Frequent neck pain is an unhappy reality for many people. If you regularly suffer from sore neck muscles, then you know how unpleasant it can be. There are a host of causes that can contribute to neck pain, and many ways to treat neck pain—right in your own home. Heated neck wraps and microwavable neck wraps are a great way to relax muscles for better pain relief. Learn more about the causes of sore neck muscles, and how to treat it with our handy tips below.
Different Causes of Neck Pain
Sore neck muscles can make it difficult to move your head, which can be both inconvenient and painful when doing simple daily tasks like working at your desk or driving around town. A sore neck can also lead to more extreme issues like shoulder pain, headaches, or even pain that travels down your arms.
While sore neck muscles usually only take a few days to recover from and aren’t a serious issue, if other symptoms are present it could be an indication that something else is wrong. If this is the case, you should visit a doctor as soon as possible. Here are a few common causes of neck pain you should be aware of:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis—Although most people may not associate rheumatoid arthritis with neck pain, it can certainly affect this area of the body, resulting in stiffness and extreme neck pain.
- Injury—Car accidents, contact sports injuries, and more can result in neck injury. Unfortunately, neck injuries are fairly common and can affect the muscles or even ligaments in your neck.
- Osteoarthritis or Cervical Spondylitis—Both of these disorders are essentially the same and are usually the result of neck injuries. The main symptoms involve stiffness and swelling in the neck. Heat therapy is especially useful in calming sore neck muscles from osteoarthritis.
- Pinched Nerve—Arthritis, herniated discs, and spinal canal narrowing can all lead to pinched nerves. Symptoms of a pinched nerve include radiating stiffness, pain, or numbness in arms and/or legs.
- Fibromyalgia—Sore muscles and achy joints are the main symptoms of fibromyalgia, and this can extend to your neck as well.
- Emotional Stress—When you are stressed, your muscles become very tight and stiff. You may not even realize you’re stressed until you notice tension in your neck muscles.
- Meningitis—This cause of neck pain is extremely serious and should be followed by immediate medical attention. Meningitis occurs when fluid around your spinal cord and brain becomes infected. Sore neck muscles are usually accompanied by headaches and a fever in the case of meningitis.
- Muscle Spasm—These can easily lead to sore neck muscles and occur when nerves in your neck signal contractions in neck muscles.
- Infections—When other symptoms are present in addition to a sore neck, such as vomiting or a fever, it may indicate you have the flu or another type of infection.
Most neck pain from sore neck muscles is not serious and will go away with proper at-home treatment and rest. However, if your sore neck muscles are accompanied by a headache, fever, weight loss, coordination issues, mental changes, or fatigue, seek the help of a physician immediately as it may be an indication of a more serious problem.
Treatments for Sore Neck Muscles
There are many at-home treatments you can use to alleviate pain for your sore neck muscles. Even pinched nerves often get better with proper rest and care despite the intense pain that is involved. Here are a few different at-home treatments you can do to ease your sore neck muscles:
1. Over-the-Counter Medicine
Over-the-counter, anti-inflammatory drugs are usually adequate for treating neck pain at home. They reduce inflammation to ease the pain from sore neck muscles. Common examples of anti-inflammatory medications are ibuprofen found in Advil or Motrin, or naproxen which is found in Aleve.
2. Neck Support
Sometimes sore neck muscles just need a little extra support so they can heal. In these instances, the use of a cervical collar to stabilize your neck can give your muscles a chance to rest and recover.
3. Gentle Exercise
Low-impact exercises like stretching and walking improve blood circulation throughout your body and help you recover from injuries more quickly. You should avoid activities like weightlifting that could aggravate your sore neck muscles, or activities that are high-impact like running that put additional stress on your neck.
Once you’ve gotten some rest, doing some gentle stretching can really help your neck heal and regain some of your lost mobility. Focus on simple, slow stretches that won’t aggravate your sore neck muscles, like gently turning your head from side to side, or up and down. Remember to take it slow and don’t rush your stretches.
One of the best tips to help heal sore neck muscles is to take time to rest. While you don’t want to rest more than a day or two, getting some good sleep and rest will help your sore neck muscles recover faster.
6. Microwavable Neck Wrap
Another way to relieve sore neck muscles is to use a microwavable neck wrap to apply heat to the area. The heat from a heated neck wrap increases circulation to sore neck muscles and can soothe muscle pain. While there are many benefits to using a heated neck wrap, it’s also important to know how to use one properly. Heated neck wraps should only be used for 15-20 minutes at a time, and should not be used on acute injuries, irritated skin, or open wounds because it can actually slow healing in these cases.
Most sore neck muscles heal on their own within a week or two, but it can take four to six weeks for full recovery. If your sore neck muscles are not getting better and you’ve been treating them for a week or two, it might be time to check in with your doctor to make sure your condition isn’t serious.
How Does a Heated Neck Wrap Work?
Microwavable neck wraps are a great option for people looking to relieve the pain associated with sore neck muscles. Heated neck wraps work by increasing circulation, which allows more oxygen and nutrients to reach the affected area, helping it to heal faster. When heat is applied to areas of chronic pain it loosens muscles and provides an analgesic effect, which makes your brain perceive that your pain has decreased.
The Moji heated neck wrap offers excellent relief for sore neck muscles using moist heat therapy for deeper muscle penetration. There are no cords to fuss with and you can add additional pressure by pulling on the hand straps of your heated neck wrap. Recover faster and reduce pain as you use a heated neck wrap to help your sore neck muscles feel better.