Neck pain is one of the most common conditions that we treat at Barefoot. While there are sometimes acute or traumatic injuries (such as whiplash from a car accident) that can cause neck pain, far more common is pain caused by accumulative strain.
This essentially means a variety of contributing factors such as posture (think time in front of the computer or looking down at your phone), sleeping position, stress and even exercise have built up over time, which is why it can sometimes feel like the pain has come out of nowhere.
While its important address these factors for long-term prevention, there are some other more immediate things you can do when you find yourself suffering with neck pain.
- Find a position of comfort.
While there are likely a lot of positions or movements that are painful, there is often at least one position that is comfortable for your neck. These positions will likely be where your head is in neutral (ie looking straight ahead). You may even find lying down is best, as it takes the load of gravity off. Do your best to find a few of these comfortable positions. You don’t want to be completely still, so try to change between your comfy postures every 20-30 minutes.
- Gentle movement
Similar to not staying in the same position all the time, you want to gently move your neck as much as you can without bringing on or increasing your pain. Gentle, pain-free movement helps remind your brain that your neck is not in danger and that it can move!
It can be helpful to do this when your neck is warm. For example, after using a hot pack or when you are in a warm shower.
- Muscle releases
Most neck pain is caused by a build-up of strain. Using muscle releases to decrease the overall strain on the body is a good way to help settle your neck down. While it might seem odd, there is a link between the jaw and neck, so we find jaw releases are often helpful for people with neck pain (although every body is different!)
There are 2 major muscle groups in the jaw that you can self release. Using your finger(s), move around the jaw muscles near where the jaw opens in front of the ear.
Aim to find a spot in the muscle where your fingers feel like they are pushing against resistance. This could feel firm like a “knot” or “band” in the muscle. For a more specific release, you can place your thumb on the inside of your mouth and the fingers on the outside. Your thumb is on the outside of your teeth (but inside your mouth) and your mouth is relaxed and closed.
Squeeze the jaw muscles in between your thumb & fingers. Hold each spot for 30 seconds.
Aim to find 2-3 spots per muscle group (minimum 1-2 mins per muscle total)
If you are experiencing neck pain, please feel free to get in touch with us! We can help work out a personalised plan to get your neck moving and feeling great again.