Neck and shoulder pain is an extremely unpleasant condition that can significantly affect your life.

Whatever the cause behind it, it’s recommended to consult a doctor.

But that’s not the only thing you can do.

Here are the 5 tricks on how to relieve neck and shoulder pain, which you can employ while following your doctor’s advice, in order to get even better results.

#1 Create Ergonomic Workspace

Pain in the cervical spine and shoulder areas is common for office workers and people who spend a lot of time working at the computer. If you’re one of them, it’s better to start combating it with rearranging your workplace:

  • Adjust the height of your monitor so that its center is at the level of your eyes. This will help keep your neck in a neutral position.
  • You also need to adjust your office chair so that your back is straight while sitting and your legs stand firmly on the floor.
  • The height of the office table should allow your hands to lay relaxed.

#2 Get a Suitable Pillow

An unsuitable pillow in some cases can lead to shoulder and neck pain. Here’s what you can do to find out if it’s the case:

  • Remember when you bought it. Typically, pillows should be replaced every 3-4 years. For cheaper models, it should be even sooner.
  • Make sure it isn’t lumpy or flat. Some pillows tend to lose their shape rather fast and their filling rolls into lumps.
  • Check if it matches your sleeping position. For, example, a flat pillow for sleeping on the side may put your spine out of alignment.
  • Track how you sleep. If it takes you longer to fall asleep than it used to earlier, and if you constantly toss and turn during the night, your current pillow might be uncomfortable.

“It is very easy to check if your pillow is to blame. Just spend a night on a different one. If you wake up rested and without a sore neck, you probably should throw your pillow away.”

Now, what pillows can be recommended for neck pain relief?

Cervical pillows have an irregular shape that allows keeping the head in one position. They are especially good for those who suffer from chronic neck pain caused by a chronic inflammatory process.

Feather pillows are very moldable, contouring your head, neck, and shoulders. Plus, the amount of filling in such pillows often is adjustable.

Memory foam pillows also perfectly adapt to the sleeper’s body and compensate for the load on the shoulders, which is especially important for those who sleep on their side.

If you’re not sure what will work for you, check out these pillows for neck problems recommended by Happysleepyhead. Any of them can be a decent choice to deal with your pain.

#3 Exercise

Physical activity helps maintain healthy muscle tone and elasticity. To relieve neck pain, try one of these ways to stay active:

  • Gym

Exercising in the gym can improve your muscle strength and endurance. A strong muscular corset will keep your spine in a neutral position and promote correct posture.

“Be sure to include chest muscle exercises in your workout. Strengthening them will eliminate slouching by creating a balance between the chest and the spine.”

  • Pilates

Pilates is a set of exercises developed to help people recover from injuries.

What could be a better way to save a sore neck?

In addition to strengthening the muscles of the back, neck, shoulders, and abs, Pilates also contributes to the elasticity of the ligaments, thus making your body more flexible.

  • Stretching

Stretching usually takes a few minutes, so it can be done at home or even at the office. If you only want to stretch your neck and shoulders, you can do this even while sitting at your table.

“In some cases, you can refer to alternative medicine. For example, acupuncture has shown excellent results in relieving chronic neck pain. Tiny-sized needles placed at special points on your body help it go into a state of deep and long-lasting relaxation.”

#4 Try a Different Sleeping Position

The sleeping position also affects whether you will wake up refreshed or with a sore neck.

Usually, those who are sleeping on their stomach — or, on their side without a pillow — suffer from a stiff neck and shoulders more often.

Why?

Well, lack of support for the head when sleeping on the side can squeeze some neck muscles. Prolonged squeezing is very likely to result in morning pain. And when you sleep on your stomach, you typically turn your head to the side. This creates a rotation in the neck, which additionally strains the muscles.

“Stomach sleeping is not recommended for a number of reasons, with one of them being the lack of even support for the whole spine (not only the cervical area). Therefore, it is better to switch to other sleeping positions.”

#5 Get a Massage 

Massage is a great way to warm up stiff muscles and direct the blood flow to them.

Besides visiting the therapist’s office, there are some other ways you can get a massage:

  • A hot shower with good pressure effectively relaxes the muscles. You can use it as a component of your relaxing routine before going to bed.
  • Vibrating massagers that use heat may also be a good option. Typically they have the size of a water bottle and are very convenient to carry around.

“Consistency is key. A good massage a couple of times a week will help achieve the maximum effect in relaxing and alleviating neck pain.”