I realized today that I had forgotten a few other things that I do to try to ease pain. Another suggestion that doctors and physical therapists give, if you have a neck injury, is to wear a cervical collar for a given period of time to rest your neck from the weight of your head. When your head feels too heavy for your neck to support...it's a dreadful feeling. Wearing a cervical collar can take the pressure off of your neck for a while. I find that if I wear it for too long, though, my neck gets stiff and can sometimes hurt more. For this reason, I sewed my own cervical collar. At the time, I wanted something to wrap around my neck that wouldn't limit my range of motion. I got some fleece that I had in my fabric box (I just began sewing about 2 years ago) and traced the shape from my "Bean Yoga" neck wrap (I'll post a pic later in this post). When I made this it was when I was desperate for some pain relief so needless to say, I didn't have any stuffing that I had bought for this project. I looked around the house and found some cotton spider webbing from last halloween and put that inside. I sewed the wrap closed, added on an elastic strip with velcro on it...and placed the other velcro end on the other side. This allowed me to fasten it so that I wouldn't have to hold the wrap in place and was also loose enough that it wasn't constricting on my neck. I really like this thing. This is the "Bean Yoga" heated neck wrap that I traced for my neck pillow. I got it from my parents for my birthday a few years ago and it works pretty well. You just pop it in the microwave and strap it around your neck. You can order this and other wraps at http://www.beanproducts.com/ .
I also love, love, LOVE my tempurpedic pillow. I got this for Christmas about 5 years ago and I don't go anywhere without it! It took a few nights to get used to and I felt discouraged about using it at first. Once I had broken it in, it felt so good on my neck. Something I found a bit odd, if you leave your pillow in an area that is pretty cold, it begins to harden/freeze. So when I travel in the winter, I make sure to take it inside if I can. I definately recommend trying this or a similar pillow if you have neck or back pain.
This last product is more relaxation involved. I bought a lavender/vanilla pillow mist at Bath and Body works that is said to help you sleep better. The scent is supposed to be relaxing. If anything, it smells nice when you lay your head down to sleep. Anything you can do to help sleep a little better is worth it. It's something I can do as part of my routine to relax and get ready for bed.
Finally, I came across this while searching for the "Bean Yoga" neck wrap picture... I found it at www.want2care.com/elasto_gel_products.html . This wrap can be heated or cooled and I may check into getting it. I just thought some of you may be interested in trying it. If I get it I'll let you know what I think about it.