How to Treat Neck Pain From Covid?

The coronavirus pandemic has led to an increase in neck and shoulder pain for many people. With more hours spent working from home hunched over computers, scrolling on phones, and less movement overall, neck muscles can become strained and tight. This “tech neck” caused by poor posture puts extra pressure on the neck, often leading to painful muscle knots and stiffness.

If you’re experiencing neck soreness, achiness, or spasms from staying home more, there are several easy ways to find relief:

Apply Heat

Heat helps relax tight muscles and increase blood flow. Try using a heating pad, hot towel, or warm compress on the sore areas for 10-15 minutes a few times a day. The warmth loosens up knots and reduces inflammation. Just be careful not to burn or overheat the skin.

Use Cold Therapy

Applying something cold can alleviate acute neck pain and swelling. Wrap ice cubes or a cold pack in a thin towel and place it on the painful spots for 10-15 minutes every few hours. Icing decreases muscle spasms and numbs soreness. Don’t apply anything freezing directly on the skin.

Try Neck Stretches and Exercises

Simple neck stretches can provide relief by gently lengthening the muscles. Slowly tilt your head to each side, turn to look over each shoulder, and bend forward to stretch the back of the neck. Avoid overstretching. Do a few neck rolls as well. Targeted exercises like chin tucks can also strengthen the muscles.

Improve Your Posture

Make sure you maintain proper posture as much as possible when sitting at your workstation. Keep your ears, shoulders, and hips aligned, look straight ahead at eye level, and avoid hunching or craning your neck forward. Use a supportive chair and consider placing your computer monitor on a riser. Also take frequent breaks to get up and move.

Massage With Essential Oils

Massaging the neck and shoulders aids circulation and helps relax the muscles. Use a few drops of peppermint, lavender, or eucalyptus oil mixed with a carrier oil to enhance the soothing effects. Or find relief using a handheld massager on the tight areas. Apply moderate pressure and avoid overdoing it.

Consider Over-The-Counter Medication

For acute flare ups, an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen or naproxen can temporarily alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. Acetaminophen may also help take the edge off. Use medication sparingly and as directed.

See a Physical Therapist

If home remedies aren’t providing lasting relief, make an appointment with a physical therapist. They can assess mobility issues and provide specialized stretches, exercises, massage techniques, and other treatments to properly target the affected muscles and joints. This can help strengthen the neck and prevent future problems.

The neck pain caused by increased device use and inactivity during the pandemic doesn’t need to drag on. With a combination of heat, ice, stretches, posture fixes, massage, medication if needed, and possibly physical therapy, you can say goodbye to the nagging stiffness, tension, and soreness. Paying attention to ergonomics and moving more in general will also keep tech neck from returning once things get back to normal.