According to the American Academy of Pain Medicine, Americans said that neck pain was on their top four list of common pains. All of us have experienced a stiff neck at some point in our lives.
What is a Stiff Neck?
It’s when you experience pain or stiffness in the neck that makes it difficult to move your neck from side to side. It’s a pain that can usually be treated at home and will pass in a day or two with the right treatment.
Common Causes of a Stiff Neck
One of the most common causes of a stiff neck is stress. Stress can cause the muscles in the body to tighten, which can eventually lead to stiffness and pain. People normally experience a stiff neck as well as a headache from stress. It can also radiate down into the back and shoulders too.
It’s possible to wake up with a stiff neck from sleeping in a bad position. If you end up with neck pain occasionally, you might need to replace your pillow. Harvard Medical School suggests using a memory foam pillow for better sleep.
If you spend your day on the phone, tucking it between your head and shoulder can result in neck pain as well as a stiff neck. Use an intercom system or a headset for phone calls instead.
Fix for a Stiff Neck
A quick, 60-second fix for your neck pain can be done at home. With the hand that’s on the same side as the stiff neck, press directly into the pain. While pressing into the muscle, turn your head in the opposite direction. This helps to relax the muscle. Repeat that pressure and extension of the neck up to 20 times until it starts to feel better. Do this throughout the day to get relief from your stiff neck.
If it’s tough to press against the pain, you can use a tennis ball to create the pressure when pressed against a wall. Place the ball against the muscle and lean against the wall. While holding that in place, turn your head away from the side of the neck that hurts.
Relaxing the Neck Muscle
This is a great stretch for relieving stress and tight muscles. While sitting up straight in a chair, press your shoulder blades together then relax. This should be done up to ten times. Roll your shoulders in circles to the back then reverse at least ten times. With slow movements, press your ear towards your shoulder on each side. Do as many repetitions as you need to start feeling the muscle releasing.
Blood circulation to the neck can decrease the pain and muscle spasm associated with a stiff neck. You can use a heating pad or a warm cloth on your neck for approximately twenty minutes to relieve the pain and stiffness. The heat loosens the neck muscles.
Massage the Muscle
A good massage of the area can also reduce inflammation and increase blood flow to the muscles. A soothing oil for the massage will also have the added benefit of helping you to relax and feel less stressed.
Exercises for a Stiff Neck
Like every other muscle in the body, the neck muscle needs to be exercised to function properly. Slowly roll your head in a circle clockwise ten to fifteen times before switching directions and circling counter-clockwise. This will help exercise the neck. Let your chin drop to your chest slowly then reverse direction to look at the ceiling. Be careful with this exercise since it can make you slightly dizzy if you do it too quickly.
Warm Bath with Epsom
Fill the bathtub with warm water and 2 cups of Epsom salt. The compound, magnesium sulfate, in Epsom salt is used to help ease sore muscles. Soak in the tub up to your neck for up to 20 minutes to relieve the stiffness.
A stiff neck can be quite painful and limit your neck’s range of motion. With these exercises and solutions, you won’t have to suffer from a stiff neck for very long. In combination, these solutions could fully alleviate neck stiffness completely.
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