Natural Remedies for Neck Pain

Jan 08, 2017

There is a reason that something irritating is called a "pain in the neck!" Neck pain can make daily tasks irritating at least and impossible at most. Natural remedies for neck pain include herbs, supplements, and myofascial release exercises.

Causes of Neck Pain

Sometimes you know what is causing your neck pain. Other times it strikes out of the blue, or you have had it for so long that you forgot what the initial cause was. Obviously, if the root cause of the neck pain can be determined, it is best to eliminate the cause.

Neck pain can be caused by injury or overuse. It can be cause by poor posture or scoliosis. It can be caused by a chronic health problem like arthritis or muscle problems. It can be caused by tension.

Modern use of laptops, frequent texting and ever some exercise programs put undue stress or positioning on the neck.

It is not uncommon for neck pain to radiate to other areas of the body. Headaches, jaw pain, back and shoulder pain can be secondary complications of neck pain.

Natural Solutions for Neck Pain

Myofascial Release Stretches

Myofascial Release stretches are one of the most effective ways to bring relief to neck pain and restore motion. Myofascial Release is a hands-on technique that involves applying light sustained pressure into the myofascial connective tissue.

These Earth Clinic videos featuring Erica Reid, a Myofascial Release Therapist from Los Angeles, will help you get started at home.

Front of Neck Pain Stretches Sides of Neck Pain Stretches Sides of Neck Pain Stretches Front of Neck Pain Stretches

Herbs

Turmeric

Turmeric is a popular natural anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. Turmeric can be taken in capsule form (typically 2-4 twice a day), or a teaspoon of turmeric root powder can be added to a glass of milk (dairy or alternative) and consumed twice a day.

Mullein

All parts of the mullein plant are gentle and useful for healing. The root of the plant is especially helpful for skeletal problems. Mullein root helps the body to produce more synovial fluid, making the joints move more easily and reducing stress and pain on the vertebrae in the neck. Mullein root isn't always easy to find. Mullein leaf tea, however, is usually readily available. Mullein leaf also helps with skeletal problems and pain relief.

St John's Wort

St. John's Wort is commonly used for pain. If you have nerve pain associated with your neck pain, St. John's Wort would be particularly useful. Because St. John's Wort is helpful for depression and anxiety symptoms, if you are experiencing neck pain due to stress, St. John's Wort may be the perfect remedy for you.

Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint essential oil is a cooling oil with anti-inflammatory properties.  It can be used neat (undiluted) along the spine on the neck for pain relief. Do be careful not to get the oil into your eyes. If you find the oil too strong, dilute it in some coconut oil before applying to your neck.

Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender essential oil is a relaxing and soothing oil. It can be used neat on the spine and muscles in the neck.

You can combine lavender and peppermint essential oil to get the benefits of both.

Home Remedies

Apple Cider Vinegar

Raw and organic apple cider vinegar is commonly used for pain and strains. It can be applied topically to the areas of pain. It can also be taken internally as a daily tonic. 1 tablespoon is added to a glass of water. This tonic can be taken once or twice a day.

Lime Juice and Baking Soda

Earth Clinic's Ted suggests lime juice and baking soda to help alkalize the body. Because the body feels pain more acutely when it is acidic, alkalizing the body helps with pain. Add 2 Tablespoons of lime juice to a glass. Add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. The solution will fizz. Then add 8-12 ounces of water. This tonic is quite pleasant to take.

Hot/Cold Therapy

Alternating warm and cool applications to the neck can relieve pain. Start with a cool cloth and apply it to the neck for 30 seconds. Then apply a warm cloth for 30 seconds. Continue to switch the cloths for 7 changes, beginning and ending with cool. It helps to have 2 cloths and 2 bowls of water, one warm and one cool. It is also helpful to have some else change the cloths for you, but it is something that you can do for yourself if need be.

Castor Oil

Castor oil, used topically, helps with pain. Gently massage castor oil into the pained areas of your neck. Do used old bed sheets and clothing with this remedy as castor oil can stain clothes.

Supplements

Magnesium

Magnesium is necessary for your muscles. It also helps your body to relax. Magnesium deficiency is common. Taking a magnesium supplement can help to relieve your neck pain. You can also use topical magnesium directly on your neck. Magnesium oil is sprayed onto the neck and will absorb into the neck.  If you find that it itches or stings, you can rinse it off after 20 minutes. By that time, you body will have absorbed plenty of magnesium.

Bromelain

Bromelain is an enzyme that derived from pineapple. It also effective for pain relief and to reduce inflammation. Many report that it works as well as an over the counter anti-inflammatory.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is important for collagen production and your skeletal system needs that! Vitamin C also acts as a natural anti-inflammatory.

B Complex

A deficiency in b vitamins can make stress or anxiety problems worse. If your neck pain is related to stress and tension, a b complex supplement may be part of the solution to your problem.

Choosing one or more of the above herbs, remedies or supplements (depending on your preference, availability and your own needs assessment) can help with the immediate issue of pain. If your neck pain is acute, it may be all that is needed.

However, if you have chronic neck pain you will also need to consider modifying some of your current habits, making relaxation a deliberate part of your life, and seeking help from a professional.

Habit Changes

Dietary Changes

A healthy diet will supply needed nutrients to your body to effectively restore and repair injured tissue. Consume a variety of whole foods. Avoid sugars, artificial sugars, white flour, and processed foods for the most part.

Hydration

Dehydration makes pain worse. Try the apple cider vinegar tonic or lime and baking soda tonic mentioned above. Drink plenty of water or herbal tea. Carry a water bottle with you to help you remember to drink throughout the day.

Posture Changes

If you spend a lot of time using a computer or phone, take frequent breaks to stretch. Make an effort to improve your posture when using electronics.

Improve your Sleep Position 

You may need to adjust your sleeping position to see which position(s) are best for you to minimize your pain. Oftentimes, back sleeping is the best for neck pain. If you sleep on your side you should not use a pillow that raises your head too high. Keeping your spine aligned while you sleep is best for your back and neck.

You may need to invest in a special pillow designed to reduce stress to the neck.

Relaxation Techniques

Cat Therapy

Sometimes the craziest sounding remedies work the best. Some have found that listening to a cat purring will reduce neck pain. Whether it is because the frequency of the cat purring has a benefit or if it is the relaxing effect of the purr, it is certainly a simple thing to try. Here is a link to Ted's Cat Purring Audio.


Epsom Salt Bath

A warm bath with 1 cup Epsom salt (and a drop or two of lavender essential oil if you like) is soothing. The Epsom salt, which is magnesium sulfate, absorbs into your body, which helps to relax the muscles. Water also has a calming effect.

Deep Breathing

Stress can cause shallow breathing, which reduces the oxygen supply to the muscles. Take a few minutes to stop thinking about your stresses, work, etc and breath deliberately. Sit up straight and inhale slowly through your nose. Then slowly exhale through your mouth.

Aerobic Exercise

Exercise helps your mood as well as your muscles. Regular aerobic exercise releases tension in your body, which in turn reduces pain. It also increases circulation needed to repair damage in your neck.

Alternate Health Professionals

Myofascial Release Therapist

Myofascial Release is a branch of physical therapy which focuses on relieving muscle pain caused by tight muscles. This gentle technique has brought relief to many neck sufferers.

Chiropractic

If your neck pain is caused by a misalignment of the spine, a reputable chiropractor should be able to realign your spine, bringing you relief.

Atlas Chiropractic

Atlas chiropractors are specialized in adjusting the "atlas." Your "atlas" is your C1, the first vertebra at the top of your spine. Often having your atlas realigned will help the rest of the spine "fall into place."

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an ancient healing technique that is still used today. It is another alternative option for neck pain.

Have you experienced neck pain? What remedies did you try? We would love to hear from you!

Additional Pages of Interest:
Stiff Neck



Apple Cider Vinegar  

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Posted by Iowama (Iowa, Usa) on 03/20/2015
5 out of 5 stars

After driving across country yesterday, it was no surprise that I spent all night with an aching neck. I had never tried the apple cider vinegar poultice on my neck until this morning, and it definitely did ease things quite a bit. Thank you for the posts about this remedy. I have just ordered a new foam cervical collar to replace one I left behind on a plane. As a suggestion to anyone who suffers from a sore neck from travel, you might read the Amazon reviews of this product. The price has come down quite a bit from what I remember paying a few years back.


Juicing  

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Posted by Scottso (Boca Raton, Fl) on 12/18/2016
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CURED. There is a post on this site under diabetes 'juicing' by someone named Ti in Houston, TX, answering someone else in Bangalore, India.

Not sure why I copied this remedy on 12/24/14, it somehow caught my eye in it's sincerity. So I have been sufferering from horrendous neck pain for the past two years. I have bought too many pillows to count. Wake up in the middle of the night and cannot go back to sleep. Morning after morning with horrific migraines, and pressure in my head so strong that I felt like my eyes would pop out of my head.

Just had a blood test around Thanksgiving, my blood sugar showed 146 in a 'normal range' of 50-99. I remembered this saved post about juicing for diabetes....I searched it and started doing it around the beginning of this month, on or about Dec 1. It's the juice blend that includes one cucumber, some celery, parsley, lemon and ginger, all organic, all juiced and the first thing into your stomach in the morning.

I have not yet returned for a follow up blood test...BUT, after 3 days of this juice blend, I no longer have neck pain. I no longer wake up with migraines. I no longer have my eyes popping out of my head. I no longer wake up in the middle of the night without being able to fall back asleep. I feel like I'm walking on clouds.

In all fairness, I want to say that after the first glass of this juice blend, I had no craving to drink coffee. Not sure how the fact that I stopped all caffeine intake would affect me, but the end result was positive.

GOOD LUCK.


Myofascial Stretches for neck pain  

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Posted by Bobbi (Vancouver, Wa) on 01/08/2017 1 posts
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I started getting the old familiar twinge in my neck after bundling up with turtle neck, collared vest, hoodie and a neck scarf to run errands in the bitter cold snap we have had this last week. This morning, after two days of agony and aspirin, Aleve and marijuana salve I turned to my old stand by, Earth Clinic. Watched the video on myofascial stretches, did it and have gotten instant relief. I had forgotten my own Mantra; "Always check EarthClinic first". Thanks again for the many remedies that have helped or cured over the years!!!

EC: Yea! Thank you for reporting that Erica's videos helped. We find the myofascial release work incredible effective.


Sleep Without a Pillow  

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Posted by Earthfirst (Chicago, Il) on 09/28/2009
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Neck Pain - Stiff Neck:

After a neck injury i got overdoing it at the gym i was unable to look left or right without terrible discomfort. i tried sleeping a few nights without a pillow and although it was a little uncomfortable to fall asleep i was mostly healed by the following morning. two additional nights of this and i was 100%. its worth a try if you have back pain too.


Ted's Cat Purr Recording  

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Posted by Koren (Nanaimo, Bc, Canada) on 11/04/2012
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I am still amazed that listening to a cat purring works. My neck was acting up again tonight. I did some neck stretches, but it just seemed to aggravate it. Then I remembered the cat purring, so I played it again (in repeat mode) and the relief was almost instantaneous. Try it. Thank-you once again Ted.


Towel Roll Neck Pillow  

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Posted by Michael (New Zealand) on 09/24/2016 126 posts
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When I have had neck problems in the past, I have sometimes got relief by rolling up a medium-sized, bathroom towel and using that instead of a pillow. You might not notice relief for a couple of nights/days but if you persevere you might be pleasantly surprised at the result. I found it was better to roll the towel lengthwise, as it was too bulky the other way round. The towel is placed under the neck rather then the head obviously. It takes a while for the muscles/joints/nerves to adjust to their new position and you to get comfortable. You may end up preferring the towel to the pillow!

Michael