9 Lesser-Known Tips for Easing Neck Pain

When common non-surgical treatments like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), chiropractic care, neck exercises, or even surgery haven’t provided effective relief of neck pain, patients often get creative and identify simple yet unique techniques they do on their own.

I've compiled some suggestions that have worked for our forum members who certainly know what it's like to deal with neck pain on a daily basis.

Diagram of the Cervical Spine
Neck pain may be the result of a simple injury, such as a muscle strain, or as a result of something more complex, such as a cervical herniated disc.
  1. Take a swim
    Many forum members note the therapeutic effects that swimming has on back and neck pain. Swimming reduces inflammation, provides quick pain relief, and allows for unrestricted movements. Try the following movements:
    • Submerge into the water until the level is up to your neck. Slowly ease into gentle exercises.
    • Now, squat until the water reaches your chin, and then move back and forth and to the right and to the left.
    If you do not own a pool or can't get to a community pool in the summers or an indoor pool in the winters, take a bath every night to gain a similar therapeutic benefit.
  2. Use a water pillow
    Continuing on this "water" theme, some patients note the rejuvenating effects of water pillows that allow patients to dictate the firmness of their pillow. Specifically, more water equals a firmer pillow; less water provides a softer pillow.

    Various water pillow products are available on the market and may be worth considering for patients who have tried more traditional neck pillows and braces to no avail.

  3. Consider melatonin sleeping aids
    Even the greatest pillow may not help when neck pain interferes with sleeping. Various supplements that stimulate the hormone melatonin (which is highest prior to bedtime) have helped forum members overcome insomnia.

    The supplement allows them to get some much-needed quality restorative sleep, which encourages the healing process.

    Of course, when considering supplements, it's important to do your own research and speak with a trusted medical professional about the benefits and risks involved.

  4. Focus on magnesium intake
    Many cases of neck pain are the result of muscle strains or sprains. Ask your doctor or a nutritionist about adding magnesium-rich foods or a magnesium supplement to your diet.

    Magnesium is an essential mineral that helps contract and relax muscles, and a supplement may help you avoid neck muscle pain.

    Magnesium is found in certain fruits, vegetables, nuts, peas, beans, soy products and whole grains. You can also absorb magnesium by soaking in an epsom salt bath. Some forum members note how magnesium reduces muscle tightness in their neck.

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  1. Learn more about acupuncture
    Acupuncture provides varying degrees of neck pain relief for forum members. Some people swear by its effectiveness, while others note success about half of the time. Others get no relief from acupuncture.

    One forum member raised the interesting point that the efficacy of acupuncture and deep tissue massage often depends on the skills of the practitioner, making it important for patients to research these treatment methods and to really understand how to identify a skilled professional.

  2. Get a remedial massage
    Some forum members champion remedial massage for neck pain relief. But what's the difference between a regular massage and a remedial massage?

    During a remedial massage, oil is applied to and massaged into the skin, with the purpose of penetrating the muscles and joints, removing toxins in the muscles, and ultimately relaxing the muscles and improving joint mobility.

  3. Relax via holistic treatments
    Stress can exacerbate neck pain. Holistic treatments like aromatherapy (during which essential oils are used for relaxation and mood improvement), meditative music, candlelight, etc. may be used to soothe and clear you of neck pain.

    One chronic neck pain sufferer has experienced so much pain relief from holistic treatments that he now has made such therapy a nightly ritual.

  4. Avoid situations that trigger neck pain
    Other forum members note how limiting instances that spur and exacerbate neck pain has helped them achieve relief. They try to avoid activities like sitting at a computer for long periods of time, driving, heavy lifting, and other activities that require heavy use of the arms.

    If you can't limit some of these actions, try modifying them. For example, bring the steering wheel as low as possible and put a towel behind your neck when driving.

  5. Strategically place ice on certain areas of the body
    Neck pain may also be joined by nagging headaches and numbness and tingling in the back of the head, neck, shoulders and hands.

    Some forum members suggest putting ice on different areas of the body (between the thumb and index finger, on the bone 1.5-2 inches behind the ear, on the indent between the middle of the eyebrow) to help achieve relief from such symptoms.

    One creative forum member noted using a headband to secure the ice in these different spots and on the temple.

Consider joining our Free Spine-health Neck Pain Forum Community to share and gain additional tips.

These unconventional tips for relieving neck pain have worked for others. I hope that some of them may work for you too, or help inspire new ideas that will. Please leave a comment on our Facebook page to let us know.

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