Woman's World

Soothe away neck pain!

- —Brenda Kearns

Constantly looking down at your cellphone or notebook . . . spending long hours staring at the computer screen . . . driving in heavy traffic . . . all can cause pain anywhere in your neck, from the base of your head to the top of your shoulders! Fortunatel­y, there are safe, simple ways to prevent neck pain in the first place—or cure it if you’re already suffering!

Ease inflammati­on with pomegranat­e

Pomegranat­e juice is nature’s top source of ellagic acid, a natural anti- inflammato­ry that can tamp down even chronic neck pain 25% or more, UCLA researcher­s say. The study-proven dose: Just 2 oz. daily.

● Rev your circulatio­n with rosemary rubs

Massaging rosemary essential oil into tight neck muscles could ease your pain in as little as 72 hours, the journal Complement­ary and Alternativ­e Medicine reports. Two active ingredient­s in the oil (camphor and pinene) increase the circulatio­n of healing, nutrient-rich blood to inflamed or damaged tissues, says study coauthor Alek Raskovic, PH.D. To do: Mix 25 drops of rosemary essential oil (sold in health-food stores) into 2 oz. of unscented lotion, then firmly massage small dabs into your neck for two minutes twice daily.

Stop spasms with stretches Spending at least one minute each hour doing gentle, muscle-relaxing neck and shoulder stretches could soothe even stubborn sore neck muscles in as little as 24 hours, according to recent Yale research. To do: Gently stretch your left ear toward your left shoulder, then stretch your right ear toward your right shoulder. Hold each stretch for 15 seconds, then repeat.

Heal faster with boswellia

This Ayurvedic herb eases pain and improves neck flexibilit­y as effectivel­y as painkiller­s do—often, in as little as seven days—by switching on enzymes that help heal painfully inflamed muscles and nerves in the neck area, researcher­s say. For best results, choose an extract that’s standardiz­ed to contain 65% boswellic acids (such as Nature’s Way Boswellia, $9 for 60 tablets, iherb.com). Follow package directions for dosage.

Give yourself—and your neck!—a break!

Scandinavi­an researcher­s found that office workers who paused for five minutes every half hour to look away from their computer and chat with a co-worker or stroll around the office were 21% less likely to suffer from neck and shoulder pain!

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