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Neck Pain Relief

If you're sick and tired of neck pain, you're reading the right article.  With over 20 years of clinical experience working with neck pain, I'm quite confident that if you follow the tips in this article, you will begin to feel dramatically better in the next  3 to 10 days. Within 3 weeks most of you will feel 65 to 100% better.  Here's how to do it.

To begin we need to answer the question: What's causing your neck pain?  If you have chronic pain, you must determine the cause of your pain and remove it.
For instance, if you're a receptionist and you cradle the phone between your ear and shoulder all day, that's probably the cause of your neck pain.
 Several other common reasons for neck pain are:
  • Poor Posture: Many people walk and sit with their head held in a slumped or forward position rather than
     held upright over their shoulders. This causes chronic strain in the neck, upper back and trapezius muscles (trapezius are the muscle which become tight and "knotted" at the tops of your shoulders).
  • Your computer monitor is too low: The center of your monitor should be just below eye level.  In addition try to sit upright while typing and using your computer.
  • Carrying a heavy back pack or pocketbook over one shoulder: In this case use both shoulder straps simultaneously or try switching shoulders often.
  • Age: As we get older we get stiffer and weaker. If becomes necessary to exercise and stretch your neck several times a week (perhaps daily) to maintain your spinal flexibility and strength.
  • Decreased range of motion: Check for this by looking in the mirror.  You should be able to turn your head about 80 degrees if you're below age 45 and 70 degrees if you're above. Now bend your head to the side, without turning it, by dropping your ear toward your shoulder.  This is known as lateral flexion. You should be able to laterally flex your neck 45 degrees if you're below age 45 and 40 degrees if you're above. If you have reduced range of motion, make sure to perform the stretches I will recommend below.
  • Herniated or degenerated discs usually with arthritis: For some people this begins from a trauma, for others it's a matter of age. Most of us above 50 will have some degenerative changes known as osteoarthritis in the joints of our neck. Research indicates that if you have osteoarthritis and/or degenerative discs, rest is not the answer. Folks with this common type of arthritis do much better with some gentle neck stretching  and exercise. Make sure to follow the exercise and stretch routines below.
Once you've found the cause of your pain the key is to remove it. For many of you it will be your posture in general and while at your computer. Work on sitting and standing with nice upright posture. It's better for you and more attractive. Reconfigure your work station so that the center of your monitor is about an inch below eye level. You can purchase a monitor stand that will raise up your monitor inexpensively at your local office supply store. A thick book or ream of paper also works well.  Good posture is one of the critical factors for healthy, comfortable, youthful aging.
Regardless of cause, if you are a chronic neck pain sufferer you will need to perform neck exercises and stretches at least 3-4 times per week. If you perform my Core Exercises it will help you to improve the strength of your neck and back muscles reducing pain and naturally enhancing posture. In addition, watch my video: Best Neck Stretch  and perform the recommended stretches regularly.   If you know that your posture is poor watch these two videos which will teach you how to correct it: Posture Exercise Neck and Posture Exercise Back


In addition nutrition can play a role. Unhealthy foods, like cake, candy, chips, wheat flour (whole wheat or white), pastas etc, increase inflammation in your system; while healthy foods, such as fish, fruits, vegetables, lean meats and some nuts and seeds reduce inflammation. See my articleDr. Levin's Anti-Inflammatory Diet  for more healthy eating tips.
Targeted supplementation can play a pivotal role in helping with neck pain.  The following list is what I call my "Healthy Joint Cocktail" as it helps to reduce inflammation, promote cartilage formation, promote joint lubrication, and promote connective tissue formation. I will list the nutrients in their order of importance.  All of these nutrients can be purchased on my website or you can do a search and buy them elsewhere on the Internet. 

  • Omega 3's: take at least 2,000 mgs of a combination of EPA and DHA per day.  Omega 3's do a wonderful job at reducing inflammation throughout your body. You will have to read the supplement facts panel as most fish oil supplements have only 300 mgs of EPA and DHA per capsule.  I prefer using both fish and krill oil as the krill oil seems to work better and faster at promoting joint comfort.  Recommendations: Krill Omega Combo Formula (1,000mgs of Epa and DHA per serving), EPA-DHA Omega 3 950 mg (with close to 900 mgs of EPA and DHA per capsule this is the most concentrated fish oil you will find without a prescription), Artic Pure Krill Oil. If you would like to read more about krill oil read my article: Krill Oil - Incredible Benefits.  My recommendations: If money is not the issue take 4 Krill Omega per day.  If you want to save a few bucks - use one EPA-DHA Omega 3 950mgs per day and 2 Krill Omega Combo Formula.
  • Vitamin D -Take 2-4,000 IU's in the summer and 5-10,000 IU's in the winter depending on your blood levels.  Shoot for an optimal blood level of 50,000 - 80,0000 ngs/ml (ask your doctor to check your levels on your next blood work).  Most of us are deficient in this vital nutrient as we can't make it in the winter and we spend too much time indoors overall.  Even when we do go outside we tend to use sunscreen which blocks the ultraviolet-B rays responsible for making vitamin D.  Vitamin D is important for so many body functions and helps us to feel more comfortable while promoting physical strength and balance.  Not only is vitamin D a super nutrient, it is one of the cheapest supplements you'll find. click here to buy. 
  • Glucosamine/Chondroitin- The body uses these molecules to help make fresh new cartilage and protect what's already there.  You can find many good brands.  Personally I take GC Flex from Purity Products because it also has an anti-inflammatory nutrient known as 5-Loxin.  5-Loxin has many good studies showing improved joint comfort on it's own and  combined with Glucosamine/Chondroitin seems to have additive positive benefits.  My patients find it to be very effective.
  • CTR Support (CTR stands for Connective Tissue Repair):  This natural anti-inflammatory features high levels of the "Big 3" natural anti-inflammatory herbs: Ginger, Turmeric and Boswellia, along with several others.  It is very effective and I take 3 everyday to promote healthy inflammation levels in my muscles and joints, click here to read more/purchase .
  • HA/Type 2 Collagen:  HA (hyaluronic acid) is a component of the natural oils in your joints called synovial fluid.  Doctors have been injecting HA into the knees of horses and people for years with excellent results.  Taken orally, HA supports healthy, thick, viscous synovial fluid production (oils the joints).  Type 2 Collagen is what makes up all of our connective tissues such as skin, bones, muscles, tendons and other joint tissues.  Many times when my patients take type 2 collagen for their joints they notice an improvement in their skin as well.  I use a product called HA Joint by Purity Products which combines HA along with Type 2 Collagen and adds some more 5 Loxin as well (take 3 per day but double up for the first month for faster results). 

In addition seeing a good chiropractor can help dramatically (ask around and find the one with the magic hands).  Most of my patients begin to feel better after their first treatment.  By normalizing the alignment, motion and function of the spinal vertebrae and surrounding muscles, chiropractic adjustments enhance spinal function making you much more flexible and comfortable.   A healthy flexible spine allows you to move better and feel youthful.

Putting all of these strategies together is incredibly effective.  Again, following the above protocol of: stretching, exercising, taking targeted nutrients, chiropractic care and improving your diet will help most of you and you should begin seeing results relatively quick.  

Best of luck and let me know how your doing. 

To Your Excellent Health,
Dr. Neil Levin, Chiropractor, Nutritionist, Fitness Trainer