Neck pain is the fourth-leading cause of disability around the world, and it is often linked to stiffness and lack of mobility. With a stiff neck, daily tasks such as working at a desk or lifting your arms can feel close to impossible, especially since the symptoms of a stiff neck can compound. For example, if you have a stiff neck, you may feel soreness in the area around your shoulders or experience frequent headaches. In addition, you may feel sharp pain when moving your neck and turning your head to the side.
To help regain mobility in your neck and shoulders, it can be important to start treatment as soon as you can. At-home remedies can help relieve pain and stiffness, and noninvasive techniques at a physical therapy clinic can help release tension in your neck so that you can get long-term relief and get back to your routine.
Why are you feeling a stiff neck?
A muscle strain, or slight tears that form in the muscle tissue, is one of the most common causes of a stiff neck. You can develop a stiff neck after sleeping in the wrong position or suddenly jerking your head in an unnatural position. You can also develop a stiff neck if you repeatedly turn your head from side to side and develop a repetitive strain injury. In addition, consistently sitting in a slouching position can place immense pressure on your neck, restricting blood flow and tightening the muscles around it. Lastly, excessive stress can cause you to feel neck stiffness, as you can hold emotional stress physically in your shoulders.
5 stiff neck remedies you can do at home
There are several ways you can treat and manage your stiff neck symptoms. You can try the following techniques to regain mobility and healing quickly:
- Massage — Massaging your neck and its surrounding tissue can help reduce the tension in your muscles that may be making your neck stiff. It can also improve blood flow to your neck, which can also relieve tension. You can try applying massages yourself, ask a partner to massage your neck, or visit a professional physical therapy clinic for help. Someone like a physical therapist can locate problem areas that would be difficult to reach on your own and apply soft tissue mobilization techniques.
- Ice and heat — Applying ice can help reduce the inflammation in your neck that may be causing stiffness and pain. You can apply ice a few times a day for a couple of days to help keep the inflammation at bay. After a few days of icing, you can alternate cooling and heating the area. Heat can help soothe your sore muscles and reduce pain.
- Stretch — Since a stiff neck is often caused by strained muscles, you can help encourage your muscle strain to heal and prevent further injury by doing some simple neck stretches once or twice a day. To start, you can try slowly rolling your head in a clockwise direction 10 times, switching directions for 10 more rolls. Combining this stretch with other stretches and exercises can strengthen your muscles, improve their flexibility, and reduce pain.
- Physical therapy exercises — It may be beneficial to see a physical therapist to establish an at-home exercise routine for your stiff neck. Physical therapy exercises can be especially helpful if you have been living with neck stiffness over a long period of time. Most importantly, at-home exercises can help you keep up with your neck stiffness and make sure that it doesn’t get worse over time or between PT sessions.
- Determine the root cause — There are many root causes that may be behind your neck stiffness and pain. It could be rooted in how your neck is positioned while you’re sleeping. How good (or bad) your posture is when sitting at your computer could dictate how stiff and painful your neck is. And these are just two common sources of neck stiffness and discomfort. Paying attention to when your neck feels stiff or painful can help you determine the root cause of your symptoms. However, if you just can’t figure out the source of your symptoms, a physical therapist can help you.
Contact Armor Physical Therapy for stiff neck treatment
Neck pain that is severe or persists for a long time probably cannot be treated by what’s listed above. This kind of neck pain requires the professional assistance of a physical therapist.
Our physical therapists at Armor Physical Therapy are skilled in treating all kinds of neck pain, including whiplash, slipped discs and strains. Would you like to learn more about what our team can do to treat your stiff neck?
Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.