Neck sprain: Causes, prevention and cure!
Know what exactly can trigger a neck sprain or stiffness and ways to heal it!
In this fast paced life, it has become quite difficult for people to keep the forever rising levels of stress down and maintain a healthy routine. A modern haphazard lifestyle can play havoc on your health and one of the most common health problems faced by many office goers nowadays is cropping up of sprain, more or less!
First of all, one needs to know what exactly can trigger a neck sprain or stiffness.
Pillow: An uncomfortable pillow can give you a real bad headache along with a neck sprain. So make sure you use a pillow you can swear by.
Why need a pillow?
Here's the golden rule; never listen to random advice, especially if someone says sleeping without a pillow is a good idea!
No, it's not always a good idea and at least not for everyone!
We need pillows to provide rest to our cervical spine or nape. One must look towards filling the gap at the rear-neck bridge. People with long necks should never sleep without a pillow as it will put unwanted pressure at your neck curve leading to a neck sprain.
Therefore, 'no pillow' advice can be given to people with a small neck curve. For everyone else, it's better to see their comfort levels with it while buying.
Choosing a pillow-
Comfort level differs for different people. Some might say its softness is equally proportional to its comfortability level; but that doesn't hold true for pillows. If your pillow is real soft then it will fail to give your neck the well needed support, failing the primary reason to have it in the first place.
Now, a little too hard a pillow will rob you off the comfiness leaving you with a bad headache.
So, a well-sponged pillow especially the one recommended by a physiotherapist can solve the issue. Don't worry, markets are flooded with physiotherapist-recommended pillows.
Posture: Be it staring at your idiot box at home or your PC at work, if you constantly maintain a bad posture, your neck muscles will start showing it with constant sprains and uneasiness.
Use technology to make yourself comfortable, not to wreak havoc on your health!
Here's how to maintain a good posture in front of your PC:
Excessive stress: Yes, it has a role in here as well. Stress tightens the neck muscles which puts pressure on the neck and causes pain. Stress can also trigger a tension headache that spreads down your neck starting from the forehead.
Sleeping wrong: You are most likely to have a neck sprain if you sleep in an awkward position. Though, we can't really help it while sleeping but what can we surely do is, to correct our neck or pillow position whenever we wake up in-between.
Sports: As the name suggests, it can happen while practising any sports that involves sudden movement, especially of the head, like swimming, football, basketball, car racing and boxing etc.
Whiplash: Though it's a medical term that suggests a neck sprain caused by a sudden jerk. But due to its seriousness, it must be treated on urgent basis as this kind of injury can cause serious concussion- confusion, sensitivity to light, dizziness, headache, blurred vision, slurred speech and nausea. It can take days or months to heal and if not given proper care or left untreated, can lead to death.
How to heal a neck sprain?
First of all, never ever try stretching or rotating your neck unnecessarily while having a sprain. It will only worsen the situation further.
Here are a few things that can help reducing the pain till you make a visit to a physiotherapist:
Heat therapy: Applying heat to the aching spot can help a great deal. The heat soothes the muscle tension and lets you stretch a bit. If you don't want to buy a heat wrap, you can simply pour warm water into a plastic bottle and place it over the neck.
Over the counter medicines: Yes, you can go ahead and pop a painkiller. Apply an ointment with inflammation reducing properties that will reduce the pain and swelling.
Sleep style: Pay attention to your neck and make sure it gets proper rest and while turning sides turn as slowly as possible.