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Published on June 22, 2018

7 Super Fast Remedies for a Pulled Muscle in Neck

7 Super Fast Remedies for a Pulled Muscle in Neck

Imagine if you could apply a simple strategy to stop feeling that stingy pain in your neck. That pain that made you utter “not again!” once you’ve crawled out of your bed in the morning.

Don’t worry! In this article, you will learn 7 super fast remedies for your pulled muscle in neck. If you follow some of these methods today, it will only be moments until you feel well and energized again.

The anatomy of a pulled neck muscle

First, let’s elaborate what a pulled muscle in your neck is. In the case of a pulled muscle in the neck, there are a number of things that can be done to facilitate healing.

Remember that after a neck strain, the muscles in the neck will often become tight, guarding the affected area and limiting motion and mobility. Anything that can be done to safely relieved muscle tension, improve range of motion and promote blood circulation to the affected area is therefore going to help the healing process.

Why busy people after 30 suffer from neck strain

Busy people after 30 are more likely to get a pulled neck. Professionals get injured not because of karma or other woo-woo magic but because of certain physiological adaptations in your bodies. Such as:

Increased stress levels

This should be old news until now: People that are psychologically stressed out are more likely to get injuries. Stress suppresses your immune system and elongates the wound healing process.[1]

The stress response therefore not only makes it more likely to get an injury, but also prolongs the healing process.

Muscle-loss

As a physically inactive person in your 30s, you start losing 3 to 5% of muscle mass per decade.[2]

Any loss of muscle mass matters because it makes you lose strength and mobility. The symptoms include a feeling of weakness and loss of stamina. The following muscle loss also makes it more likely to suffer from stress fractures as a key task of the muscles in your body are the resistance of mechanical stresses.

More prone to bad posture

Most professionals work long hours in a seated position. The muscle-loss, the stress and the long work-hours not only take their toll on your neck, they also take their toll on your posture in general.

Having a bad posture makes it more likely in the future to suffer from more stress fractures. This process can lead you to a downward spiral – if you don’t act and implement the following remedies:

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7 remedies to help facilitate the healing process

Each of these remedies provide a unique solution to your neck pain. I discovered these remedies through years of working in a fitness center, my continuing education and personal experience (people that get punched in the face often, such as martial artists – including myself – are more likely to experience neck strains).

1. Challenge your weaker self

I’m Thai-boxing for a total of 3+ years. Recently an advanced fighter and I had a sparring session. Towards the end of the first round, a devastating shot of him punctured my chin. Immediately, I felt a snap in my neck.

Going through two more rounds without the sensation of pain and going to sleep with no physical pain but a slight numbness in my neck, I had no grave concerns. Until I opened my eyes at 2AM, with a sweaty body to realize that my head is unable to move without strong pain. This happened a few more times that night.

When I first heard my alarm clock in the morning, the last thing I wanted to think about was movement. The best recovery process, my body was tempting me to believe, was to simply lay in bed for the entire day. This is not optimal. I disregarded that initial urge and crawled out of bed and went to work.

In the moment of a pulled muscle in neck, we have to realize that our body is overcompensating.

As we’ve seen previously, our organism is stiffening the whole area to prevent further damage. Yet this neglects the upsides in the healing process of controlled physical movement.

The first remedy to treat a pulled neck muscle is to know that you have to be slightly uncomfortable in the healing process. Challenge your weaker self – move well and move often. In the case of the neck strain in the boxing example, I was pain-free after 2 days.

2. Use hydrotherapeutic measurements

Every time I finish a hard training session, I treat myself to a cold shower.

In the process of hard weight-lifting, martial arts or endurance training, inflammation pops up in your body. We can counteract the overcompensating adaptations of your body by using hydrotherapeutic measurements.

Which means we use water to change our physiological state.

A great way to relieve neck strain is to alter a cold and hot shower in a 3 minute interval. This minimizes the recovery time in your injured tissue.

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Bonus Tip: Treat yourself to a hot bath with Epsom Salt. Epsom salt relieves muscle tension, stress and pain. The salt works by having a mixture of magnesium in it, that gets splitted out when first getting in contact with water. Add 5-10 Drops of lavender oil to the water for the extra soothing experience.

It’s also a great idea to take such bath before your sleeping time. This way you’ll relax your muscles, relieve stress and shorten the sleep-onset. The quality of your sleep will skyrocket, trust me.

3. Inspect your shut-eye time

A good night’s sleep can make or break your recovery time.

We, as living beings, need to feel relaxed on a deep level to alter the unconscious sleeping state. But to feel relaxed, we first need to feel secure.

A huge part in feeling secure is to alter your sleeping position. I just recently read Sleep: The Myth of 8 Hours, the Power of Naps… and the New Plan to Recharge Your Body and Mind from Nick Littlehale, an elite sport sleep coach with over 16 years of experience with elite athletes.[3]

According to Nick, the best position to decrease your recovery time is the side sleeping position on your non-dominant side. Apparently it makes your body feel secure and seems to be most efficient in guaranteeing a transition to deeper sleep phases – which is crucial in the healing process.[4]

    Your slumber is the time when your body is able to repair itself. Why not make the repair process the most efficient?

    4. Elongate your tissues

    Working on the computer in a cubicle goes against our evolutionary history.

    From living in trees millions of years ago to hunter and gatherers in Africa, from the agricultural revolution to the information age; human beings survived a variety of environments. Our brains are fast to adapt, our genomes aren’t.

    Our genome is made for the environment the grand apes were used to. The current immobile circumstances are hurting our movement apparatus at a deeper level. From problems in your lower back up until frequent occurring strains in your neck.

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    A good way to counteract these damages is to stretch at a regular basis. Stretching increases your blood flow and your range of motion. Warm up before every stretching session and start with the basic movements.

    Controlled stretching works as a preventive measurement for future strains and treatment method for current ones at the same time. Here’s a video to show you some stretches you can try at home:

    5. Infrared light therapy

    A newer invention in the world of injury treatment is infrared therapy.

    Infrared light therapy works by sending a beam of high energy, low heat, radiation to stimulate healing. The idea behind infrared therapy is that it stimulates the cells in a painful or damaged area to produce energy and improve function. The laser does not penetrate bone, so if neck pain due to a spinal condition is unlikely to be helped by infrared therapy.

    I’ve seen big improvements in my recovery after a muscle related injury by using an infrared sauna regularly.

    6. Alter your blood flow with ice packs

    Blood flow is important in relieving your pain because it decreases the time needed for the repairing process.

    Another tactic that we can use to alter your blood flow are ice packs. It’s best to cool the paining area right after the first symptoms. This way you can minimize the initial inflammation process.

    Ice packs are cheap to buy but work wonders, if they’re applied at the right time and place.

    7. Better your posture

    When thousands of years ago our common ancestor decided that we would be walking on two legs, our back (including our neck) developed into the weak link in our organism. Putting as little stress on that part of our body is key in living a healthy, long and strong life.

    One of the most important thing in this stress minimization is a good posture. Stand up straight and keep your chest out. In fact this is the first rule of Jordan Peterson in his book 12 Rules for Life.

    According to Jordan Peterson, standing straight is the first step to taking part in the dominance hierarchy. To present yourself as a high status individual that individual you know you truly are deep inside you, to strangers and family.

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    A great posture can not only increase our status in society, but also prevent and treat our neck strain. Make a conscious effort to stand as tall as you can with your posture (without standing on your toes). Literally, write this down on your to-do list and check it 3 times a day.

    If your conscious effort to stand straight isn’t bearing any fruits, go to the gym and train your upper back muscles. This made a great difference in my posture and health. You can hire a coach if you need more guidance on that part.

    You can also try these exercises to improve your posture: The Ultimate Exercises to Improve Posture (Simple and Effective) 

    We can lower the stress on your neck by having a better posture, therefore aligning our vertebrae.

    Summing it up

    As a busy professional, a pulled muscle in your neck can be an annoying hindrance on your daily chase of greatness.

    Although the rehabilitation of the neck strain can be fast and proven, it nonetheless makes sense to also spend time on the prevention. As the saying goes: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

    Yet as every savvy marketer knows, it’s much easier to sell pain relief than pain prevention. Most people would never take 15 minutes out of their day to better their health on a continuous basis. I urge you to be different.

    Consider all these tips and try to implement at least 1 in any shape or form in your daily routine. Maybe it’s an infrared sauna session after work, a cold shower in the morning or a better sleeping position during the night. What matters is consistency and sustainability.

    Let’s work for a pain-free future together!

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Florian Wüest

    Qualified and experienced fitness trainer and online coach.

    Why You Should Keep a Fitness Journal to Jumpstart Weight Loss The Truth Behind Rapid Weight Loss and the Best Way to Shed Pounds How Long Does it Take to Build Muscle and Increase Fat Loss? How Vegan Bodybuilding Diet Keeps Hunger at Bay While Plant Based The Biggest Myth Debunked: The More Protein You Eat, the Faster You Build Muscles?

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    Published on November 14, 2018

    Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

    Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

    With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

    For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

    In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

    Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

    Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

    It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

    For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

    Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

    Symptoms of Fatigue

    Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

    • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
    • mental blocks
    • lack of motivation
    • headache
    • dizziness
    • muscle weakness
    • slowed reflexes and responses
    • impaired decision-making and judgement
    • moodiness, such as irritability
    • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
    • reduced immune system function
    • blurry vision
    • short-term memory problems
    • poor concentration
    • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

    Causes of Fatigue

    The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

    • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
    • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
    • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
    • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

    Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

    Medical Causes of Fatigue

    If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

    Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

    Anemia

    Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

    Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

    There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

    Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

    Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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    This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

    Diabetes

    Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

    Sleep Apnea

    Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

    Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

    Thyroid disease

    An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

    Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

    • Lack of sleep
    • Too much sleep 
    • Alcohol and drugs 
    • Sleep disturbances 
    • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
    • Poor diet 

    Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

    • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
    • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
    • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
    • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

    Psychological Causes of Fatigue

    Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

    • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
    • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
    • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

    How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

    Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

    1. Tell The Truth

    Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

    To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

    Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

    The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

    One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

    • How you feel
    • What time of day it is
    • What may have contributed to your fatigue
    • How your mind and body reacts

    This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

    2. Reduce Your Commitments

    When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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    If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

    When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

    Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

    3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

    If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

    Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

    If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

    Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

    Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

    4. Express More Gratitude

    Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

    It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

    Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

    5. Focus On Yourself

    Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

    There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

    But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

    We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

    6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

    Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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    Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

    The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

    Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

    7. Take a Power Nap

    When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

    Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

    This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

    8. Take More Exercise

    The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

    Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

    The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

    You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

    9. Get More Quality Sleep

    To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

    Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

    My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

    10. Improve Your Diet

    Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

    Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

    On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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    To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

    Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

    Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

    11. Manage Your Stress Levels

    Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

    When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

    Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

    My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

    12. Get Hydrated

    Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

    Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

    If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

    The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

    The Bottom Line

    These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

    If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

    Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
    [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
    [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
    [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
    [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
    [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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