Here’s a list of 6 easy things you can do if you have slept a bit funny and you woke up with a sore neck.
1. If possible, apply a warm flannel.
Only applicable if there is NO INFLAMMATION. You can use a small towel, put it in hot water, wring it out and apply to the neck. There are also some lavender pillows that you can put in the microwave. Some patches warm up when applied to the skin and you can get them at your local chemist. However, if you, like me, have sensitive skin/psoriasis/eczema and are prone to allergies, CHECK THE INGREDIENTS FIRST. I got a violent allergic reaction to the ingredients of a stick-on heat patch once and I won’t repeat the same mistake again.
2. Gentle stretching.
The aim is not to click your neck but to slowly elongate the muscles that had stiffened up overnight. The key is to make the movement extremely slow and continuous without straining. Stretch the neck on both sides tilting your head to the left and to the right. As a second round of stretches, tilt your head down and to the side and slowly lower it to stretch the muscles at the back of the neck. Watch my video tutorial for neck stretches to release tension.
3. Take magnesium.
A magnesium supplement acts as both a pain killer and muscle relaxant. Don’t expect miracles or immediate results but over time it will help. Also have a bath with Epsom Salt which is rich in magnesium.
4. Alexander Technique.
The best tip I was ever given by Alexander Technique practitioners is to lie on the floor with the head resting on a book. Bend your knees and try as much as possible to flatten your lower back. Gravity will do all the work giving your neck a gentle stretch while relaxing and “hydrating” the spinal cord as the traction helps to elongate the neck giving muscles and nerves some needed relief.
5. Check your pillow.
Professional massage therapist Barry Hatfield explains: ” Pillows flatten out and their shape changes with use over time. How long have you had your current pillow? That pillow that was so nice when it was new has put in its time and may need to be retired if it is not as fluffy or firm as it once was.”
Book an appointment with a professional massage therapist. Do your research and look for good reviews, check all qualifications and ask for recommendations. Ask your therapist to create a tailored programme mixing different techniques, for example deep tissue and myofascial release.
Take care of yourself and your body will be grateful for it.
Recommended Reading: Confessions from the Massage Couch