Neck pain is a particular hazard in this scenario. Medical helps can be pricey though, so to supplement my chiropractic appointments—and keep myself sane and pain-free the other six days of each week—I’ve also been researching low cost home helps I can do on my own in between adjustments. I hope this research can help you too!
Note: If your neck pain persists or becomes more severe, or if you are already under a physician's care for neck and back pain, be sure to ask your doctor for guidance before trying these helps.
1. Find those pressure points and breathe them out
For this, you will need an old-school pencil (the kind that needs sharpening in a real pencil sharpener and comes complete with an eraser on one end).
Here’s what to do:
- Feel around on your neck to find that one spot that hurts the most.
- Take the eraser-end of your pencil and press into that spot.
- As you continue pressing, take a deep breath in and out.
- Rotate the eraser a bit to continue working out the pain while breathing deeply in and out.
- Continue pressing for 90 seconds.
- Repeat as needed.
2. Smoke out your pain with ginger
Ginger is not just a tasty spice for foods—it’s also a powerful, natural, anti-inflammatory agent. Ginger's oils work right at the tender point to ease inflammation. Depending on your lifestyle and preferences, you can add ginger to your diet in any number of ways.
- Drink hot ginger tea.
- Take ginger capsules or tablets.
- Chew on ginger candies (you can find these at any natural foods store).
- Eat your favorite ginger-spiced bread or muffin.
- Juice raw ginger root with your smoothie.
3. Rub on some menthol
Menthol isn't just to ease chest congestion anymore. The cooling effect of menthol rubs can also act as a powerful source of instant relief for neck and back pain. You can also use the traditional remedy of alternating 10 minutes of ice and heat, but if you are on a deadline, menthol can accomplish the same without requiring you to leave your desk (or walk around the office with an ice pack balanced on your shoulders).
4. Apply essence of lavender or peppermint oil
Lavender has a natural relaxing effect. Often, when there is a body part in pain, we reflexively tense up the muscles around the painful spot to try to protect or contain it. This, of course, just makes the pain worse. There are several ways you can take lavender or peppermint oil.
- Drink lavender or mint tea.
- Dab a few dots of lavender or peppermint essential oil onto painful pressure points.
- Breathe in lavender or peppermint essence (such as by lighting a candle).
- Add some fresh peppermint or lavender and honey to a scoop of plain vanilla ice cream (because, of course, ice cream makes everything better!).
- Buy a lavender or mint plant for your desk.
5. Generate some heat with chilies
Not only does the hot-hot-hot of fresh chili peppers or chili powder prove very distracting from any other areas that feel sore or tender, but chili itself contains capsaicin, a nerve agent that can literally deactivate your pain sensors for up to five weeks! Here are some great ways to enjoy chilies.
- Opt for the extra-spicy salsa with your chips.
- Rub on topical capsaicin.
- Breathe in essence of capsaicin or fresh chili peppers.
- Take capsaicin capsules.
6. Touch your toes
There are many reasons why your neck might become sore or tender. One reason is constriction in seemingly unrelated muscles groups—such as the feet. Here are some ways to use the natural pressure points in the feet and toes to ease neck pain.
- Sit on the ground and stretch your legs out straight in front of you. Bend over at the waist as far as you can (keeping your tummy loose) and grab onto each big toe with your thumb and index finger. Stretch.
- Take each foot in turn in the opposite hand. Use the same-side hand to gently bend toes in all four directions. Then massage the balls, arches, and heel area. Finally, massage the Achilles tendon area.
- Sit in a chair or on the floor and stretch your toes out away from your body as far as they can go (without any other help from you).
7. Go for a swim
Swimming is one of the best exercises to work out pain in the head, neck, shoulders, and back. If you can find a heated pool to swim in, even better!
8. Use ice—but not where you might think
Pain displacement can be an effective technique to reduce or eliminate isolated pain, such as in the neck region. Try placing an ice cube or small ice pack over your ears, between the thumb and index finger near the thumb pad, on the feet, or even across the forehead. This targets common pressure points and also helps ease areas of constriction that may be feeding into your neck pain.