Are you going through that nagging pain caused by a stiff neck? Though you may find it quite uncomfortable, you are not the lone sufferer.
A survey conducted in 2018 reveals that 16.1% of adults experienced neck pain. In this blog, we will discuss how you can get relief from the problem of a stiff neck.
What Causes A Stiff Neck?
You suffer from a stiff neck when your muscles weaken over time due to poor posture or misuse. The main reasons behind a stiff neck are staring at your computer monitor all day, spending a long time on your smartphone, or driving for hours together.
Top 6 Tips To Get Relief From A Stiff Neck
Now let’s delve deep into some tried and tested methods to get rid of your neck pain.
1. Apply Heat Or Ice
Ice can be quite effective in bringing down inflammation. It reduces the blood flow to an area. On the other hand, heat does just the opposite and stimulates blood flow.
Alternating between ice and heat can provide that soothing effect to your strained or torn muscle. In the case of soft tissue injuries, experts suggest applying ice for 20 minutes a few times a day. Always buy or make a cold compress so that there is no direct contact with ice on your skin.
One more effective technique is to take a warm bath or shower or use a heating pad.
2. Take Over-The-Counter (OTC) Pain Relievers
OTC pain relievers can aid in reducing general pain and inflammation in your body. The most commonly used nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and naproxen sodium (Aleve).
Before taking these medicines, always consult with your doctor and confirm their dosage. Some of them may cause side effects such as nausea, stomach upset, and diarrhea.
3. Stretch The Pain Area
Stretching not only helps you in getting rid of pain and stiffness but also prevents its recurrence. Perform stretching in a gentle and slow manner, by breathing in and out fully. Keep in mind that sudden movements or overstretching can aggravate your pain or injury.
The following are some of the stretches that are considered quite effective for neck stiffness.
- Roll your shoulders backward and forward in a circular movement.
- Lightly press your shoulder blades together. Stay in that position for a few seconds and then repeat the process.
- Turn your head slowly from side to side.
4. Book A Massage
If you are suffering from chronic neck pain and stiffness, then seek the help of a massage therapist. The two common types of massage are
Swedish massage – People in the west generally prefer Swedish massage. It involves long, steady strokes and the massage is done in the direction of blood flow to the heart. It also includes kneading and friction motions.
Deep tissue massage – With deeper strokes and friction, a deep tissue massage, also known as connective tissue massage focuses on the deeper layers of your muscles and connective tissues. Unlike the Swedish massage, this massage stresses mainly an area of chronic pain.
5. Choose The Right Mattress And Pillow
Always buy a firm mattress and sleep without using a pillow. If you really want to use one, go for a special neck pillow. It is always better to sleep on your back or side.
If you prefer to sleep on your back, use a pillow with a thin profile, a cervical pillow, or a neck roll under your head. Keeping one or two pillows beneath your knees may help ease back pressure. If you like sleeping on the side, then using a higher pillow is recommended. Keep a rolled towel or roll-shaped pillow under your neck. One more pillow can be used for supporting your head.
6. Use A Soft Neck Collar
Speak to your doctor about using a soft neck collar. Don’t use it for a longer time as this may weaken your neck muscles. You may remove it while sleeping and taking a bath.
Hope the above article serves as a hand guide in your pain management efforts against a stiff neck. As discussed earlier, consult with your medical practitioner before resorting to steroids or painkillers.
Dr. Edward Zelman
Dr. Edward Zelman works as a Neurologist with the expertise of over 15 years, helping more than thousands to get back in complete health through his research-proven treatments. He earned his Masters from Harvard University and completed his Ph.D. from Columbia University. Dr. Edward Zelman is one of the notable names in the medical industry for his work in pain management, chronic disorder, and so on. He is also a former faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). At present, Dr. Edward Zelman is researching safe and effective natural remedies that can restore as well as maintain the youthful functioning of the body.
View All By Dr. Edward