5 Tips for Naturally Relieving Shoulder Neck and Back Pain
Neck and back pain are two of the most common ailments that affect Americans of all walks of life. According to Medicine, a peer-reviewed medical journal, at least 20% of adults will experience neck pain and at least 60% of adults will experience back pain at some point in their life that will hinder their day-to-day activities.
Straining to view your computer screen, sitting in the same position for long periods of time, lifting heavy objects, sleeping wrong, inflammation and experiencing prolonged stress are all regular culprits that contribute to neck and back pain. As a result, office workers, drivers and workers that do manual labor suffer the most.
If you’re experiencing pain in your shoulders, neck and back, instead of turning to pain medications with long lists of side effects, there are several natural solutions that can help ease your discomfort. Below are five natural ways to help alleviate shoulder, neck and back pain.
Avoid inflammatory foods. Certain foods can cause inflammation, which can trigger muscle and joint pain. Avoid processed sugar (found in candy and soda), gluten (found in baked goods and pasta), saturated fats (found in full-fat dairy and red meat) and alcohol. Instead, pack your diet with whole foods that reduce inflammation such as fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, legumes and spices.
Hydrate with electrolytes. Electrolytes such as sodium, magnesium, potassium and calcium are key minerals that control the electrical impulses that help contract and relax muscles. Drinking water is important because it helps detox the body, but if you only drink plain water without these important minerals, you are depleting your electrolytes (which is what provides actual hydration). Use electrolyte mixes or supplements that contain magnesium and potassium and are sugar-free. To ensure the electrolytes are optimally absorbed by your body, opt for Himalayan salt instead of iodized salt to help direct and balance sodium, and supplement with vitamin D3 and K2 for proper calcium distribution.
Fix your posture. Are you working all day hunched over in an uncomfortable desk chair? Leaning forward to view your computer screen can cause severe neck and back strain. Vary your environment so you aren’t spending all day in the same seated position; take breaks, walk around, lounge in a recliner or stand at a standing desk if that option is available. Exercises such as yoga and Pilates can also help improve your posture by increasing the strength and circulation in your neck, back and core.
Stretch your body. When muscles are held in one place for long periods of time, it reduces blood flow and causes the muscles to tighten and stiffen. Back and neck stretches can bring nutrient and oxygen-rich blood back to the muscles to relieve this tension. There are many simple stretches you can do at home (these can be found online or consult a doctor or physical therapist), just remember to ease into it to avoid straining your body. Going a professional stretch studio is also a great option. (There are several located throughout the Valley.)
Exercise regularly. Exercise releases endorphins, a type of hormone that is classified as an opioid neuropeptide; endorphins are natural painkillers that promote relaxation and calmness. Yoga and aerobic exercise are also a great way to stretch your muscles and increase circulation. Workouts that strengthen the muscles in your neck and back will also help prevent pain in the future.
By improving your shoulder, back and neck pain through these natural strategies, you can vastly improve your comfort, productivity and quality of life. If your pain persists, you could have a serious injury and you should contact a healthcare provider.
Justin Marsh is the CEO of Arthur Andrew Medical, a Scottsdale-based manufacturer of enzyme and probiotic based dietary supplements. Arthur Andrew Medical’s products are rooted in science with no processing agents or fillers. They are dedicated to conducting extensive research and clinical applications with dietary supplements for the advancement of natural health alternatives.