7 Ways to Manage Chronic Neck and Shoulder Pain From Home

Pain Management Jul 28, 2020

As we are spending more time at home, many people are suffering from chronic neck and shoulder pain – but there are ways to manage this pain and avoid it from worsening.

The first few weeks of the COVID19 pandemic weren’t so bad. You were forced to stay home to avoid the spread of the virus. You may have even been allowed to work from home in your pajamas. Pretty cool! Adapting to a new way of life, like the one created by the Coronavirus, means you had to learn a new way to exist. Think about all the ways your life has changed since March or April of this year.

You’ve learned to order groceries online and pick them up curbside. If you’re like many others, you’ve been ordering everything you need (and some things you don’t need) from an online source. You have adapted your lifestyle to meet the demands of the pandemic. Spending more time at home means cooking, cleaning, working, completing repairs, and learning how to interact with loved ones also stuck at home.

The Rise of Chronic Neck and Shoulder Pain

This new way of living has spotlighted areas of your life that need improvement, including personal restoration and self-care. The abrupt change of how we work, in addition to reduced physical activity at home has led to an increase of chronic neck and shoulder pain for many Americans. Those minor aches and pains in your neck and shoulder have become chronic annoyances that interfere with your concentration and ability to complete tasks.

You do not have to learn to live with the pain and suffer in silence, however. There are things you can do to manage your pain from home. Seven of these techniques are listed below.

1. Massage Your Pain Away

Massage is the technique of applying pressure and movement to areas on your body that are sore or producing pain. It is known to loosen tight muscles and can be done using a variety of self-massaging methods. When it comes to back and shoulder pain, massaging can loosen the muscles and help those irritated areas feel more relaxed, reducing the amount of pain felt.

2. Stretching

Stretching is a natural form of exercise for your body that can relieve chronic neck and shoulder pain. While it is best to practice stretching with a yoga instructor’s guidance, there are many simple techniques you can do on your own at home. With stretching, you can expect to release endorphins, which are the body’s natural pain relievers.

3. Biofeedback

Biofeedback is not something you start doing on your own. However, your pain management specialist can quickly teach you how to practice it correctly. Biofeedback eases pain in your neck and shoulders because you learn how to recognize and control how your body reacts to pain. It gives you the power to lower stress levels that can decrease pain levels. It is a great technique to combine with all other methods.

4. Injections

Just because you are stuck at home during COVID19 does not mean you cannot visit your doctor to ease the pain in your neck and shoulders. Your doctor can set guidelines for in-office visits that keep everyone safe from spreading viruses while also offering you pain relief.

Your doctor may choose to provide trigger point injections or epidural steroid injections in the areas of your pain. Injections can offer relief by reducing inflammation contributing to your pain. Once you have received an injection, your pain will ease significantly so you can continue in other activities to relieve neck and shoulder pain, like exercising and physical therapy.

5. Physical Therapy

Physical therapists can share the exact physical movements and techniques to alleviate pain in your neck and shoulder areas. Rather than guess, you can seek physical therapists’ input regarding beneficial stretches and movements you can do at home.

6. Medication

When you start to feel the onset of chronic neck and shoulder pain, you may head straight to the medicine cabinet and pop an aspirin or other over the counter pain reliever. There are many over the counter medicines that work great for pain. The key is knowing the right medication for the pain you are experiencing.

Reach out to your pain management specialist to learn the correct treatment. Learn the difference between ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin and which one relieves your pain best.

There may be a time when over the counter medicines are not as beneficial as before. When this happens, your pain management specialist may be able to offer prescription medication to help relieve your neck and shoulder pain.

7. Cope with Stressors

Stress is one of the significant contributors to pain in the neck and shoulder areas. Stress causes pain in a very physical way. It causes you to tighten and clench muscles in areas such as your shoulders and neck. The muscles across the top of your back tense, making you feel stiff and immobile. On top of that, blood vessels become enlarged when you are stress, pushing oxygen to your muscles faster than ever. This can feel like a throbbing ache that feels like a painful thump that won’t stop.

Implementing stress management techniques in your daily routine is essential to preventing stress from increasing to chronic neck and shoulder pain. Many of the activities mentioned above are recommended for stress relief, including:

  • Massage therapy
  • Stretching
  • Yoga
  • Exercising
  • Modifying your lifestyle to eliminate unhealthy activities

Know When to Call Your Pain Management Specialist

If you have been struggling with chronic neck and shoulder pain, or even in your back and legs, it’s good to know when to call your pain management specialist. The truth, there is no wrong time to call your doctor. While they can’t diagnose you over the phone, they can determine if a virtual appointment or an in-person appointment is needed.

If you have been feeling pain, and no matter what you try, it just won’t go away, it’s time to call your pain management doctor. In addition, do not increase the dosage of your over the counter medication. Your body will require more as your tolerance rises, putting stress on your kidneys and liver. You don’t want to trade one problem for another.

Don’t be tempted to push through the pain, take suggestions from well-meaning friends or family members, or self-medicate with alcohol or illicit drugs. Instead, call a pain management specialist who can give you the healthiest, most appropriate treatment to ease your pain and put you on a long-term healing path.

Managing Different Types of Chronic Pain - Comprehensive Pain Management Center

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