Neck or cervical pain is a common issue most adults often face at least a couple of times in their lives, resulting from minor to major conditions, including poor posture and car accidents. Unfortunately, dealing with such an issue provides a discomfort that hinders a person’s ability to move around and perform different tasks.
With that in mind, we’re listing some of the best neck relief products you can try today. Plus, we’ll provide helpful tips on alleviating and preventing such a condition.
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Our Top Picks
1. Best memory foam pillow: Tempur-Pedic Ergo Neck Pillow Firm Support
- FIRM MEMORY FOAM NECK PILLOW: Offers the perfect balance of luxurious comfort and optimal support to help you get the blissful night you deserve
- PRESSURE-RELIEVING COMFORT: Expertly engineered to provide pressure relief and customized support throughout the night while returning to it's shape in the morning
- ERGONOMIC SUPPORT: Firmer pillow material properly and comfortably supports the head, neck, and shoulders of side and back sleepers of all body types
|What we like:||What we don’t like:|
Different size options
|Shape and feel may not be for everyone|
Memory foam is known to contour a person’s body, relieving pressure points during sleep. Aside from mattresses, there are pillows you can choose to alleviate pressure off your neck. These items are designed to distribute weight uniformly and reduce neck and spine tension. Unlike standard pillows, they will keep your head from sinking too far.
For years, Tempur-Pedic has been one of the best companies that create memory foam products. Their ergonomic pillow is designed with a special form that follows the natural curve of a person’s head and neck. The best part is that the material they use on their neck pillow and other products never loses shape, providing consistent relief to users.
2. Best electric massage gun: Therabody Theragun Elite
- 5-in-1 Massage Gun for Best Value: Top-rated Elite offers the most popular features of a Theragun deep tissue massager in an ultra-quiet device—for everyday use. Experience the 5-in-1 benefits of percussive massage therapy for post workout recovery, performance, sleep, mobility, and stress relief.
- 5 High-Quality Foam Attachments: Thumb for trigger points and lower back pain relief, Cone as a hand massager and for pinpointing muscle treatment, and Wedge for reduced tension and shoulder pain relief. Standard Ball and Dampener are used universally on all muscle groups.
- Ergonomic Design with Patented Triangle Handle: Handheld massager with flexible positioning for reduced stress on the wrist, hands, and arms—an easy-to-use body massager for releasing tension while increasing range of motion in the leg, neck, calf, knee, hand and body.
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|Ergonomic grip design|
Attachments are less painful
Complex Therabody app
|Can be expensive|
Case is bulky
Loud when in use
Massage guns, also known as percussive massage devices or vibration therapy tools, are emerging electronic devices used as muscle relievers by professional athletes and physically active individuals.
These products create vibrations at a high frequency and low amplitude, which, when applied to the skin, help warm muscle tissues and increase blood flow in the target areas, reducing muscle tension and joint pain. Plus, it helps promote recovery.
The Theragun brand has become synonymous with this area. It offers various quality features and a patented shape that provides the best ergonomics for users. The company offers many massage gun options in the market. However, many would agree that their Elite product is the best choice among them.
Elite offers the best combination of power and features, providing deep tissue massage through its 16-mm amplitude and 40-lb stall force. It also offers a premium OLED screen indicator, five head attachments, and a travel case. Plus, the Elite unit has an option for wireless charging.
3. Best neck and shoulder relief cream: Tiger Balm
- SUPERIOR RELIEF. Tiger Balm Neck & Shoulder Rub is a topical analgesic formulated for the temporary relief of minor aches and discomfort of neck and shoulder muscles and joints.
- PERFECT ANYTIME, ANYWHERE. In the office, at the gym, or wherever—experience relief with this soothing rub that can help calm muscle, joint, and ligament soreness fast.
- CAMPHOR & MENTHOL. This shoulder and neck relieving cream is formulated with active ingredients camphor (11%) and cooling menthol (10%)—two common topical analgesics that help relieve minor muscle or joint discomfort.
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|Effects last for hours|
Menthol may feel too cold
Despite many emerging solutions today, topical pain relief products remain one of the best options for alleviating soreness in different body parts. These products are highly accessible because you can buy them over the counter. They come as gels, sprays, patches, and creams.
Tiger Balm is one of the best and most popular options for topical pain relief. For centuries, it continued to be a cheap and easy way to relieve muscle pain. Aside from the neck, the Tiger Balm cream is effective for shoulder pain and back pain relief.
4. Best manual massager: LiBa Manual Back and Neck Massager
- Trigger Point Massage Tool - This back massage handheld's beautifully sculptured line and curves are the perfect marriage of form and function. Massager Muscle Hook helps you target pain trigger points with deep tissue. The unique design allows you to reach all body muscle groups from the neck to the feet, relaxing tight, spasmodically, and muscle knots with self massage tools.
- Full Body Pain Relief- The therapy hook cane is the ideal muscle massage tool for relieving a patch of muscles in spasms (knots) or trigger points. By applying pressure to the affected muscle patch, blood circulation is stimulated bringing in more oxygen and nutrients for faster fibromyalgia muscle relief and recovery. Get one Liba massage stick, you will get your neck massager, back massager, and foot massager.
- Ideal Size Massage Tools -Less than a pound. Anything over a pound can easily fatigue the arms and hands diminishing the accuracy and pressure applied to the affected muscle group and impeding recovery and healing， When used consistently. Also, the awkward handle shape and positioning on many popular massagers can make it difficult to operate for those with limited range in mobility. Our massage stick design addresses those issues.
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|Different color options|
Two hook-shaped curves for versatility
Detachable halves for portability
|May feel heavier to some|
Cane massagers have been one of the best alternatives for those who don’t have the time to go to a traditional massage therapist. These simple devices are made from hard plastic, designed with a special shape and knobs in strategic locations to access hard-to-reach muscles.
The LiBa cane massager offers a versatile solution that can address every part of the body. Its S-shaped design features a large curve that extends around the shoulder and neck. It also has a narrow curve on the bottom, allowing users to reach their quads, hamstrings, and glutes. Plus, it has balls along the large curve for users to massage their feet.
This cane massager is made from a robust material that ensures fewer bends than other options. Because of that, users can apply their full strength while massaging their muscles.
5. Best for correcting posture: Hempvana Arrow Posture Corrector
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Triple strap support
|Straps can be short for some users|
Posture correctors are flexible contraptions designed to address muscle imbalances. These products are perfect for those who spend long periods in awkward positions. They work and look similar to back wraps. However, posture correctors encompass various parts, like the shoulders and neck.
The Hempvana Arrow Posture Corrector ranks as one of the best options available. It provides incredible comfort, adjustability, and flexibility offered by hemp fibers. The straps are easy to put on and remove. Plus, it doesn’t dig too much into the skin, so it will never cause discomfort to its user.
Common Causes of Neck Pain
As mentioned above, many conditions trigger cervical pain, producing minor to extreme discomfort. Below are some of the most common ones you must know.
Cervical pain commonly results from overusing the muscles in the neck region. It could be due to repetitive movements, strenuous activities, or lack of proper support.
One of the most common examples of physical strain is spending too many hours hunched over a computer or mobile device. Neck muscles, tendons, and other tissues can overstretch when tilting our heads at a certain angle for extended periods. This is common among working adults who spend most of their days sitting at a desk and with smartphone owners who use their devices with their heads tilted down. Other poor posture practices like slouching while walking or sleeping on the stomach can also lead to cervical pain.
Additionally, carrying heavy items, like bags or boxes, may contribute to neck pain. When you lift heavy objects, your body tends to compensate by using poor posture or bending the neck awkwardly to maintain balance. These awkward positions can strain and stiffen the neck.
Moreover, doing the same movements for specific tasks, like looking up while painting or decorating walls and ceilings, can overuse the neck muscles and joints. These repetitive tasks will result in inflamed or stiff neck muscles.
The aging process naturally causes wear and tear to a person’s body. As we age, parts of our cervical spine degenerate or deteriorate, leading to pain and discomfort.
Osteoarthritis is one of the most common degenerative or “wear and tear” conditions people may face as they age. In osteoarthritis, joints begin to break down, and the bones underneath start to change. These changes often affect the spine, leading to pain, tightness, and lower back and neck stiffness. In some cases, it can reduce a person’s overall motor function.
Meanwhile, repeated movement and strains as we age can lead to weaker spinal or intervertebral disks. These rubbery pads are found between the vertebrae and act as the spine’s shock absorbers, making it more flexible and pliable.
A herniated disk is when one of them slips out of the vertebral column, causing pressure on the spinal cord and its nerves. This condition creates an immense pain that starts in the back or neck and, in worse cases, moves into the arms or legs, limiting a person’s movement.
Stress involves many mental and physical responses to different stimuli. When stressed, our body’s natural reaction is to tense up to prepare ourselves for pressure or threats. This tension can affect our neck muscles, causing them to contract and tighten, which, when prolonged, can lead to increased stiffness and pain.
Stress can also affect how our bodies process pain. Studies found that it may contribute to a phenomenon called remote hyperalgesia, leading people to become more sensitive to pain, including those in the neck region.
Meanwhile, poor coping habits and stress can indirectly contribute to a person’s chronic neck pain and other health issues. These include smoking, drinking alcohol, and overeating.
Growths and other diseases
Certain benign or malignant growths can put uncomfortable pressure on various structures in a person’s neck. These include tumors, cysts, and bone spurs.
The autoimmune disease, lupus, can also cause cervical pain. People with this health issue often experience pain and stiffness, whether swelling or not, in areas like the neck, thigh, shoulder, and upper arm.
In rare cases, meningitis and certain cancers can cause neck pain. Meningitis is a severe viral or bacterial illness that causes inflammation in a person’s brain and spinal cord tissues, resulting in discomfort in the neck region. Meanwhile, such a sensation could also indicate underlying conditions like throat and thyroid cancer.
An injury to the neck could affect various crucial components, including muscles, vertebrae, nerves, spinal disks, tendons, and ligaments. Once any of these parts get damaged, it could cause issues like swelling, motion limitations, and pain in the neck region.
One of the most common causes of neck trauma is whiplash. It occurs when a person’s head snaps backward and forward abruptly. When that happens, the weight of the head strains the neck muscles.
Whiplash is typically a result of a car accident, often from a rear-end collision. However, there are instances where a faulty airbag deployment can cause whiplash to drivers and passengers.
Physical assault, slip or falls, and certain contact sports can also cause whiplash. Most people can recover from this type of injury within days or weeks. Meanwhile, severe whiplash can take weeks or months to heal.
Tips for Dealing With and Preventing Cervical Pain
Aside from investing in all the wonderful products mentioned above, you can alleviate or avoid neck pain altogether in many ways. Below are some of the most common ones you must try.
Practice proper posture
Achieving proper posture is one of the best ways to prevent neck issues. Generally, always keep your shoulders aligned and your back straight when sitting, standing, and walking.
Meanwhile, proper ergonomics in your workstation will help reduce the risk of cervical issues. For adults working desk jobs, positioning your computers is crucial to avoid strain. Adjust your monitors properly and set them at your eye level. Proper lumbar support and chair height could also play a crucial role in alleviating neck and back discomfort.
Looking down at your mobile devices for extended periods can strain your neck. To avoid neck pains from using your smartphones or tablets, you can raise them to your eye level or minimize their use.
When we answer calls and our hands are full, we sometimes tilt our heads sidewards to put our phones in place so we can hear properly. Avoid doing this to prevent holding your neck in an awkward position. You can use a hands-free device, like a headset or wireless earphones, to avoid answering calls in a way that strains your neck.
Stay physically active
Certain mobility exercises can help strengthen the neck, relieve pressure from the vertebrae, and prevent pain. Take the time to do short sets throughout the day to keep your neck muscles strong and healthy. If you have an existing routine, you can incorporate the ones below.
One of the most common exercises you can do is the chin tuck. This move stretches the side of the neck, particularly the muscles pulling the head back into alignment above the shoulders.
Another exercise you can do is the levator scapulae stretch. This long muscle that runs from the side of the neck to the shoulders is one of the most common parts susceptible to injury, tightness, and stiffness.
It would also help to take adequate breaks from your computer or smart devices. If your work involves sitting down all day, get up to move around and stretch your neck and muscles. This is also helpful after traveling for long periods.
Drink water regularly
Staying hydrated benefits our bodies in different ways. Many are unaware that intervertebral disks are mostly made up of water. That’s why drinking lots of it is crucial to keep these disks hydrated, nourished, and functional. Doing so will ensure the longevity of your spinal column’s strength.
Always follow the recommended eight glasses per day. You can keep a bottle with you throughout the day to make water accessible. You can also set an alarm every two hours to drink every time it goes off. Another excellent idea to hit such a target is to drink two to three glasses after every meal.
Fix your sleeping position
As mentioned above, even something as simple as sleeping can contribute to neck discomfort. Sleeping position and suitable pillows are crucial in preventing such an issue.
For instance, if you often sleep on your back or your side, using the right-sized pillow ensures that your head is aligned with the rest of your body, avoiding awkward positions that could strain your neck. Always sleep with one pillow. Using two under your head will lead to improper spinal alignment and neck discomfort.
Additionally, never sleep on your stomach. This position requires you to turn your head to one side to breathe, increasing your chances of developing neck issues.
Carry heavy items evenly
Many make the mistake of carrying a heavy bag on one side of their body, be it a shoulder bag, purse, or briefcase. If you do that frequently, your shoulders could become uneven, resulting in neck muscle strains.
If bringing heavy items to work or school is unavoidable, there are many options you can try to prevent straining your neck. For instance, exchange your shoulder bags for a backpack to distribute weight on your shoulders evenly.
Moreover, there are certain hacks you can do to distribute weight when using a backpack properly. One is to pack all heavy objects in the middle of the back to allow for a natural change in the spine, reducing discomfort. Another is to load heavy items in the side pockets or near the bottom of the bag to achieve better control over the weight.
Other alternatives are also available if backpacks are too heavy for both shoulders. These include luggage or convertible bags with wheels.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes. It should not be taken as medical or legal advice. Always consult with a qualified professional for any health or legal concerns.
Dealing with a neck injury from an accident?
Neck problems are often a result of physical strain and aging. However, they could come from horrible accidents caused by a negligent or malicious party. While there are self-care practices you can do to alleviate your neck pain from an injury, you must never let your case rest, especially if you’re a victim.
If you’re a victim of a car accident that resulted in a neck problem, you must seek legal assistance immediately. Know the proper actions against the responsible party, from drivers to car manufacturers. Visit The Personal Injury Center, and we’ll connect you with the right legal expert for your case.
Frequently Asked Questions on Neck Pain Relief Products
Does neck cracking cause neck pain?
Cracking your neck is generally safe if you do it correctly. It’s even beneficial. For instance, it eases pressure in the joints. However, doing it incorrectly or frequently can lead to issues like pinched nerves and muscle spasms.
When cracking your neck, always apply gentle stretches to get a satisfying pop. Never turn your head forcefully to crack your neck, as it can increase your chances of getting injured.
How long does neck pain recover?
Acute and minor neck pains typically heal within a few days to weeks. You can address these issues with self-care practices, like using cold therapy or avoiding strenuous activities. Meanwhile, chronic neck pain could persist for more than three months. The best thing to do is to seek professional advice to know what to do next.
When to see a doctor for neck pain?
Go to a doctor if your neck pain worsens or persists even after doing various self-care practices. You must also seek professional help if the pain flows down your arms or legs or if a headache, numbness, tingling, or general weakness accompanies it.
Can you take a pain reliever for cervical issues?
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are over-the-counter pain relievers that you can take for your neck problems, especially if it’s caused by inflammation. These medications include ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin.
While they’re widely accessible, it might be better to seek professional help first to know if NSAIDs are the appropriate medication for your neck issues.
Disclaimer: Last update on 2023-11-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.
This content is provided solely for educational reasons and should not be seen as medical guidance. It’s important to consult with a healthcare expert prior to making any changes to your health regimen, including dietary adjustments or the use of supplements.
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