A stiff neck is commonly the sudden soreness around the neck making it hard to move or turn from side to side. Neck pain typically occurs with headache, shoulder, and arm pain. This happens when the neck muscles are strained due to several reasons. Continue reading if you want to know how to get rid of a stiff neck in the safest way. Take note that at Wayne Massage you can find options to relieve neck pain as well.
Causes of Stiff Neck
A lot of factors can result in a stiff neck, usually, this happens when the person has a bad posture or slept without neck support. However, daily activities and accidents can also cause neck pain. Some of the reasons why your neck hurt are as follows:
- monotonous movements
- poor sleeping habits
- incorrect posture
- sleeping without a pillow to support the head
- carrying something heavy with the neck
- pinched nerves
- injuries caused by accidents or sports
- damaged vertebrae (typically related to osteoporosis)
- a slipped disk
- spinal stenosis
If the stiff neck lasts for several days, it would be wiser to consult your doctor to prevent complications. It might be a sign of an underlying condition that you are not aware of. You may also experience other symptoms along with neck pain such as:
- Extreme pain in the upper shoulder even in a steady position.
- Neck muscles pain or spasms.
- Difficulty in turning head.
When To Visit The Doctor
A stiff neck is a very common problem that almost everyone encounters from time to time. But it can be a serious condition if the pain gets severe without treatment. Neck pain usually subsides in a few hours, but if the pain gets worse or is getting more painful every day, that’s a sign that you need to give your doctor a visit. It’s time to take it seriously if numbness, weakness, and unbearable pain in your arms and legs start to occur.
Your doctor will try to determine if your condition is severe by asking you the following questions:
- When did the stiff neck start?
- Were you recently injured?
- How do your arms and legs feel?
- How do you feel whenever you move your neck? Is it making the pain go away or is it getting worse?
- Do uncontrollable reactions such as sneezing and coughing make the pain bad?
You will be asked other questions depending on your response. But to make the diagnosis more accurate, certain exams like X-rays, blood tests, CT scans, and MRI will be suggested.
How Doctors Get Rid Of Stiff Neck
While there are plenty of home remedies for stiff neck, doctors use other methods for severe cases. You will be asked to use muscle relaxants if you have mild neck pain.
Others might need to undergo physical therapy to aid the pain and strains in the neck muscles. In severe cases, doctors advise patients to wear padded neck collars to provide support.
Worst case scenario, some patients even need shots of cortisone, if the mentioned treatments did not work, neck surgery will follow through.
The pain in your neck should subside after the treatments, ask your doctor if it’s safe for you to take medication such as aspirin or ibuprofen to make the pain more manageable. Swelling might also occur so prepare some ice packs that you can place on your neck for at least 2 to 3 days. A hot bath will also help in making the healing process more bearable. You may also ask your doctor how to properly stretch or exercise your neck.
Getting Rid Of Stiff Neck at Home
We usually experience a stiff neck in the most unexpected way. Minor neck pains can be easily solved with a few tricks that you can do on your own. See how you can get rid of a stiff neck with the easy to follow tips below:
- Apply an ice pack on the painful area. Leave it for 10 to 15 mins, or as you prefer, and repeat for the next 2 to 3 days. After that, apply heat by hot baths or heating pads to make the healing process much faster. Avoid falling asleep with an ice pack or hot compress in your neck to prevent skin reactions.
- You can take over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen.
- Keep moving but avoid extreme physical activities. Let the inflammation subside first before engaging in dangerous activities that might trigger your stiff neck.
- Search for safe neck exercises and make sure to do several rotations and side-to-side movements. This will smoothly stretch your neck muscles and reduce pain.
- If you have someone to take care of you, ask them to slowly massage your neck most especially the areas with the most soreness and pain.
- Use a pillow that’s specially made for neck support.
- If the symptoms persist, consult your doctor immediately.
Preventing Neck Pain
A stiff neck might be unavoidable on some occasions, but there are things that you can do to prevent its frequent occurrence. Follow these stiff neck prevention tips below and say goodbye to neck pain:
- Put your computer monitor at eye level. This will prevent you from tilting your neck downward or upward for a long period of time.
- Always stand or sit up straight. The secret is to have proper posture, practice having a correct stance at all times.
- Stretch your neck from time to time. Working in front of a desktop for a long period will eventually lead to many body aches, including neck pain, if you get the chance, do some stretching even just for a minute.
- When answering a phone call, avoid holding your phone between your ear and shoulder. Use a speaker or headphones if you will not be able to hold your device.
- Avoid carrying heavy backpacks or using your neck to support the weight.
- Try to sleep on your side instead of your back to give your neck muscles some time to rest.
Sometimes, no matter how hard we try to keep our body fit and healthy, some unavoidable things do happen. It’s still a good thing to keep ourselves well informed about home remedies for certain conditions like a stiff neck.