In the world of sports and athletic activities, neck injuries are very prevalent and somewhat unpredictable. A recent study done by Muscle & Fitness found that 95% of people who lift weights experience a neck injury.1 However, even if you don’t lift weights on a regular or semi-regular basis, simple, everyday events can cause neck injuries. Poor posture at work, looking at your computer screen in the wrong way for too long, whipping your head around too quickly when something startles you- these are all common ways you can injure your neck in an unexpected instant.
If you’ve ever experienced neck pain, you are probably aware of just how much a strain in your neck can affect the rest of your body. If your neck injury goes untreated for too long, you may experience pain in other parts of your body connected to your neck, especially your arm. Depending on the severity of your injury, there are options for self-treatment that may work to heal your pain, in the short-term. Some of these options include:
- Alternating placing ice and heat on your neck
- Implementing a routine of proper stretches for your injury
- Using essential oils, such as lavender or peppermint.
- Find a list of the top 5 oils for neck injury here!
- Sleeping on a more supportive, specially designed pillow for neck pain
The good news about self-treatment methods for neck pain is that most of them are easy to implement. However, since neck injuries can continue to get worse over time if not treated properly, self-treatments should be used as “quick-fixes” until you can make an appointment with a practitioner to start a regiment of long-term healing.
Acupuncture & Massage for Long-Term Healing
Acupuncture and massage have both been lauded as prime options for neck pain injury treatment. Both acupuncture and massage focus on deep pressure therapy, and this type of therapy is thought to be the most effective for treating neck injury.2
During treatment, an acupuncturist may choose to insert needles in a number of locations to help relieve your neck pain. Inserting needles into specific points on your body helps restore your “qi”, or the energy that flows through meridians in your body. Pain tends to be caused by a blockage, or imbalance, of your qi. Therefore, by needling certain points on your body, acupuncturists can help restore this balance, relieve pain, and reduce swelling or inflammation of an affected area.
Possible points acupuncturists may use during treatment of neck pain are:
- Shoulder Back Points-Located on the shoulder muscle, between the base of the neck and the end of the shoulder muscle.
- Completion Bone-This point is located on the occipital ridge, in the depression behind the ear. Stimulating this point can also help relieve headaches or dizziness
- Neck Backside: There are six points on the backside of your neck that will help provide relief for neck pain.
If acupuncture is not for you, massage therapy is an equally viable option for treating neck injury. Massage therapists will apply the necessary pressure to these points to help relieve neck pain. While not as intrusive as acupuncture, massage therapy also tends to allow for less intensity of pressure placed on the muscles, which in turn may require more treatments until you achieve a complete sense of healing.