Q: What can I do about my chronic neck pain?
A: Neck pain is one of the most common health complaints. Many of our habits and daily activities put stress and strain on the neck muscles, tendons and ligaments. Sitting too long at the desk, working in front of the computer, and even poor sleeping postures can all contribute to muscle atrophy [wasting], tendon shortening, or weakening of ligaments. All of these can translate into neck pain.
One of the best things you can do for your neck is to regularly and gently stretch it to relax the muscles. To do this, bend your head to the left [as if you are trying to touch your shoulder with your ear] and hold this posture for 10 seconds. Repeat with the right side. Let your head fall forward, so your chin is dropping towards your chest. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Now, shrug your shoulders a few times,doing each shrug for 5-10 seconds.You can also turn to aromatherapy to help ease neck tension and pain.
Essential oils of camellia, lavender and juniper can be diffused into the air to help combat stress, while peppermint, eucalyptus and rosemary essential oils can be added to sweet almond oil and rubbed into the painful areas to help decrease inflammation, and promote a simultaneously cooling and warming sensation.
If your neck pain is acute or follows an accident, make sure to see your physician/therapist immediately.