Before we jump to the treatments for a stiff neck, it is better to understand stiff neck causes and the reasons for a stiff neck problem.
Stiff neck happens when you find it difficult to move your neck to the side and feel soreness in your neck. If you are facing a stiff neck, it may also lead to arm pain, neck pain, shoulder pain and headache.
Stiffness causes trouble when you try to move your neck, your neck becomes so stiff that the person needs to turn towards the side to look in that direction.
The reasons for the stiff neck are soft tissues, sprain and neck muscle strain. This also causes pain and difficulty in moving their neck. The stiff neck can happen due to sleeping in the wrong position that might put pressure or sprain in the neck muscle. The stiff neck also happens while doing some strenuous activities like moving furniture.
The severe stiff neck takes time to heal, but in normal cases, stiff neck heals naturally within a week. The time of the recovery also depends upon the management and care of the stiff neck symptoms.
What are the general reasons for the stiff neck?
– One of the common causes of the stiff neck is a sprain in the soft tissues or neck muscle.
– The levator scapulae muscle is more likely to get injured in such cases.
– The levator scapulae are found in the side and back of your neck. This is the muscles that connect your shoulders with neck’s cervical spine.
– There are 2 nerves C3 and C4, these third and fourth cervical nerves help to control scapulae muscle.
Activities that may lead to strain in the levator scapulae are:
- When you sleep in a wrong position, this might lead to the reasons for a stiff neck.
- If your neck gets injured while dancing or during a sports injury.
- Forcefully turning your head towards the side while doing any activity.
- A stiff neck can also happen while swimming because when you swim you turn your head sideways and when you do this, repeatedly this may lead to a severe stiff neck problem.
- Working on a laptop or phone while looking downwards for a long time may also lead to the reasons for a stiff neck.
- Even if you are stressed or suffering from anxiety, this can be a reason for stiff neck or tension in your neck.
- Keeping your phone between the shoulder and neck for long hours can also be a reason for stiff neck.
What are some uncommon reasons for a stiff neck?
In some cases, stiffness in the neck happens because of the cervical spine disorder. The cervical spine helps in the movement for the neck and also supports your neck. This also protects the spinal cord.
Other reasons for a stiff neck are:
- Cervical osteoarthritis.
- Cervical degenerative disc disease.
- Cervical herniated disc.
Infection and tumour can also result in a stiff neck.
What are the symptoms of a stiff neck?
- You will feel severe stiffness in the neck, and you might also feel sharp, painful and limiting discomfort.
- You will not able to move your neck in the side direction and if you try to do so, you will feel severe pain.
- The restricted movements may lead to a restriction in your day-to-day activities.
Therefore, it is advisable to avoid driving in a stiff neck condition because it is difficult and painful to move your neck.
Treatment for the stiff neck are:
- Give rest to your neck and so that the injured issues get the needed time to heal.
- Avoid swimming strokes or any other activity may lead to sudden movement and jerk in the neck area.
- When we advise you to rest this does not mean to rest for a week, one or two days are enough, else this may lead to weakness in the neck muscles that provide support to your head and neck.
- You can also use some cold ice packs within the 8 hours of injury because this helps to reduce the painful inflammation.
- You can also use the heat pad to increase or spur the blood circulation into the neck area that further helps in healing your injury.
- If you are feeling severe stiff neck pain and finding it really difficult to move your neck, then you should definitely consult a doctor to avoid any severe condition.
- The doctor might also suggest some useful exercises for your neck, you can also do that, but only if the doctor says so.