Cervical Disc Disease Treatment: Managing Neck Pain at Home
Cervical disc disease may be the most common cause of neck pain. It's caused by an abnormality in one or more discs, the cushions that lie between the neck bones (vertebrae). When a disc is damaged, due to arthritis or an unknown cause, it can lead to neck pain from inflammation or muscle spasms. In severe cases, pain and numbness can occur in the arms from nerve irritation or damage.
While pain relievers, physical therapy, neck traction, and as a last resort, surgery, can help ease neck pain from cervical disc disease, there are also home remedies you can use to help relieve pain and speed the healing process.
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If you're like most people, you probably live a busy, hectic life. But if you're living with cervical disc disease and have increased neck pain from injury or muscle pain, it's important to temporarily ease back on intense activities. While you are resting, find a comfortable position -- one that causes you the least amount of neck pain. You can place a rolled up towel or a pillow under your neck to help keep your neck in a neutral position. Resting doesn't mean crawling into bed and remaining perfectly still, however. Staying immobile for more than a day or two actually can be harmful because it can decondition the muscles that support your neck and actually increase neck pain in the long run. While your neck is healing, adjust your activity level to what you can comfortably handle. As you improve, gradually increase your activity level back to normal.
Neck Pain Tip 2: Apply Cold/Heat
People often face the hot/cold conundrum: Which one should you use? Generally, the recommendation is to use ice for the first 24 to 48 hours after an injury to reduce swelling, followed by heat to loosen muscles and improve stiffness. But with cervical disc disease, neither heat nor cold is going to penetrate deeply enough to actually relieve the inflammation, so use whichever feels best. Regardless of whether you choose cold or heat, keep it on for only about 20 minutes at a time and then leave it off for at least 40 minutes. Wrap the ice or heat source in a towel -- never put it directly against your skin or you could wind up with a nasty burn.
Neck Pain Tip 3: Stretch
Once you are feeling well enough and your doctor gives permission, practice stretching exercises to both relieve neck pain and improve your flexibility.
It's best to perform these exercises after warming up muscles with a warm shower, bath, or towel.
Here are a few simple stretches for cervical disc disease that you can do at home:
1. Slowly turn your head to the left. With your left hand, apply very light tension on your chin so that your head turns slightly more. Hold for 20 seconds and return your head slowly to center. Repeat on the right side.