A stiff neck is not a serious medical condition but it can disturb your daily activities. Many people experience it at least once in their lifetime. A stiff neck is painful and creates difficulties while moving your head. It is characterized by soreness and difficulty in moving the neck. It may also be accompanied by a headache, neck pain, shoulder pain, and arm pain.
Try these simple remedies to gain relief:
Use cold therapy
Applying cold packs to your neck can relieve the pain by limiting the build-up of lactic acid. Ice can numb the pain and also reduce inflammation.
Use heat therapy
If you do not get relief within 48 hours after using the cold compress, try heat therapy.
Heat therapy is a very useful method as it relaxes the tightened muscles and increases the blood flow, leading to a decrease in the stiffness of the neck. A hot water shower is also good for this ailment.
A massage is another way to relax your neck muscles and get rid of the pain. You can use essential oils like rosemary, lavender, pine, or juniper for massaging the affected area. The massage provides warmth to the neck muscle and also increases the flow of blood. Hold your neck with your thumb on one side and fingers on the other and gently massage the affected area. Gentle massaging helps in relaxing the muscles and reduces the stiffness.
Try medication / Herbal applications
Over-the-counter: You can use over-the-counter medications to relieve your pain caused due to a stiff neck. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Ibuprofen and Aspirin work effectively to relieve your pain. But make sure you take the recommended dosage.
Muscle relaxants: Muscle relaxants provide relief to the muscles in the neck. They are prescribed as short-term relievers.
Topical analgesia: Immediate relief can also be provided by balms that contain menthol or other ingredients that soothe the skin and muscles with its cooling effect. Turmeric can also be used to ease pain with its natural healing properties.
The benefits of regular exercise are hard to ignore. Neck exercise can help you a lot. You can practice tension-releasing exercises to get relief from a stiff neck. Isometric neck exercises can be performed without moving the neck.
Practice relaxation and breathing techniques
Emotional stress can cause muscle tension. You can manage the stress through relaxation and breathing techniques like progressive relaxation, abdominal breathing, meditation, yoga etc. Engage yourself in one of these activities to reduce your stress levels. These routines will help you calm down and will relax your nerves and muscles.
Adjust your sleeping positions
Choose a pillow that provides proper support to your neck and minimizes your neck stiffness as choosing a wrong pillow can worsen the condition. Make sure you change your pillow every year as it loses its fluffiness. You should avoid sleeping on your stomach and should try the side or back position. These postures comfort your neck and prevent the muscles from stiffening. Aim to get a full night’s sleep for about 7-8 hours every day.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice of applying pressure at specific points on the body to release any pain or discomfort in a particular area. This method is most effective to ease neck stiffness.
Change your sitting position
Use a comfortable chair to provide support to your neck and back. Keep changing your sitting positions while you’re working. Do not sit in the same position for long hours at your work desk. Make sure your computer is at your eye level. Take a lot of short breaks to relax your muscles and prevent yourself from developing a stiff neck.
Prevention is better than cure. A stiff neck is definitely not a serious medical condition but can get worse if ignored. So, follow these simple tips to prevent any discomfort.