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Treating Neck Pain

Causes of Neck Pain

At some point, everyone has had a stiff or painful neck. This pain might be caused by simply lying in one position too long. Some people explain that they ‘slept wrong’, meaning that their head and neck were in a position that caused pain when they woke. Neck pain can range in severity from minor stiffness to excruciating pain that prevents any movement. Neck pain can be caused by numerous factors, ranging from occupational stress, poor posture to congenital deformities. It should be treated on a case-by-case basis to eliminate the root problem as much as possible and to deal with the resulting pain. Neck pain can be helped with heat therapy such as using a microwave wheat bag, heat pad or heated neck collar

Structural or Congenital Causes

Medical professionals refer to the neck as the 'cervical spine'. It begins at the hyoid bone, or the Atlas bone, upon which the skull rests (it is located in the same area as the Adam’s apple on men) and extends down to the middle of the clavicle, or collarbone. There are seven bony segments to the neck and any structural or congenital defects, such as a misaligned hyoid or fused vertebrae, can cause neck pain and stiffness. Many chiropractors claim they can remedy such problems through adjustment, but heat therapy with a wheat bag or heated neck collar can relieve pain too.

Neck Injury

Traumatic injury is one of the main causes of neck pain. Car accidents can result in conditions such as whiplash, which is when the head is thrown forward and then snapped back quickly, causing severe strain on the muscles, ligaments and bony structures of the neck. This most frequently happens in rear-end collisions. Trauma can also cause herniated disks (when the fluid-filled pads between the vertebra becomes damaged), pinched nerves and even fractures. Wheat bags and heat packs can reduce swelling as on-going therapy for these injuries, alternated with cold packs.

Vertebral fractures, whiplash, and blood vessel injuries can cause substantial pain in the neck, but also can affect one’s ability to turn his or her head. Spinal fractures in the neck and back can result in partial or complete paralysis. A ruptured disk or herniated disc in the cervical spine means that the cushioning disk between the vertebrae has cracked or broken open. The cushioning material inside the disk, called nucleus pulpous escapes leaving two cervical bones and associated nerves to compress. This can cause pain in the neck and back, sometimes to the point where movement is simply not possible.

Degenerative Conditions

Degenerative conditions of the neck’s structures are causes of neck pain. These conditions cause progressive worsening of the neck’s function and increase the individual’s pain. Some degenerative conditions are caused by traumatic events such as untreated whiplash, but others are the result of actual physical maladies such as degenerative disc disease or spondylolisthesis. These conditions often require surgery and medication, but the application of a microwavable heat pad can relieve pain and increase mobility temporarily.

Posture and Slouching

Everyone’s mum likely told them to stop slouching and sit up straight, but mum was right: how someone stands, sits and walks is one of the main causes of neck pain. Someone who slouches or hunches over when they sit or stand puts more pressure on the neck and spine’s structures, and twists them and aligning them in improper ways. Eventually the neck’s tendons and the vertebral discs will become strained and even herniated. This kind of neck pain is alleviated by exercise, stretching, un-learning bad posture, and applying warm wheat bag or neck collar as needed.

Non-Structural Problems

Some causes of neck pain are not related directly to the neck itself. Infections such as meningitis, osteomyelitis, tuberculosis, and autoimmune conditions such as fibromyalgia and chronic pain syndrome can all cause neck pain. The neck pain form these illnesses is caused by either an infectious agent (bacterial or viral) that produces pain and swelling of the neck muscles, or an on-going, systemic ailment which produces inflammation and sensitivity in the neck tissue. Medication must be used to combat these problems, but topical usage of a wheat bag can reduce pain.

Why Use Heat Therapy for Neck Pain

Heat therapy or thermotherapy is one of the oldest methods of treating pain. For centuries, physicians have used heat to promote blood circulation to injured muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the body. Improved blood circulation is important to healing because the blood contains nutrients and oxygen that promotes regeneration of tissue.

Heat therapy is also beneficial because it relaxes the muscles of the neck, which helps improve flexibility. It will also help reduce the stiffness that is so common with a neck injury. In fact, heat therapy using a neck collar can help prevent further injury, in many cases. 

There are several ways that you can apply heat to a painful neck. One of the best is with a wheat bag, it moulds to the neck easily and can be heated in the microwave. 

Heat therapy using a wheat bag or heat pad is one of the most commonly recommended treatments for neck strain and pain. It provides relief for millions and it doesn’t have the list of potential side effects that are prevalent with many prescription pain medications.

The causes of neck pain are numerous and the treatments for these conditions are specific. However, almost any neck pain can be temporarily relieved by the judicious application of heat packs and wheat bags. Heat therapy dilates blood vessels, stimulates healing and increase mobility and flexibility. Zhu Zhu has a range of neck wheat bags especially designed to treat neck and shoulder pain.