Pain in the neck happens to be the fourth leading cause of disability globally, lagging behind ischemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, and lower respiratory infection. Neck pain can interfere with daily life, including the ability to feel productive, sleep, and enjoy time with family. It is a common occurrence among the working population usually engaged in tech jobs or desk jobs.
Srikanth H.S, Sr. Naturopath, Jindal Naturecure Institute, points out that there are several factors that can result in neck pain like stress, poor posture, obesity, muscle inflammation, arthritis, and injuries.
“The best way to deal with neck pain is to minimize it in the first place. Naturopathy offers safe and effective alternatives to deal with neck pain without falling prey to the side-effects of pharmaceutical drugs. Blending in the goodness of natural therapies like yoga, massage, herbs, and acupuncture, along with lifestyle modifications, naturopathy can bring huge relief from neck pain,” he says.
Risks of Neck Pain
The expert says: “The common causes of neck pain are muscle strain and nerve compression. However, the symptoms alone cannot indicate which one of these is occurring. Muscle strain usually results from poor posture, repeated lifting, sleep, stress, or anxiety. Nerve compression can occur when a disc in the spine slips out of its position and pinches or presses the nerves, or when the tissues in the neck get inflamed or swollen causing the nerves in the area to get squeezed. Whatever the cause, ongoing chronic neck pain shouldn’t be neglected as it can lead to a lifetime of disability or even permanent damage.”
He suggests naturopathy ways to treat neck pain:
The ancient art of yoga has been demonstrated to help people with chronic pain including neck pain. Studies have shown that yoga asanas help to reduce pain perception, improves mobility, and decrease inflammation. Even 15 to 20 minutes of yoga exercises a day can relax the body, stretch the muscles, increase blood circulation, and minimize the chances of neck pain. Some of the common yoga asanas which can be practiced for neck pain are Marjariasana (Cat Pose), Bitilasana (Cow Pose), Balasana (Child’s Pose), Natarajasana (Reclining Twist Pose), Viparita Karani (Legs up the wall pose), and Savasana (Corpse Pose).
Several studies have pointed out that massage therapy can offer relief from neck pain and improve range of motion when performed by qualified professionals. Massage therapy usually involves the use of the hands to manipulate soft tissues, like the tendons and muscles, increase blood circulation, and reduce muscle tension. It helps to ease up the sore, numb and stiff muscles in the spinal area and neck region.
Herbal treatments have been used for ages to treat pains of different sorts. Herbal remedies can be sipped like tea, infused in the bathwater, used as an oil, or inhaled as aromatherapy. Devil’s Claw is a popular herb that can substantially reduce neck pain and even improve physical functioning in osteoarthritis patients. Other than that, Lavender, Kudzu, and St. John’s Wort are some of the most popular herbs that help relieve neck pain and lower back pain. For maximum effects, these herbs should be taken under the guidance of expert professionals.
Acupuncture is a thousand of years old technique that involves pricks in the skin with needles at specific points on the body. The frequency and duration of acupuncture sessions may depend on how long the neck pain has already lasted, and also severity of the symptoms. Some studies have revealed that acupuncture can stimulate biochemical changes both locally (where the needles are placed) and in the central nervous system. These biochemical changes may help to bring pain relief and other beneficial effects in some cases.
Lifestyle modifications play a significant role in the management of neck aches and stiffness. Practicing good posture while at work or home should be a key priority for those suffering from neck pain. Getting good sleep and maintaining the spine in a comfortable position throughout the night, regular neck exercises, and taking breaks in between work and stretching are some of the ways to reduce strain on the neck and keep it relaxed.