Category: Neck Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: July 9, 2018
A stiff neck isn’t all that serious of a health condition, but it certainly can be annoying. If your stiff neck is also accompanied by pain and a severe decrease in range of motion, you should have it examined by a spine specialist. However, if there’s just stiffness and discomfort, you can probably work to correct the issue using some home remedies. Below, we share five ways you can try to ease a stiff neck on your own.
Cold packs can help to alleviate a stiff neck by limiting the build-up of lactic acid in the area. They can also help to numb any minor pain and reduce the onset of inflammation. On the flip side, if ice doesn’t provide relief, or it’s been more than 48 hours since your stiff neck developed, heat may actually be more beneficial. Heat helps to relax tight muscles and increase blood flow to the area, which can lead to reduction in inflammation and overall stiffness. If you don’t have a hot pack, take a warm shower for 10-15 minutes.
Sometimes the only thing you need to relieve neck stiffness are some over-the-counter medications. NSAIDs like Ibuprofen and Aspirin can help to calm inflammation, but make sure you stick to the recommended dosage chart. If stiffness is more severe, your back specialist may be able to write you a prescription for a stronger, more effective medication or muscle relaxer.
The benefits of regular exercise can’t be understated. Exercise can help to release tension that is stored in your neck, which in turn helps with the stiffness. Normal exercise is fine, but for best results, search for isometric neck exercises that really focus on these stiff muscle groups.
If your neck is always stiffest in the morning, there’s a decent chance that your sleeping position is leading to increased muscle tension or inflammation. Invest in a new pillow that better supports your neck, and try to sleep on your side or back, as these positions are less likely to stress your neck.
Be Posture Aware
Another reason why people suffer from a stiff neck is because they strain it throughout the day with poor posture positions. If you’re leaning forward looking at a computer screen or you’re looking down at your phone for long periods, your neck muscles are going to get sore and sometimes stiff. Make it a point to perform regular self checks of your posture, and correct it when your head is out in front of your body.