9 Tips You Might Not Know to Relieve Neck Pain

9 Tips You Might Not Know to Relieve Neck Pain

When it comes to neck pain traditional treatments, like medication or hot/cold therapy may not always provide relief. Finding the combination of remedies for your neck pain may require some trial and error. Here are a few known tips that could help you effectively manage your neck pain.

Opt for a chair that supports your neck

Maintaining posture throughout the day is key to reducing stress on your spine caused by head posture. One way to achieve this is by using a chair, with neck support. Consider investing in an office chair that features a headrest and makes use of it. Ensure that the back of your head rests comfortably against the headrest with your ears positioned above your shoulders. Additionally, remember to use the headrest provided in recliners and cars whenever possible. If you work on a computer adjust its height so that your eyes align with the third of the monitor screen. Also, think about using a standing desk as it encourages a position and discourages hunching forward.

Consider using a water pillow

An issue, with neck pain, is its interference with quality sleep and potential exacerbation upon waking up. Although there isn’t a pillow type for everyone experiencing neck pain some individuals have found water pillows to be particularly beneficial. Water pillows allow you to adjust firmness by increasing or decreasing the amount of water inside. Essentially adding water makes the pillow firmer while reducing the water content creates a feel.

Consult a therapist

Physical therapy is commonly associated with rehabilitating injuries, such as those sustained during sports activities or accidents. However, it can also offer advantages when it comes to neck-related issues;

  •  Identifying posture or habits that may contribute to pain and stiffness.
  •  Teaching techniques to minimize the risk of re-injury.
  •  Strengthening weakened areas of the neck through targeted exercises.

It would be wise to consult your doctor regarding whether physical therapy could improve the management of your neck pain. Enhancing strength and flexibility in the neck area may provide support, for the spine and alleviate discomfort.

Some studies indicate that combining therapy with treatments, such, as aerobic activity may offer additional benefits.

Give gua sha a try

Gua sha involves a trained practitioner using a spoon to apply strokes along the skin of the area. Originating from Chinese Traditional Medicine gua sha is applied to areas where blood circulation is believed to be stagnant and blocking energy (known as “qi”). While scientific evidence for qi is lacking some individuals have reported relief from neck pain through gua sha. One small study found that gua sha provided relief from heat therapy for neck pain. Not all studies agree on this and further research is necessary.

When performed by a trained using equipment gua sha is generally considered safe. However, it should not be used on damaged or thinning skin. Additionally during the sha process tiny capillaries in the skin may. This results in the formation of petechiae (red spots) which can be mistaken by others as a rash or bruising caused by abuse. Typically these petechiae clear up within a day.

Take advantage of swimming

Swimming is a form of low-impact exercise, for individuals experiencing neck or back pain.

When you’re, in the water it provides buoyancy, which can relieve stress on your spine. If you have neck pain it’s important to consult with your doctor or physical therapist to determine which swimming strokes you should avoid or modify.

For some individuals, swimming might be too strenuous for their necks. In some cases, water therapy is often an alternative. Water therapy involves exercises performed in a swimming pool instead of on land.

Carve Out Moments for Mindful Meditation

Take time for meditation. Find a spot where you can relax and focus your mind as this can help reduce stress and bring about a perspective. Mindful meditation techniques include controlled breathing exercises and guided imagery—like visualizing the pain moving from your neck to your arm before dissipating from your fingers.

Keep a Journal

Keeping a journal may be beneficial for managing neck pain. Regularly expressing emotions through writing in a journal has been shown to reduce stress and improve function. Alternatively, if writing isn’t your preference recording audio entries might also be helpful.

Over time maintaining a journal of your thoughts and daily experiences may enable you to identify triggers that worsen your pain—such, as foods or activities.

Consider cognitive behavioral therapy

Consider trying therapy as a potential solution, for chronic neck pain. Dealing with this kind of pain can be incredibly frustrating especially when the treatments you’ve tried far haven’t provided relief. However, a cognitive behavioral therapist can teach you ways to approach the challenges associated with your neck pain. By focusing on these aspects and adopting strategies you may find it easier to follow your treatment plan effectively.

It’s worth noting that studies have produced results regarding the effectiveness of behavioral therapy for treating neck pain. Nevertheless, some individuals have reported experiencing benefits from this approach. Additionally, a cognitive behavioral therapist might also provide guidance on meditation and journaling.

Exercise Caution in Your Phone or Tablet Usage

Another important aspect to consider is how you use your phone or tablet device in relation, to your neck health. You may not realize it. Cradling your phone while talking or constantly bending your head forward while reading or texting can place stress on your cervical spine and lead to painful strains commonly known as “text neck.” To reduce the likelihood of encountering problems;

  1. Opt for using a hands headset when making calls.
  2. When browsing or texting make an effort to hold the phone higher so that you’re not straining your neck at an angle.
  3. Take breaks during phone use sessions and make sure to stretch out your neck muscles.

By paying attention to these tips and adjusting how you interact with devices you can reduce the chances of experiencing neck pain caused by prolonged phone usage.

We hope that these 9 tips can provide you with some ideas to try for relieving neck pain.

Two Warning Signs of Neck Pain Requiring Urgent Medical Attention

Two Warning Signs of Neck Pain Requiring Urgent Medical Attention

Neck pain can usually be managed with remedies such, as rest, stretching, or over-the-counter medications. However, there are symptoms that should not be ignored and require medical attention. Here are two important indicators:

Persistent Neck Stiffness Accompanied by Intense Headache or Fever

If you experience a neck along with a headache and/or fever it could be a sign of meningitis.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the brain and spinal cord in its bacterial form. Early warning signs include fever, chills, body aches, intense headaches, and difficulty in flexing the neck forward. Not every instance of meningitis is accompanied by a stiff neck, so it’s crucial to be attentive to additional potential symptoms like nausea, vomiting and heightened sensitivity to sound or light.

Meningitis symptoms typically appear within days after exposure. Timely treatment is crucial since delaying it can lead to complications like hearing loss, brain damage, or even death.

While having a stiff neck along, with fever and severe headache doesn’t always indicate meningitis. If these symptoms occur simultaneously seeking medical attention is strongly recommended.

Persistent Arm and Hand Numbness or Weakness Accompanied by Neck Pain

If you are experiencing neck pain that travels to your shoulder, arm, or fingers and you also feel tingling or numbness it could be a sign of radiculopathy.

Cervical radiculopathy occurs when a nerve root, in the neck is compressed, inflamed, or damaged. This is often caused by changes like bone spurs or herniated discs. In some cases, cervical radiculopathy can be a result of an infection or tumor.

The pain from radiculopathy is usually felt on one side of the body. May feel like a burning or shock-like sensation. It can also lead to weakness in your grip. Affect your reflexes.

If you have any symptoms of radiculopathy it is important to consult with your doctor. They may perform an examination and review your medical history. They might also recommend imaging studies or advanced diagnostic tests if necessary.

It’s important to note that these examples do not cover all symptoms of neck pain that require attention. If you experience coordination problems or issues with bowel/bladder control along, with neck pain. You should seek urgent care.

When in doubt, contact your doctor to discuss any signs that will ensure an accurate diagnosis. This can potentially lead to treatments and improved outcomes.

Tendons and Ligaments: What’s the Difference?

Tendons and Ligaments: What’s the Difference?

Tendons and ligaments are like strong, stretchy bands in your body. The big difference between them is how they connect.

Tendons and ligaments help you move and keep your body steady. As we get older, both tendons and ligaments can get weaker and more prone to injuries. This article will help you understand the differences between them and what to do if they get hurt.

What Are Tendons and Ligaments?

Tendons and ligaments are thick bands made of a material called collagen. They do similar jobs, helping your body move and stay stable.

Here’s the main difference: tendons connect muscles to bones, while ligaments link bones to other bones. There are some smaller differences too.

Tendons have bundles of fibers, surrounded by something called endotenon, which lets the fibers move smoothly. This helps your muscles work properly.

Ligaments are more elastic than tendons. There are two types: white ligaments have sturdy collagen fibers and don’t stretch much, while yellow ligaments have elastic fibers, allowing more movement. Ligaments are mainly found at joints, while tendons connect muscles to bones.

Both tendons and ligaments can get injured easily, and their injuries often show similar symptoms.

Injuries That Affect Them

Tendon and ligament injuries are quite common, and a few things can increase your risk of getting hurt:

  • Overuse: Doing sports or activities too much.
  • Trauma: Getting a hard hit or fall.
  • Twisting: Putting stress on tendons or ligaments in an awkward way.
  • Weak Muscles: Not staying active can make your muscles weak and more prone to injury.

Some common injuries include:

Tendon Injuries

Tendon injuries are pretty common, especially in sports. About 30-50% of sports injuries are related to tendons.

  • Strains: These happen when a tendon or the muscle it’s connected to gets damaged. Strains can be very painful and might take a while to heal.
  • Tendinitis: It’s when a tendon becomes swollen and irritated, often from overuse. This can make the area painful, swollen, and warm.
  • Tendinosis: Similar to a strain, but it happens over time due to overuse or incorrect sports techniques.
  • Subluxation: When a tendon moves out of place, causing pain and weakness in the joint. This is more likely if you have certain body differences.
  • Tendon Ruptures: These are severe injuries where the tendon tears, usually due to a mix of sudden and long-term stress.

Ligament Injuries

Ligament injuries, like sprains, happen when a ligament stretches or tears. The knees, ankles, and wrists are commonly affected, especially after a fall that puts stress on the ligaments.

  • Grade 1: A mild sprain where the ligament stretches but doesn’t tear.
  • Grade 2: A moderate sprain with partial tearing of the ligament.
  • Grade 3: Severe sprains where the ligament completely tears, making the joint unstable and often needing surgery.

Some ligament injuries are more common than others, like a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the knee. After a ligament injury, the joint can feel unstable, especially in sprained ankles and knees.

Other Soft Tissue Injuries

In addition to strains and sprains, you can also bruise tendons, ligaments, and the surrounding tissue. Bursitis, which feels like a tendon or ligament injury, happens when small sacs near your joints become inflamed due to overuse or extreme joint stress.

Differences in Treatments

Treating tendon and ligament injuries is quite similar.

For minor injuries, doctors usually recommend the RICE method:

  • Rest: Give the injured area a break.
  • Ice: Apply ice to the affected area to minimise swelling and discomfort.
  • Compression: Wrap the injury to reduce swelling and help it heal.
  • Elevation: Keep the injury higher than your heart to ease pain and reduce swelling.

You can also take over-the-counter pain relievers for pain and inflammation. But remember, they don’t fix the injury, so don’t overdo it.

More severe injuries might need physical therapy, or in the case of a complete tear, surgery.

Tendinitis and bursitis often heal on their own, but sometimes they might need treatment, like corticosteroid injections or surgery if the problem is severe.


Tendon and ligament injuries can be really painful, and they can feel like a broken bone. It’s difficult to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone.

Even though many minor injuries can heal on their own, it’s crucial to get help if the pain is severe or doesn’t go away. A doctor can diagnose the issue and suggest the right treatment. Ignoring the pain can lead to more problems, so don’t hesitate to seek medical care.

A Guide to Tendonitis

A Guide to Tendonitis

Tendonitis, also known as tendinitis, is when the tissues that connect your muscles to your bones (tendons) become inflamed. It often occurs due to repetitive activities and can be quite painful. Tendonitis can affect various parts of your body, including the elbow, knee, shoulder, hip, Achilles tendon, and the base of your thumb. Rest and avoiding strenuous activities are essential for the healing of tendons.

Tendinitis Overview

What is Tendonitis?

Tendonitis, or tendinitis, is the swelling and irritation of a tendon, which is a connective tissue that links muscles to bones, enabling movement. It typically occurs after repetitive strain or overuse, commonly affecting the shoulders, elbows, and knees. Tendonitis can be either short-term (acute) or long-term (chronic).

Types of Tendonitis

Various types of tendonitis are named after sports and the specific body areas where injuries occur. The most common types include:

  • Tennis elbow
  • Golfer’s elbow
  • Pitcher’s shoulder
  • Swimmer’s shoulder
  • Runner’s knee (also known as jumper’s knee)

Tendonitis is relatively common because people engage in activities or jobs that can lead to overuse or tendon injuries.

Symptoms and Causes

What are the Symptoms of Tendonitis?

Common symptoms of tendonitis include:

  • Pain at the tendon site and the surrounding area, which worsens with movement
  • Stiff joints or difficulty moving them
  • The sensation of cracking or popping when moving
  • Swelling, often with a change in skin color, appearing reddish, purplish, or darker than your natural skin tone

Tendonitis pain can develop gradually or suddenly and can be severe, especially when there are calcium deposits. Calcium deposits are accumulations of calcium in your tissues, appearing as firm, white to yellow bumps on your skin, potentially causing itching.

Where in the Body Does Tendonitis Occur?

Tendonitis can affect nearly any part of your body where a tendon connects a bone to a muscle. Common areas include:

  • The base of your thumb
  • Elbow (usually on the outer part of the forearm, near where the tendon attaches to the outer part of the elbow when your palm is up)
  • Shoulder
  • Hip
  • Knee (typically just below the kneecap where the tendon connects to the lower leg)
  • Achilles tendon (connecting your calf muscles to your heel bone)

What Causes Tendonitis?

Tendonitis can result from:

  • Overuse or repetitive movements over time, such as running or throwing
  • Strain from sudden, forceful movements
  • Injury
  • Medications, including cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins) or fluoroquinolone antibiotics

Some underlying medical conditions can also lead to tendonitis, including diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, gout/pseudo gout, osteoarthritis, and infections.

What Are the Risk Factors for Tendonitis?

Tendonitis can affect anyone, but it’s more common in people engaged in repetitive activities. Some risk factors include:

  • Gardening/landscaping
  • Woodworking
  • Shoveling
  • Painting
  • Sports like tennis, golf, or baseball
  • Poor posture
  • Underlying conditions that weaken muscles
  • Age: Tendons become less resilient and more susceptible to tearing after age 40

What Are the Complications of Tendonitis?

If left untreated, tendonitis can lead to:

  • Chronic tendonitis (constant, dull pain during movement)
  • Difficulty or inability to move the affected body part
  • Torn tendons (tendon rupture)
  • Muscle weakness

Diagnosis and Tests

How Is Tendonitis Diagnosed?

Healthcare providers diagnose tendonitis through a physical examination and tests. During the exam, your provider will take your medical history, ask about your symptoms, and order tests to confirm the diagnosis. Imaging tests, such as X-rays and MRIs, help providers visualize your tendons.

Management and Treatment

How Is Tendonitis Treated?

The treatment of tendonitis involves two steps:

  • Initial Treatment:
    • Applying ice to the affected area on the day of the injury
    • Avoiding activities that cause symptoms
    • Resting the injured area
    • Taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications
  • Additional Treatment:
  • If tendonitis doesn’t improve within about three weeks, healthcare providers may offer further treatment, including:
    • Corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation and pain
    • Physical therapy, which may include exercises and splinting
    • Surgery (rarely needed and reserved for severe cases that don’t respond to other treatments)

Are There Side Effects of Treatment?

Before starting treatment, discuss potential side effects with your healthcare provider. Possible side effects may include pain at the injection site with corticosteroid injections, soreness after physical therapy, and bleeding or infection after surgery.

How Long Does Tendonitis Take to Heal?

Tendonitis may take two to three weeks to heal with treatment. Severe cases may require a few months. Rest is crucial for a faster recovery. Avoid strenuous activities that could stress the healing tendon, and only resume your regular sports and activities when your healthcare provider gives the green light.


Can Tendonitis Be Prevented?

To prevent tendonitis, consider the following tips:

  • Avoid staying in the same position for extended periods; take breaks every 30 minutes
  • For all activities, learn good posture and body postures.
  • Use the correct technique for lifting objects
  • Maintain a firm, but not overly tight, grip when working with or picking up objects
  • Avoid carrying heavy objects with one hand
  • Don’t sit with your leg folded under your bottom
  • Stop any activity if you feel pain

How Can You Lower the Risk of Tendonitis?

Reduce your chances of acquiring tendinitis by taking the following precautions before beginning an exercise or sports activity:

  • Stretch and warm up before your activity
  • Use properly sized and fitted clothes, shoes, and equipment
  • Begin gradually and increase your activity level slowly
  • Stop any activity if you feel pain

Outlook / Prognosis

What Can You Expect if You Have Tendonitis?

Most people with tendonitis have a good prognosis after treatment and rest. Recovery may take a few weeks to a couple of months, depending on the severity of the injury. It’s important to wait for your healthcare provider’s clearance before returning to your regular activities to prevent recurrent tendonitis.

If you’ve had tendonitis and received treatment, you can reduce the risk of future tendonitis by following advice from your healthcare provider, sports medicine physician, or physical therapist.

When Should You See a Healthcare Provider?

Consult a healthcare provider if you experience:

  • Fever (over 100°F or 38°C)
  • Swelling, redness, and warmth
  • General illness
  • Pain in multiple areas
  • Inability to move the affected area

These could be signs of another condition requiring prompt attention.

What questions should I ask my doctor?

  • Do I have tendonitis or arthritis?
  • When can I return to playing sports or exercising?
  • Are there side effects of the treatment?
  • Do I need surgery?

A note from Greendale Physical Therapy:

Tendonitis can be a frustrating condition. You’ll need to stop and rest for a few weeks to let your tendon heal after an injury that causes it to swell. This can be challenging if you’re an active person or you play sports. Don’t return to the track or field until your healthcare provider tells you it’s safe to do so. Follow your provider’s instructions to prevent injuries that lead to tendonitis.