Neck pain can be a real, well, pain in the neck!
Not to worry. You can heal your neck pain naturally with the right therapies and tips. At Wellnest Denver Acupuncture, we help people like you overcome neck pain and get back to their active lives with ease.
Let’s learn more about why we get neck pain and five easy ways to find neck pain relief!
What Causes Neck Pain?
In Chinese medicine, pain is never ignored or brushed off – even when minor or fleeting. Pain is a valuable message from the body. It alerts us that something is off, and we need to pay closer attention to our health.
To successfully relieve neck pain, we always consider the underlying causes:
1. Musculoskeletal Issues
It’s no surprise that issues like osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, or spinal stenosis cause neck pain. Changes in the structure of the cervical spine (the neck) put pressure on the muscles, tendons, and nerves. Bone spurs or narrowing spinal passageways irritate the nerves, causing inflammation and irritation. As a call for help, the neck screams out in pain.
Of course, neck pain also happens after an injury or a strain. At Wellnest Denver Acupuncture, we often see this type of neck pain in our busy athletes. With the neck’s delicate and complex musculature, even the slightest jerk of your head during training can be enough to make you ache for days.
3. Daily Habits
Some of the most common causes of neck pain are related to daily activities: poor posture, sleeping position, and working at a desk for too long.
While these issues cause temporary neck pain (the kind that lasts a day or two),,they can lead to more serious issues with your neck over time. You may lose function or range of motion. Poor posture or a sedentary lifestyle blocks a healthy flow of qi and blood through your neck and head. Chronic muscle tension, nerve pain, and even structural changes occur in the neck and spine.
4. Stress Levels
Physical issues aren’t the only things that can cause neck pain. Stress is one of the biggest reasons we suffer from chronic or recurring neck pain. Other mind-body conditions like anxiety, depression, and fibromyalgia also cause neck pain.
When you’re stressed, it’s natural to tighten your shoulders, tense your muscles, and “brace” yourself. This response is helpful if we need to respond to a physical threat. But, it’s less helpful when responding to stressful emails or a cranky child. Unfortunately, these minor stressors happen all day long, which means your neck and shoulders stay in this stressed, tense position for hours each day.
With acupuncture and other Chinese medicine techniques, we can help you relieve your neck pain and grow more resilient to everyday stress.
Have you ever noticed that your neck and upper back feel achy right at the onset of a cold? In some cases, neck pain is a subtle sign that you’re coming down with something.
In Chinese medicine, the neck is our weak spot. The nape is the first place where external pathogens (like cold, wind, or viruses) enter the body and make us sick. Thankfully, Chinese medicine offers many neck pain relief treatments directed at strengthening the immune system to reduce the intensity and length of a cold or flu.
6. Underlying Health Issues
In rare cases, neck pain can be a sign of a more serious health condition. For example, issues like heart attack, tumors, or meningitis can present with neck pain as one of their symptoms.
While these are unlikely causes of your neck pain, it’s always a good idea to speak with your doctor to rule out any severe conditions.
How to Relieve Neck Pain Naturally
Want to get rid of that pain in the neck? You’ve got options! Therapies like acupuncture, massage, and cupping help to heal the injured tissue, relieve pain, and restore your neck’s range of motion. Here are some of the most effective ways to alleviate neck pain naturally:
1. Do neck stretches and exercise.
A sedentary lifestyle is a surefire way to develop issues like pain and tension. If you work on a computer or sit for long periods of the day, you’re even more likely to suffer from neck pain.
An easy solution is to do neck stretches and exercise daily. Exercises encourage healthy blood flow through the entire neck and keep your muscles supple and flexible. Try yoga for neck pain or these simple neck exercises.
Then, be sure to get out and move your whole body each day (or at least five days a week). Go for a walk, jog, hike, swim, or whatever type of exercise you love to do. Staying active keeps pain and stress at bay.
2. Get acupuncture for neck pain.
Want to get to the root of your neck pain? Try acupuncture.
Acupuncture is one of the most effective ways to relieve neck pain and prevent it from coming back. Why? Because unlike a “Band-aid” treatment like an over-the-counter pain-killer, acupuncture resolves the underlying causes of your pain. It stimulates blood flow and promotes healing on a deep cellular level, so your tissues have the chance to heal and restore their healthy function.
Studies confirm that acupuncture can help you find neck pain relief. Those who had acupuncture for neck pain reported less pain and a boost in their quality of life than those who did not use acupuncture.
3. Use an herbal remedy for at-home neck pain relief.
Neck pain from chronic conditions like arthritis, stress, or unresolved injuries heals faster when you combine your acupuncture treatments with a customized herbal formula. We’ll help you find the perfect herbal formula for you based on your unique condition. Then, you can use this herbal formula daily to speed up your healing and get neck pain relief.
Need a quick fix? Try an herbal topical. For both acute and chronic cases of neck pain, having a go-to herbal pain relief product at home is a life-saver. Herbal topicals like Po Sum On or Zheng Gu Shui instantly relieve pain. Their herbal ingredients clear away inflammation and promote healing circulation.
4. Try cupping or gua sha.
If you’ve ever seen a professional athlete with large pinkish-purple circles on their neck or back, you’ve seen the work of cupping at play!
At Wellnest Denver, we use cupping to help relieve neck pain due to tension, stress, or even the onset of a cold. In many ways, cupping acts like a “reverse massage.” It lifts the skin and underlying layers of tissue for healthy blood flow and detoxification. Cupping also relaxes tight muscles and releases trigger points to relieve aching pain and tension quickly.
Gua sha is another therapy that, like cupping, works by removing old, stuck blood from the muscles and flushes the neck with healthy circulation. It restores better muscle function and realigns any muscle fibers that didn’t heal quite right. Additionally, Gua sha is particularly helpful for issues like neck pain from whiplash or injuries.
5. Heat it up.
Feeling achy or stiff? Use heat to warm that pain away.
You’ll never find an acupuncturist using ice or cold packs to heal their patients’ neck pain. Why? Because in Chinese medicine cold causes stagnation and pain – the last two things we need when trying to heal your neck! In fact, because the neck is so vulnerable to cold, using ice can make your pain worse.
Rather than use ice or cold to numb pain, we use warm therapies like moxibustion or warming herbal topicals to eliminate it. The heat encourages circulation and relaxes the muscles.
Instead of grabbing your ice packs, find relief with heat therapy. Use a heat pack, a warm towel, or a warming herbal topical. Even a warm shower can help to ease neck pain. Just be sure to keep your neck warm and covered when you get out.
Get Natural Neck Pain Relief at Wellnest Denver
Got a pain in the neck? You don’t have to live with that constant ache any longer! With the help of acupuncture and Chinese medicine, you can relieve your neck pain naturally.
At Wellnest Denver, we understand that issues like neck pain are just signals from the body that something’s off balance. And lucky for you, we are experts at pinpointing that imbalance to help you return to the pain-free life you deserve.