Every second person faces the problem of stiff neck in daily life as it can be caused because of several small factors such as sleeping in an awkward position, sitting in front of a computer without moving your neck for a long time, cervical pain, carrying heavy loads or straining muscles because of the wrong posture. There can be several other factors of having stiff neck rather than of wrong posture such a stress, any kind of injury, anxiety or trauma that can affect your neck.
Stiffness in muscles can be caused also because of muscle fever or disease like rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis/infection or cancer. Although this stiffness is unbearable and restricts you in several works but don’t worry it lasts for few days or in worst condition for a week.
Here we are discussing the causes and symptoms of stiff neck to get a better knowledge of it:
The major or the most common cause by far is the muscle strain or soft tissues sprain that leads to stiffness of the neck. There is a muscle located at the back of the neck called as levator scapula which is the major factor in causing stiffness of the neck. This muscle makes a connectivity between cervical spine with the shoulder that fully completely controlled by cervical nerves. If this muscle displaces a bit or the tissues in it get shrink then it can cause the problem of the stiff neck.
But this elevator muscles can be strained because of any of the reason or activities that we do in our day to day life such as:
- Not using pillow support and comfort properly can make neck muscles stiffen.
- Sports injuries or sudden head movement can cause neck stiffness problem.
- By doing exercises in a wrong way or by putting excess pressure on neck while doing exercise can also cause stiffness such as: while doing crunches you need to take care of your neck as it needs to pulled up every time you do it so it needs to be done in a very gentle manner so that we don’t end up getting a strain on our neck.
- Maintaining right posture is also important to avoid stiff neck problem such as: slouching while viewing T.V, computer monitor, or at the phone for prolonged periods can cause problems.
- Driving for long hours is also a one of the reason.
- Thinking so much, taking excessive stress can also lead to cause tension in the neck.
Issues arise because of cervical spine:
Cervical spine is that major factor that leads to the neck stiffness and this strain can also be a reaction to the underlying disorder in cervical spine that includes:
Cervical osteoarthritis: This disorder occurs along with regressive conditions like spinal stenosis.
Cervical herniated the disc and other disorders.
Meningitis is a bacterial infection that infects the protective membranes of the brain and spinal cord and causes stiff neck problem. Meningitis can occur if a stiff neck problem arises with high fever, headache, nausea or vomiting and some other symptoms can be a reason of meningitis.
If in any case, stiff neck appears in conjunction with fever then it is advisable to look for urgent medical treatment as it may cause these kinds of problem.
A stiff neck can be characterized by the pain and difficulty moving in a neck, soreness, inability in the head turning and some other factors.
Although characteristics of the stiff neck do not last long than a couple of days or week but the pain that ranges from mildly painful to extreme pain can cause you many problems by restricting in doing several works. So it is often reasonable to seek medical attention or following these simple home remedies that we are going to discuss now even for mild symptoms also.
As now we have discussed that there can be several reasons of your stiff neck and it is not easy to bear the pain of stiff neck for so long. So to help you finding relief with the stiffness of neck and for preventing the condition from ever happening again, we are providing you with few amazing home remedies that you can try and get good results such as:
Acupressure is the easiest way to get rid of the stiff neck as it doesn’t need any ingredient or any extra effort for treatment it just needs you to follow some points. Here, the Luo Zhen is the name of acupressure point that you will find on the back side of hand between the knuckles of the forefinger and middle finger in the depression. If you are feeling the stiffness of neck in right side then massage the point by making a circle in the left hand and vice-versa. Massaging this for several minutes with a forefinger tip can relax you with the neck problem.
2. Apple cider vinegar:
To treat a stiff neck all it needs are antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that present in apple cider vinegar. Moreover, it also works as prevention for muscle strain but for making this you have to follow these easy steps:
- Put a paper napkin in raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar for few minutes then place it on the affected area and leave it for few hours. By using this twice a day can show great healing properties.
- Another method is to add two cups of apple cider vinegar with lukewarm water and soak your neck in it for at least 15 minutes or maximum 25 minutes once in a day until you get completely recovers.
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Soaking the affected area in Epsom salt shows great healing effects as the Epsom salt has magnesium that releases the contracted muscles. This therapy is so simple to follow by doing these few easy steps:
- Add 2 cups of Epsom salt to a warm bathtub full of water.
- Soak your neck in the bathtub for at least 15-20 minutes to heal it quickly.
4. Neck exercises:
Doing neck exercises is as easy as following any other remedy and it relieves tension caused by strained neck muscles and just needs you to follow some steps:
- Sit straight while keeping body relaxed.
- Move your head forward and backward for 20 times.
- Then move your head in the left and right direction, repeat these motions for few minutes.
- Then make a circle with head in clockwise direction 10 times and vice versa without turning your body.
- Please make sure that you do these exercises in a very gentle manner so that it doesn’t hurt you much.
5. Peppermint oil:
Peppermint oil has all the ingredients in it that can be required to soothe stiff muscles of the neck. Along with this, it has the analgesic property that helps in reducing pain.
How to use:
- Mix few drops of peppermint oil with 2 teaspoons of olive it in a jar and heat it for few minutes. Then massage your neck with this warm oil for few minutes and twice in a day until you see the results.
- Another option is to add few drops of peppermint oil in a bowl full of cold water. Soak a clean cloth in that water and then apply it on the affected area for few minutes. Repeat this process twice in a day.
6. Heat therapy:
Initially, you can try cold compress and if you are not getting any kind of relief within 24 hours of using it then you can use heat therapy as an alternative option. In cold compress, you use ice packs that limit the buildup of lactic acid that causes soreness while in heat compress we use things like the hot water bottle, heating pad, heat wrap or hot towel that relaxes the muscles and allows the blood to flow.
Applying a heat compress on the affected area for at least 10-20 minutes shows great results and repeating this process 3 or 4 times in the day can heal the affected area within 24 hours. Heat therapy relaxes muscle spasms, reduce chronic pain, and improve circulation, deep F.I.R penetration.
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7. Manual cervical traction:
Anything that needs to be done to safely alleviate neck muscle strain, improves the motion of neck along with increasing blood circulation in affected area and it is going to help the healing process. In this process, you need a person that can help you to apply gentle traction to the neck for relaxing the tight muscles.
The main aim behind this traction is to apply pressure by improving blood flow to neck muscles and allowing compressed nerves or blood vessels to be released.
Simple way to do this:
- Lie down on your back by relaxing your body, and then place a folded towel under the end part of your neck.
- Gently pull the towel straight towards them. Ask your friend to hold the position for at least 3 minutes.
- Repeat the exercise twice or thrice a day until you get some relief.