Sore shoulders and neck pain are among the most prevalent ailments afflicting Americans. Whether their pain is acute or chronic, people have many options for relieving the soreness.
When the pain begins, treatment can start at home. First, the affected area requires rest. Heat packs relieve the pain and tightness of muscle spasms if they are responsible for the soreness. In the case of inflammation or injury, ice packs are the best treatment option for immediate relief. Over-the-counter pain medications can also help. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are particularly effective at reducing the inflammation that causes pain. These include ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen.
Fix Bad Habits
Pain is often caused by mistreatment to the body. A strenuous workout or incorrect lifting technique may cause an acute injury, but chronic soreness in the upper back can result from repetitive motion, poor posture or improper sleep positioning. Eliminating these bad habits is essential to relieving pain. Some bad habits may be easy for people to stop themselves, but physical or occupational therapy can help teach correct form in more challenging cases.
Work It Out
Although rest is important immediately following an injury, strong and flexible muscles are less likely to cause pain. Thus, people in pain should seek their doctor or physical therapist’s advice for stretches and strengthening exercises that may safely resolve their pain. Neck stretches and shoulder shrugs help provide immediate and long-term relief when performed regularly. Swimming is a great choice because it helps increase range of motion, circulation and overall strength without putting stress on the joints. Enlisting the help of a physical therapist or personal trainer can provide motivation and ensure proper technique for each type of shoulder or neck injury.
Beyond physical therapy, people with neck or shoulder pain may need to seek professional pain management. Many chronic pain sufferers feel their symptoms improve after complementary therapies such as massage, acupuncture or sessions with a chiropractor. Although these treatments are effective, they may require long-term commitment for relief to continue. Conservative and more drastic approaches are offered in the traditional health care setting and include options such as prescription pain relievers or muscle relaxants, injections and surgery.
Pain in the shoulders and neck can be debilitating, but many effective treatments are available to improve quality of life. Treating the pain at home, eliminating bad habits that cause the pain, learning exercises to improve strength and flexibility and finding out where to turn for pain management can help relieve soreness in the shoulders and neck.
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