More About Stiff Neck: Causes & Instant Relief Methods
Reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that almost 20% of the adult population has faced issues like stiff neck and neck problems in the last three months. With all of us spending our day staring down at our smartphones and laptop screens, the reports are not surprising at all.
According to Dr. Andrew Bang, a chiropractor, when our neck muscles weaken because of such awkward posture for a long time, our neck muscles stop moving smoothly and fall out of place. This makes the neck joint catch on to something, which either causes a muscle pull or an awkward nerve spasm or, at times, both.
This is so common nowadays that reports suggest that 16 to 75% of every country’s population experiences neck pain. To put things in perspective - neck pain happens to be among the top 5 disorders in the United States Of America, with 10 to 20% of the population reporting neck pain issues.
Causes Of Neck Pain
If you are wondering about the cause of neck pain or stiff neck, muscle strain or sprain happens to be the most common one. The cervical spine is connected to the shoulder by a muscle called the levator scapula, which also happens to be controlled by the third and fourth cervical nerves. A muscle sprain to this particular muscle and its surrounding muscles mostly leads to a stiff neck. This mostly happens due to common daily activities, like:
- Poor sleeping posture without proper neck support or pillow causing the neck muscle to stretch unnecessarily.
- Repetitive activities that involve moving your head from side to side, like swimming, can often result in a stiff neck.
- When using the phone or cradling it between the neck and shoulder or looking down at the computer screen for a long time, poor sitting posture contracts the neck muscles.
- Stress is another common factor as it causes tension knots to appear on the neck.
Of course, there are other causes of neck pain as well, like, muscle injury, arthritis, cervical spine disorder, infection, and many more. But, more on it later.
There are few ways by which you can get relief from neck pain and neck cramps. Some of the ways listed below can also be used as a prevention method, as they are mostly body postures that you should keep in mind to prevent neck injury or spraining your neck muscles. Let’s take a look:
Changing your sleeping posture
The way you sleep at night affects your neck and your neck muscles. Sleeping on your stomach puts your neck under a lot of strain while sleeping on your side or your back would be much more convenient as it will put your neck under a lot less stress.
This is mostly because when you sleep on your stomach, you force your neck muscles to strain for a long span of time, causing pain. If you prefer sleeping on your side, buy a pillow with neck support.
Apply heat or ice
Applying ice a few times a day can help you get relief from neck inflammation. Try to alternate between ice and heat to get better results. Try taking a warm bath or shower and using a heating pad afterward, as the heat often helps.
Using a Neck Cervical Massager
Neck cervical massager is like embracing modern technology and innovation to get relief from a common issue troubling mankind since the stone age. Neck Cervical Massagers wraps around your neck and massages your neck massages to provide relief. It also has heating pads to use heat therapy on your stiff muscles to help you with muscle movement and get relief from muscle stiffness.
These neck massagers have an over-the-ear headphone styled design to ensure that it wraps around your neck perfectly, providing you the perfect fit.
Taking Over The Counter Painkillers
This isn't the best way to deal with a stiff neck in terms of health, but still, over-the-counter painkillers are still a preferred method to deal with extreme stiff neck and neck pains:
- Naproxen Sodium: Aleve
- Acetaminophen: Tylenol
- Ibuprofen: Motrin, Advil
Although taking painkillers should be your last resort, it is still a relief method you can look up to. Otherwise, relief methods like using a neck massager are a good enough idea to provide you complete relief within seconds. If the pain still persists and none of these methods seems to work, visit a doctor or a chiropractor and get a professional opinion without any delay.