Neck Pain Relief Research Note
By Reader's Digest Editors
A brief digest about this topic
Neck pain and stiffness is most often brought on by fixable, everyday posture mistakes—such as slouching on the sofa, a computer monitor that’s too low or too high, or sleeping in an uncomfortable position. But car accidents, falls, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and spine problems may also be the cause. Usually an over-the-counter pain reliever like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, heat (a heating pad or warm shower) and gentle exercise are all you need. But be sure to contact your doctor if your neck doesn’t improve in a week, or if you have any of these signs: numbness or tingling in your hand or arm; swollen glands; severe pain; difficulty swallowing or breathing.Fast Facts:
- Neck pain affects 30 to 50% of adults in any given year; half or more may not get complete pain relief.
- In one study, neck pain was eased by 80% in women who exercised three times weekly for 3 months.
- Supporting your lower back with a lumbar pillow can align your spine and reduce neck strain, another study found.
- One large study found that effective neck pain treatments bring relief in 2-4 weeks; if you’re waiting longer than that, it’s time for something new.
- Strength-training with dumbbells can cut neck pain by more than 50%. Good moves include the upright rows, the reverse fly and the one-arm row.
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