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I have been suffering with severe neck and shoulder pain for a week. Should I see a chiropractor?

Posted by lornadoone

My doctor just told me to take ibuprophen and exercise the muscle with light massage. He also suggested to sleep on my back. I have never slept in this position and it's not easy falling asleep. I work at the computer and write all day. Just thinking about this doesn't make it easier to go back to work because the pain can be really intense. I write with my right hand and the pain travels down my right arm. It is hard to drive as well, since I can't look both ways quickly. Any other home remedies I can try?
Answers (1)
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Yes, I think it would be a good idea for you to see a chiropractor. They can find out if you have misalignments in your neck and upper back and treat accordingly. Here are some other changes that you can make at home to get rid of this neck and shoulder pain: 

1)      Do neck stretches at home: Here is a great link for this- Make sure that when you do these exercises, you are hold each stretch for at least 10-15 seconds.


2)      If you work on your computer regularly, then you have to make some simple changes to your workstation. For example, the height of your chair, the location of your computer screen. Make sure your viewing distance is 12-28 inches from the computer screen. Do you have padded armrests and have the ability to tilt your chair.  Then you are not straining your neck muscles to see what you are typing. Are you doing a lot of looking down while you are working? This puts a tremendous amount of stress on your neck and upper back. Consider getting a book holder to hold your documents. But most importantly change the ergonomics of your computer set up.  Here is a great link to see what your ergonomic workstation should look like. Just making 1 or 2 changes can make a big difference.


3)      Your doctor recommended ibuprofen. Did you know that there is a topical ibuprofen that you can use? . This is a great product that will work on your wonders on your neck and upper back, bypassing the digestive and senstive organ systems.


4)      Take breaks while you work- get up, walk around at least every 20-30 minutes. Do the neck stretches as explained in #1. Do breathing exercises. Roll your shoulder back and forth.


5)      Drink more water during the day- at least 8 glasses during the day. This will make you get up and go to the bathroom too….( taking a break from sitting in one position for too long)


6)      Your Dr mentioned to you that you should try to sleep on your back- Make sure you use a good neck support pillow that will align your head and neck while sleeping. Don’t use too many pillows to sleep that will bring your head and neck way forward. Check out the cervical traction neck pillow for sleeping, as it will allow you to sleep on your back and on your side- This pillow is not too hard, but firm enough to give you enough support when you sleep. Also, another way to make sleeping on your back more comfortable is to use a knee elevator under your legs while sleeping: It looks like this:


7)      Go for massage treatment to work out the muscle spasms in your neck and upper back- you can also use a home tens unit, and even use a topical cream like biofreeze for pain relief. Have them concentrate on the cervical paraspinals, suboccipitals, and trapezius muscles.


8)      Use ice on your neck and upper during the day. This helps to decrease inflammation and provides an analgesic effect


9)      Just Like I mentioned above, see a chiropractor- they will be able to provide you pain relief without medication. They can give you stretches and modalities such as Ice/heat in their office. You may have to go a few times in the beginning- but I think it will be well worth it.


10)  Get in the routine of doing a regular workout- swimming, yoga, tai chi, aerobic exercise- even the wii is great !  Stretching your whole body and using all of your muscles will keep you conditioned and flexible, therefore less chance of injury.

  Additional Resources:

How to Treat Tight Muscles at Home : 


How to Choose the Right Neck Pillow:


The Neck Pain Support BLOG:

 Remedies for a Stiff Neck: I hope this helps you out- Please contact me if you have any further questions.  
NOTICE: The information provided on this site is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on Wellsphere. If you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.
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