Imagine if you could apply a simple strategy to stop feeling that stingy pain in your neck. That pain that made you utter “not again!” once you’ve crawled out of your bed in the morning.
Don’t worry! In this article, you will learn 7 super fast remedies for your pulled muscle in neck. If you follow some of these methods today, it will only be moments until you feel well and energized again.
The anatomy of a pulled neck muscle
First, let’s elaborate what a pulled muscle in your neck is. In the case of a pulled muscle in the neck, there are a number of things that can be done to facilitate healing.
Remember that after a neck strain, the muscles in the neck will often become tight, guarding the affected area and limiting motion and mobility. Anything that can be done to safely relieved muscle tension, improve range of motion and promote blood circulation to the affected area is therefore going to help the healing process.
Why busy people after 30 suffer from neck strain
Busy people after 30 are more likely to get a pulled neck. Professionals get injured not because of karma or other woo-woo magic but because of certain physiological adaptations in your bodies. Such as:
Increased stress levels
This should be old news until now: People that are psychologically stressed out are more likely to get injuries. Stress suppresses your immune system and elongates the wound healing process.
The stress response therefore not only makes it more likely to get an injury, but also prolongs the healing process.
As a physically inactive person in your 30s, you start losing 3 to 5% of muscle mass per decade.
Any loss of muscle mass matters because it makes you lose strength and mobility. The symptoms include a feeling of weakness and loss of stamina. The following muscle loss also makes it more likely to suffer from stress fractures as a key task of the muscles in your body are the resistance of mechanical stresses.
More prone to bad posture
Most professionals work long hours in a seated position. The muscle-loss, the stress and the long work-hours not only take their toll on your neck, they also take their toll on your posture in general.
Having a bad posture makes it more likely in the future to suffer from more stress fractures. This process can lead you to a downward spiral – if you don’t act and implement the following remedies:
7 remedies to help facilitate the healing process
Each of these remedies provide a unique solution to your neck pain. I discovered these remedies through years of working in a fitness center, my continuing education and personal experience (people that get punched in the face often, such as martial artists – including myself – are more likely to experience neck strains).
1. Challenge your weaker self
I’m Thai-boxing for a total of 3+ years. Recently an advanced fighter and I had a sparring session. Towards the end of the first round, a devastating shot of him punctured my chin. Immediately, I felt a snap in my neck.
Going through two more rounds without the sensation of pain and going to sleep with no physical pain but a slight numbness in my neck, I had no grave concerns. Until I opened my eyes at 2AM, with a sweaty body to realize that my head is unable to move without strong pain. This happened a few more times that night.
When I first heard my alarm clock in the morning, the last thing I wanted to think about was movement. The best recovery process, my body was tempting me to believe, was to simply lay in bed for the entire day. This is not optimal. I disregarded that initial urge and crawled out of bed and went to work.
In the moment of a pulled muscle in neck, we have to realize that our body is overcompensating.
As we’ve seen previously, our organism is stiffening the whole area to prevent further damage. Yet this neglects the upsides in the healing process of controlled physical movement.
The first remedy to treat a pulled neck muscle is to know that you have to be slightly uncomfortable in the healing process. Challenge your weaker self – move well and move often. In the case of the neck strain in the boxing example, I was pain-free after 2 days.
2. Use hydrotherapeutic measurements
Every time I finish a hard training session, I treat myself to a cold shower.
In the process of hard weight-lifting, martial arts or endurance training, inflammation pops up in your body. We can counteract the overcompensating adaptations of your body by using hydrotherapeutic measurements.
Which means we use water to change our physiological state.
A great way to relieve neck strain is to alter a cold and hot shower in a 3 minute interval. This minimizes the recovery time in your injured tissue.
Bonus Tip: Treat yourself to a hot bath with Epsom Salt. Epsom salt relieves muscle tension, stress and pain. The salt works by having a mixture of magnesium in it, that gets splitted out when first getting in contact with water. Add 5-10 Drops of lavender oil to the water for the extra soothing experience.
It’s also a great idea to take such bath before your sleeping time. This way you’ll relax your muscles, relieve stress and shorten the sleep-onset. The quality of your sleep will skyrocket, trust me.
3. Inspect your shut-eye time
A good night’s sleep can make or break your recovery time.
We, as living beings, need to feel relaxed on a deep level to alter the unconscious sleeping state. But to feel relaxed, we first need to feel secure.
A huge part in feeling secure is to alter your sleeping position. I just recently read Sleep: The Myth of 8 Hours, the Power of Naps… and the New Plan to Recharge Your Body and Mind from Nick Littlehale, an elite sport sleep coach with over 16 years of experience with elite athletes.
According to Nick, the best position to decrease your recovery time is the side sleeping position on your non-dominant side. Apparently it makes your body feel secure and seems to be most efficient in guaranteeing a transition to deeper sleep phases – which is crucial in the healing process.
Your slumber is the time when your body is able to repair itself. Why not make the repair process the most efficient?
4. Elongate your tissues
Working on the computer in a cubicle goes against our evolutionary history.
From living in trees millions of years ago to hunter and gatherers in Africa, from the agricultural revolution to the information age; human beings survived a variety of environments. Our brains are fast to adapt, our genomes aren’t.
Our genome is made for the environment the grand apes were used to. The current immobile circumstances are hurting our movement apparatus at a deeper level. From problems in your lower back up until frequent occurring strains in your neck.
A good way to counteract these damages is to stretch at a regular basis. Stretching increases your blood flow and your range of motion. Warm up before every stretching session and start with the basic movements.
Controlled stretching works as a preventive measurement for future strains and treatment method for current ones at the same time. Here’s a video to show you some stretches you can try at home:
5. Infrared light therapy
A newer invention in the world of injury treatment is infrared therapy.
Infrared light therapy works by sending a beam of high energy, low heat, radiation to stimulate healing. The idea behind infrared therapy is that it stimulates the cells in a painful or damaged area to produce energy and improve function. The laser does not penetrate bone, so if neck pain due to a spinal condition is unlikely to be helped by infrared therapy.
I’ve seen big improvements in my recovery after a muscle related injury by using an infrared sauna regularly.
6. Alter your blood flow with ice packs
Blood flow is important in relieving your pain because it decreases the time needed for the repairing process.
Another tactic that we can use to alter your blood flow are ice packs. It’s best to cool the paining area right after the first symptoms. This way you can minimize the initial inflammation process.
Ice packs are cheap to buy but work wonders, if they’re applied at the right time and place.
7. Better your posture
When thousands of years ago our common ancestor decided that we would be walking on two legs, our back (including our neck) developed into the weak link in our organism. Putting as little stress on that part of our body is key in living a healthy, long and strong life.
One of the most important thing in this stress minimization is a good posture. Stand up straight and keep your chest out. In fact this is the first rule of Jordan Peterson in his book 12 Rules for Life.
According to Jordan Peterson, standing straight is the first step to taking part in the dominance hierarchy. To present yourself as a high status individual that individual you know you truly are deep inside you, to strangers and family.
A great posture can not only increase our status in society, but also prevent and treat our neck strain. Make a conscious effort to stand as tall as you can with your posture (without standing on your toes). Literally, write this down on your to-do list and check it 3 times a day.
If your conscious effort to stand straight isn’t bearing any fruits, go to the gym and train your upper back muscles. This made a great difference in my posture and health. You can hire a coach if you need more guidance on that part.
You can also try these exercises to improve your posture: The Ultimate Exercises to Improve Posture (Simple and Effective)
We can lower the stress on your neck by having a better posture, therefore aligning our vertebrae.
Summing it up
As a busy professional, a pulled muscle in your neck can be an annoying hindrance on your daily chase of greatness.
Although the rehabilitation of the neck strain can be fast and proven, it nonetheless makes sense to also spend time on the prevention. As the saying goes: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Yet as every savvy marketer knows, it’s much easier to sell pain relief than pain prevention. Most people would never take 15 minutes out of their day to better their health on a continuous basis. I urge you to be different.
Consider all these tips and try to implement at least 1 in any shape or form in your daily routine. Maybe it’s an infrared sauna session after work, a cold shower in the morning or a better sleeping position during the night. What matters is consistency and sustainability.
Let’s work for a pain-free future together!
Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com