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Chronic Neck Pain --- Causes and
Top
7 Natural Remedies

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March 5, 2016
By Susan Callahan, Associate Editor Featured Columnist










Chronic neck pain is one of the most common health problems
in the US and other developed countries. Close to 70% of all
adults will suffer from neck pain during their lives, according to
a 1998 study from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada.
In Europe, in fact, chronic neck pain is as prevalent as back
pain, this study found. Why is neck pain so common in the
Western world? What natural remedies, if any, can help to
decrease the severity of neck pain?

Neck Pain Fluctuates with Your Age

Neck pain appears to decrease as we get older, reaching its
peak during our working years.  The Saskatchewan study
found that, of those who suffer from neck pain, 39.6% suffer
from low intensity pain which causes "low disability".  Almost
5% (4.6%) suffers from the high-intensity disabling pain.

An average of 34% of all adults suffers from neck pain during
the past year, a 1994 study from Trondheim University Hospital
in Norway. This study's conclusions were based on a 10,000
person survey.  

Once you develop neck pain, it can be hard to shake. Of the
34% who suffered from neck pain in the past year in the
Norwegian study, almost 14% experienced this pain for more
than 6 months.

Women suffer more from neck pain than men, many studies
have found, for reasons that are not entirely clear.

The Standard 4 Pronged Treatment for Chronic Neck Pain\

The standard treatment for chronic neck pain involves 4
components:

  • rest

  • medication

  • physical medicine modalities and

  • education


Unfortunately, these traditional treatments do not work for a
significant number of those of us with neck pain.



What does work? We have collected the Top 7 natural remedies
which have proven most effective:


































1.
Jyoti Meditation Cuts Neck Pain By 50%

A study of led by Dr. M. Jeitlet of Charité-Universitätsmedizin in
Berlin discovered that jyoti meditation is not effective in
treating the disability caused by neck pain. However, it does
seem to reduce the pain experienced while you are at rest.
Participants who underwent 8 weeks of jyoti meditation
practice saw their neck pain reduced from 45.5% to 21.6 % on
average.

In jyoti meditation you sit in a relaxed position and chant the
name of God in your religion.

This differs from other chanting mediations in which you would
simply repeat a word which has no meaning to you until you
enter a relaxed or tranced state.

Meditation is one form of
mindfulness practice. Mindfulness, in
general, has been found effective in reducing stress and pain.
(
Read more.)

2.
Home-Based Regular Exercise Alleviates Neck Pain

The same study from Berlin also found that a home-based
exercise program reduces neck pain by 6%, from 43.8 to
37.7% in intensity.

Of course, you have to select exercises which do not strain
your neck. A simple set of squats ( 3 sets, 8 repetitions per
set), walking (30 minutes moderate pace) and planks makes
for a basic, minimal exercise program which, if followed 4 or 5
days per week will help to improve your general physical
condition. This in turn, appears to help relieve neck pain,
perhaps by stabilizes the muscles that help to support your
head and neck.

3.
Curcumin Spice Massage Relieves Neck Pain

Curcumin, the spice which gives curry its yellow color, is being
increasingly identified in research studies as almost a "cure-all"
for conditions ranging from Alzheimer's disease to liver disease.
Curcumin contains powerful anti-oxidants which help reduce
inflammation throughout your body.

A 2009 study from Mahidol University in Bangkok found that
curcumin alleviates pain from
osteoarthritis as well as ibuprofen
(Advil).

Although most studies which have examined curcumin have
orally consumed curcumin, the spice can also be directly
absorbed through your skin. Mix curcumin with warm olive oil
to make a paste. Massage the paste into your neck gently and
let it seep in for 10 minutes before you shower.

Although curcumin allergies are rare, use of curcumin as a
paste should be tried first on a patch of skin to ensure that you
have no allergies to curcumin.

4.
Yoga Reduces Neck Pain by Up to 60%

The group of scientists from Berlin which studied meditation
also studied
yoga's effectiveness in relieving neck pain in a
separate study in 2012.

The group studied the effects of a 9-week course of 90-minute
iyengar yoga classes on patients with chronic neck pain. After 9
weeks, the results were pretty startling.  Average pain was
reduced from 44.3 to 13 in intensity scale. Pain during motion
was reduced from 53.4 to 22.4, a reduction of almost 60%
(58.4%).

Iyengar yoga emphasizes precise postural alignment as you go
through poses. It is possible that
correcting these postural
alignments
helps to relieve muscular strain on your neck that
contributes to neck pain.

5.
Massage Is a Safe and Effective Therapy for Neck Pain

Almost all forms of massage seem to alleviate neck pain to a
noticeable degree, according to a 2009 study led by
researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle and
the Group Health Center fro Health Studies in the same city.

The types of massage which proved effective included

kneading (used by all 9 massage therapists);

friction (used by 8 therapists)

clinical gliding (used by 7 therapists).

Swedish gliding,

traction, and

trigger point therapy.

Areas of the body massaged included the muscles of the neck,  
the upper back (especially the trapezius muscle), other parts of
the back,  the pectoral muscles of the chest and  the rotator
cuff or the arms. The fact that these disparate areas brought
relief to neck pain underlines the truth that many muscles of
your body are activated to keep your neck in balance and pain-
free.

6.
Stop Looking Down So Much to Reduce Neck Pain

If you are experiencing neck pain along the base of your skull,
your reading posture could be to blame. When you look down
as you read, your head tilts down, pulling on the muscles that
connect your neck to the base of your skull.

Massage will only temporarily relieve this kind of pain. The only
remedy here is prevention.

Take frequent breaks from typing, reading or working at your
computer.  For every 15 minutes of work, take a 2 minute
break. And in general, try to decrease the total number of
minutes spent looking down during the day.  Over time, the
interruption will lessen the strain.  Elevate your computer --
even a few degrees  elevation can relieve strain from your
neck.

If you must look down, use your eyes and not your neck. Train
yourself to keep your head level as possible and to simply guide
your eyes down.


7.
Avoid Hairstyles that Add Weight to Your Head

One of your neck's jobs is to support your head. That is big
job, since your head weighs as much as 11 pounds. Your neck
must support this bowling ball all day and do so even as the
bowling ball rotates up, down, around.

It doesn't help matters if you add even a little bit of extra
weight to your head. Some hair styles -- especially those that
involve added hair pieces --can add too much weight to your
head and strain your neck.

Also, avoid tying scarves too tightly, wearing bands or other
wise constricting the easy movements of your neck muscles.






































































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Certain kinds of massage can help
neck p
ain.