Unless diagnosed as a serious medical condition, the problem of stiff neck is easy to identify. When a person feels difficulty in moving the neck sidewise and backward and has soreness in the neck, this condition is known as stiff neck. Stiff neck may be accompanied by arm pain, headache or shoulder pain.
The symptoms of neck stiffness usually last for few days or for a week and sometimes reoccur. If left untreated, the neck stiffness tends to become a chronic condition. In most cases of acute neck stiffness, one can overcome it due to restorative and durable characteristics of the cervical spine.
The muscle sprain or strain, particularly strain on levator scapula muscle located at back and side of the neck is the most common cause for stiff neck. This is because the muscle that connects the cervical spine (neck) with shoulder is levator scapula muscle.
This Painful Body Condition May be Caused Due to Following Reasons
- Poor neck posture while working or watching TV
- Odd Sleeping position at night
- Injuries occurred during sport activities
- Activities that requires lot of head movement
- Resting the neck in odd posture for a longer period
- Whiplash in the neck due to car accident
Treat Your Painful Stiff Neck with Natural Remedies
Generally, stiffness in the neck muscles heals within two to three days. There are some self-care remedies that can help to get relief from pain and stiffness of neck. These remedies include:
Apply ice pack after every 20 minutes to reduce inflammation and heal the area. Applying cold pack brings quick relief from pain and stiffness in the neck by providing a numbing effect.
Just like cold pack, applying heat stimulates the blood flow and brings relief. You can use a heat wrap like thermacare available in drug stores or simply take a hot bath or shower.
Let the hot water hit the muscles of your neck. Along with this, do some light neck stretches like slowly bringing your chin down to your chest or moving your head by turning it towards right and left shoulders alternatively. Also try to rotate your neck to the left and right sides.
Performing neck stretches 3-4 times a day will help to loosen up the muscle, increase the range of motion and decrease pain and stiffness. For applying heat you can also make a rice bag using white rice and flannel. Put the bag for 2-3 minutes in the microwave and apply the moist heat to get relief from stiff neck.
If you have muscle spasms due to stiff neck and you are having difficulty in turning your head, use a natural pain relieving gel. It can be in used before or after using ice pack. To stimulate blood flow, massage gently. Massaging the affected area with lobelia extract is also a good remedy.
For quick respite, take lobelia and cayenne.
Squeezing your shoulders up near the ears and holding for 10 seconds and then releasing them also helps to relieve stiff or tight neck.
Get your cervical x-ray done to find if there is any problem regarding alignment of neck or degeneration of cervical spine. A chiropractic therapist can help in this condition.
If you often suffer from stiff neck, get a cervical traction neck pillow available in the market. This type of pillow helps to keep your head and neck aligned correctly when you sleep at night.
Sleeping on stomach or any other awkward position often contribute to stiff neck by putting pressure on muscles of neck, spine and the cervical nerves.