Published on: 25/01/2024
Cervicalgia causes mobility problems and can decrease the quality of life. However, it is possible to find pain relief
Acute pain, sometimes so intense that it prevents movement: cervicalgia is a fairly common problem. This article will explore 5 effective remedies to relieve neck pain, emphasizing the importance of consulting a doctor to understand and address the underlying cause when possible.
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We will explore traditional remedies and drug therapies to alleviate neck pain, as well as prevention strategies and alternative remedies. This includes a natural substance, CBD, which medical research increasingly suggests has promising benefits.
Neck pain: what can it be caused by?
Neck pain, or cervicalgia, is a common musculoskeletal disorder. It is characterized by pain in the back of the neck. It is a condition that not only limits mobility and affects the quality of daily life, but can also be a wake-up call for more serious conditions.
Cervicalgia can present in different forms and intensities. Some patients describe constant pain, while others experience pain that varies in intensity and may radiate to other areas of the body, such as the shoulders, arms, and even the head. In addition to pain, symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, or tingling may be present.
The causes of cervicalgia are multifactorial, ranging from poor posture and a sedentary lifestyle to stress. In some cases, it may indicate more complex conditions like herniated discs or arthritis.
One of the main causes of neck pain is, as mentioned, poor posture, especially in prolonged sedentary situations such as working at a computer or driving for long periods. Excessive use of electronic devices, especially smartphones and tablets, can lead to ‘text neck.’ This condition, characterized by prolonged forward bending of the neck, causes tension and pain.
Aging and natural wear and tear can trigger cervicalgia, particularly in cervical arthritis conditions, where the wear and tear of time can lead to degeneration of the cervical vertebrae and joints. Another trigger may be dental malocclusion.
Injuries, such as those sustained during sports or motor vehicle accidents, can also cause direct trauma to the neck, as can certain medical conditions (cervical disc herniations, spinal stenosis, muscle disorders etc.).
Stress and emotional tension are often underestimated causes of neck pain. Stress, in particular, can cause involuntary contraction of neck muscles, leading to chronic tension and pain.
5 remedies and practices to counteract neck pain
To treat neck pain, using specific medications can provide immediate relief and help control the most bothersome symptoms. Drug therapy for neck pain is mainly based on the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and muscle relaxants, two categories that act on different aspects of pain.
NSAIDs, such as Ibuprofen, Naproxen, Diclofenac, and Acetylsalicylic Acid, are widely prescribed for their anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. These drugs act directly on inflammation, a common cause of neck pain, and offer significant relief from discomfort. However, it’s important not to overlook possible contraindications and side effects associated with their prolonged use, such as gastrointestinal or cardiovascular problems.
Parallel to NSAIDs, muscle relaxants, such as Diazepam, are used in the treatment of neck pain, especially in those cases where muscle tension is a predominant factor. These drugs work by relaxing contracted and tense muscles, thus reducing pain and improving mobility. This type of medication should be used only under medical supervision: the risk of developing dependence is high, and use should be monitored consistently.
Thus, the use of medications can offer quick relief from neck pain symptoms, but they should be used as part of a broader treatment plan that includes physical therapies and lifestyle modifications. The choice of the most appropriate medication should always be tailored to the specific needs of the patient and under the guidance of a trained physician, a specialist who can accurately identify the causes of neck pain.
Alternatives to medications: creams, ointments, Epsom salts
In addition to drug treatments and physical therapies, there are several alternatives that can offer relief and support in managing this condition. These remedies, often part of holistic practices, can be integrated into a personalized treatment plan.
One of the most popular alternative remedies is the use of creams and ointments made from arnica, a plant known for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Arnica creams, often enriched with other ingredients such as camphor or rosemary oil, can be applied locally to reduce pain and muscle inflammation.
Another alternative approach involves baths with Epsom salts. Rich in magnesium sulfate, these help relax tight muscles and can be helpful in reducing the stress and muscle tension that often accompany neck pain. However, any contraindications related to cardiovascular health should be considered before using them.
Apple cider vinegar, traditionally valued for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, can be used externally as a compress or added to bath water for a relaxing effect.
Practice yoga and exercise
Regular exercise, particularly exercise that strengthens neck and shoulder muscles, is equally important because it can prevent neck pain. Stretching and strengthening exercises improve flexibility, reduce tension, and increase the strength of the neck muscles. As with any exercise program, it’s advisable to seek professional guidance before starting yoga or specific neck and shoulder exercises.
Sometimes, neck pain can be caused by stress. Addressing stress through relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, or breathing exercises can also be beneficial. These practices are recommended not only for their relaxing effect on neck and shoulder muscles but also for their positive impact on mental tension, factors that can aggravate neck pain.
Before using any of these products or beginning a yoga practice, it is a good idea to consult a healthcare professional to ensure that they are appropriate and safe for your health condition.
Prevent neck pain
Preventing neck pain involves more than just treating symptoms. Adopting a lifestyle that includes certain precautions can reduce the risk of developing cervicalgia.
A key element in prevention, as mentioned above, is taking care of posture. Poor posture, especially when sitting at a desk or driving, can cause tension and stress in the neck muscles. Maintaining a straight back, relaxed shoulders, and keeping the computer at eye level can prevent unnatural neck positions. An ergonomic chair that supports the spine’s natural curvature can also be greatly beneficial.
Choosing the right pillow for sleeping is another important aspect that should not be underestimated. An orthopedic pillow helps maintain the neck in a neutral position, potentially preventing muscle tension.
Finally, it is advised to avoid carrying heavy loads during the acute phase of neck pain. Also, using the telephone while holding it between the shoulder and ear should be avoided, as such behaviors can cause muscle imbalance and increase the risk of neck pain.
A holistic approach, which includes correct posture, ergonomics, regular exercise, stress management, and the careful selection of pillows and chairs, can be effective in preventing neck pain. Remember, however, that it is always advisable to consult one or more professionals for any significant lifestyle changes or specific concerns.
CBD to counter pain
The use of CBD (cannabidiol) to treat chronic neck pain (cervicalgia) is gaining attention due to its potential benefits in pain management. Several studies, including one published in Pub Med, are investigating its possible applications in combating neck pain.
Specifically, CBD, a nonpsychoactive compound found in legal cannabis, may interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, regulating pain signals and reducing inflammation.
These properties can offer relief from chronic neck pain, often associated with muscle tension, overexertion, injury, or conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and spondylosis. In countries where it is legal, the use of cannabidiol-based topical products such as CBD oil, balms, or creams is quite widespread due to their ability to relieve stiffness and pain without psychoactive effects. It’s important to note that in some countries, the consumption of CBD is prohibited, sometimes with except to pharmaceutical preparations approved by authorities, prescribed for specific pathologies.
Cervicalgia: when to consult a physician
Consulting a physician for neck pain should not be seen as optional, but rather as essential for proper treatment and prevention of possible complications.
It is advisable to seek medical attention if neck pain persists for more than a week. Pain that does not subside with rest or conventional remedies may indicate a more serious underlying problem.
Rapidly worsening neck pain or pain accompanied by symptoms such as arm or leg weakness, difficulty walking, loss of bladder or bowel control, or numbness and tingling are causes for concern. These may be signs of neurological conditions that require immediate attention.
If neck pain results from trauma, such as a car accident or fall, a medical evaluation is necessary to rule out fractures or other serious injuries.
Additionally, neck pain accompanied by fever, headache, neck stiffness, or sensitivity to light could be a symptom of an infection or inflammatory condition like meningitis and should be evaluated immediately.
Lastly, if pain interferes with daily activities such as sleeping, working, or driving, seeking medical advice is crucial to assess the severity of the problem and discuss the most effective treatment options.
While many cases of neck pain can be managed with home remedies and lifestyle changes, a medical consultation is always essential, especially if symptoms are persistent, severe, or accompanied by warning signs. An early approach can help resolve or alleviate the problem, benefiting the patient’s overall health and well-being.
An immediate approach to neck pain is essential, considering both its causes and various treatment methods. It’s critical to understand the origins of pain, which can range from poor posture to complex medical conditions, in order to adopt the most effective treatment and prevention strategies.
We have explored five effective remedies for this troublesome condition, encompassing pharmacological treatments, natural remedies, and alternative therapies such as meditation and the use of arnica creams, not to mention cannabidiol products (where their use is permissible). Choosing the most appropriate treatment should be individualized, based on personal needs and under a specialist’s guidance.
Preventative measures are key in managing neck pain. Adopting correct posture, engaging in regular exercise, and managing stress are all essential in reducing the risk of developing or aggravating neck pain.
Consulting a specialized physician for persistent or severe symptoms is the best course of action. A timely approach can prevent future complications and reduce the persistence of neck pain.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and muscle relaxants are common options for treating neck pain. However, they should be used with caution and under medical supervision due to potential side effects and contraindications.
- Arnica creams, Epsom salt baths, and the use of apple cider vinegar can provide relief from neck pain as complementary options to drug treatments.
- Regular exercise, particularly exercises that strengthen neck and shoulder muscles, along with practices such as yoga and meditation, can help improve flexibility, reduce muscle tension, and manage stress, thus helping to prevent neck pain.
- Maintaining good posture, using orthopedic pillows during sleep, and avoiding excessive heavy lifting are important preventive measures to reduce the risk of developing cervicalgia.
- Cannabidiol (CBD) is emerging as a possible treatment for chronic neck pain. Studies indicate that CBD may help reduce inflammation and pain associated with muscle tension, but its use is limited to countries where it is legal and should be discussed with a physician.
What are the causes of neck pain?
Neck pain can be caused by several conditions, including poor posture, a sedentary lifestyle, stress, herniated discs, arthritis, aging, injury, and emotional tension.
What remedies exist for the treatment of cervicalgia?
There are several remedies for treating neck pain, including specific medications, alternative remedies such as creams and ointments, exercise, and prevention through good posture and stress management.
Can CBD help in the treatment of neck pain?
The use of CBD (cannabidiol) in the treatment of neck pain is gaining attention due to its potential benefits in chronic pain management. However, it is important to note that CBD use may be regulated and banned in some countries. Consulting a physician is recommended before using CBD to treat neck pain.