topical treatments contain ingredients that can relieve pain through anti-inflammatory properties and by stimulating sensory receptors to reduce the perception of pain.

Follow Along with Targeted Exercises
Why It Helps: Gentle stretching and strengthening exercises can improve mobility, reduce stiffness, and strengthen muscles around the neck, which can help prevent future pain.

Try Self-Massage Techniques
Why It Helps: Massaging can help reduce muscle tension and trigger point pain. It increases circulation to the affected area, which aids in healing and provides relief.

Hydrate with 600ml of Water and a Hydralyte
Why It Helps: Proper hydration helps maintain muscle elasticity and joint lubrication, essential for preventing cramps and reducing tension.

Avoid Erratic Stretching or Sudden Movements
Why It Helps: While gentle stretching can be beneficial, sudden or improper movements might worsen neck pain or lead to injury.

Use a Heat Pack
Why It Helps: Heat therapy helps to relax and loosen tight muscles and increase blood flow, which aids in healing sore and stiff muscles.

Review and Improve Your Workstation Setup
Why It Helps: An ergonomically optimised workstation reduces strain on your neck and shoulders, preventing muscle fatigue and discomfort.

Try a Can of Coke, a Banana, and Something Salty
Why It Helps: This combination of caffeine, potassium, and sodium can help some people manage headaches or migraines that often accompany neck pain. It’s a bit controversial but can be effective for short-term relief.

Reassess Your Pillow
Why It Helps: Using the right pillow can keep your neck in a neutral alignment during sleep, preventing strain and discomfort. If your pillow is not supportive, it might contribute to your pain.

**If you don’t see improvement within 24 hours, consider scheduling an appointment with one of our physiotherapists or massage therapists for professional treatment:**

  • Book a therapeutic massage.
  • Explore dry needling options.

Wishing you speedy relief and better days ahead!

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