A stiff neck is usually caused by muscle strain from sleeping or sitting in the wrong position. Stiff pain is often temporary, yet it can become chronic and lead to serious medical problems without proper care.
What causes a stiff neck?
Anything that affects any of the parts of your neck can lead to neck stiffness. Common causes of the stiff neck include:
- Wrong postures
- Injuries (like a fall)
- Disc degeneration
- Mental health problems (depression, anxiety, stress)
- Muscle strain
- Pinched nerve
A stiff neck hurts and makes neck movement difficult. Even though this uncomfortable symptom is temporary, it might lead to more severe complications, such as:
- Thyroid conditions
- EBV infection
- Heart attack
The severity of your neck stiffness depends on the symptoms you have. For example, you might experience a temporary stiff neck when you turn your head too suddenly and fast when lying down. The muscle intensity will happen quickly and also will be gone quickly. However, if your condition becomes chronic and is accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, headache, nausea, etc., you might experience more serious infections or complications.
How to treat and prevent a stiff neck?
Some home care tips for a stiff neck include:
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers (ibuprofen, aspirin) if the pain brings great discomfort
- Keep a good sleeping posture
- Use a not-too-high and not-too-low pillow and a firm mattress
- Do not twist your neck suddenly and fast when you’re in bed
- Put heat or cold packs on your neck
- Try neck flexibility exercises
- Do not sit for too long
- Learn appropriate stretching exercises
- Have a healthy diet with enough nutrients, minerals, and vitamins to strengthen resistance
- Limit alcohol and tobacco use
- Have annual health checks to prevent and detect musculoskeletal problems
Some people experience temporary neck stiffness. However, some can experience chronic neck stiffness as the discomfort continues for weeks for reoccurs frequently. You should track your symptoms and talk to your doctor to be diagnosed and have the most effective treatment.