It can be really irritating when you wake up in the morning with a severe pain in the neck while being unable to move your head in any direction. Neck stiffness is characterized by the soreness of neck along with a difficulty to move the neck sideways. Stiff neck may also cause headache, shoulder pain, and even pain in the arms. The best way to get rid of a sore neck is to try simple home remedies which work really well. But, before that, let’s discuss the causes and symptoms of neck stiffness.
There are a couple of reasons why you might suffer from a stiff neck. The good news is that a majority of the reasons are typically due to environmental factors and not due to genetics. All this is to say that if you make subtle lifestyle changes, you should find that dealing with a stiff neck is a thing of the past.
One of the most common reasons why you might find yourself with a stiff neck is because you've allowed yourself to be in an uncomfortable position for an extended period. This is usually when you fall asleep in an awkward position that leads you to wake up with a sore and aching neck. Working a desk job where you are stationary can also be cause for a stiff neck.
In addition to that, the following reasons are some of the most popular as to why you might wake up and find yourself suffering from a stiff neck.
- Sleeping in an awkward position that strains the neck muscles
- Improper posture at work
- Jerk in the neck due to an accident
- Using a pillow that gives no support or using too many pillows while sleeping
- Contact sports
- A forceful sneeze
Because many of the reasons that a stiff neck happens are due to excessive strain and unnatural positions, one of the best ways to avoid dealing with a stiff neck is really making sure that you always treat your muscles with care.
Do not allow yourself to be stuck in vulnerable positions that can lead to aches and pains in your muscles. The result of not treating your body with care is an ache that can last for several days.
- Decrease or limited movement of neck either to left or right
- Pain in the neck, shoulders and upper back
- Feeling uncomfortable while sleeping
- Muscle spasm in the muscles of the upper back and the cervical
- Headache and fever (stiff neck along with fever and headache may also be the reason for meningitis)
Home Remedies for Stiff Neck
If you are dealing with a stiff neck, there is some good news. You may not have to run to yoru chiropractor's office right away. In fact, more often than not, you can remedy a stiff neck right at home. Here are some of the most reliable home remedies you can try to treat a stiff neck.
Massage is a good cure for stiff neck. You can use essential oils, like pine, rosemary, lavender or juniper for massaging as it will provide the necessary warmth to the neck muscles along with increasing the blood circulation. A gentle massage greatly helps in relaxing the muscles while reducing the stiffness.
One of the best times to get a massage is right before you go to bed. This way, you can find yourself sleeping with a little more comfort even though you are dealing with a stiff neck.
2. Heating Pad
Place a heating pad over your sore neck. It is a useful remedy which will increase the blood flow while decreasing the stiffness of the neck.
There are different types of heating pads you can invest it. One of the best type is an electronic one. An electronic heating pad will allow you to control just how much heat output there is.
If you do not have an electronic heating pad you can easily make one. All you need is a long this sock and some long grain rice. Simply stuff the rice inside the stock until you have a nice beanbag. Then, tie the end of the sock so that none of the rice leaks out. Next, place your rice bean bag in the microwave and microwave it for about 30 seconds. The heat will heat up the rice and hold it and the result is a nice and comfortable heating pad that will help ease your aches.
Better yet, because of the shape of the stock, you can easily situate it against your neck for maximum comfort. The best part is that you can reheat this sock heating pad and use it as many times as you like.
3. Ice Packs
Crush some ice and wrap it in a poly bag. Now, cover the stiff part of neck with a small cloth or towel, then place the wrapped ice over it. Ice is really useful for stiff neck pain relief. It also reduces the inflammation caused due to the soreness.
4. Over-the-counter Medicines
To relieve the pain caused due to a stiff neck, you can also use over-the-counter medication, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. However, avoid aspirin for kids, who are less than the age of 18, as aspirin causes Reye’s syndrome, which results in swelling in the brain.
5. Epsom Salt
Soak Epsom salt in your bath water and take a bath with it. This salt contains magnesium and sulphate, which regulates the activity of various enzymes in the body. This remedy helps in increasing the blood circulation, reducing the muscle tension and stress.
6. Hot Water Shower
Keep your neck under a shower of warm to little hot water for about 4-5 minutes. Don’t turn or move your neck while doing this. This is one of the best cures for stiff neck muscles.
7. Apply Balm
A number of balms, like analgesic and rubefacient are available in the market to get rid of the pain, caused due to a stiff neck. But, before picking any of them, keep your symptoms in mind.
You can also use a pain relieving gel, called ‘Biofreeze’, which is available in the market. It is best suited for muscles spasms and stiff neck and shoulders. Biofreeze is a non-oily odourless gel that works quite well on sore muscles. The main ingredient used to make it is a South American holly shrub, called ‘Ilex’
8. Apple Cider Vinegar
Soak a paper napkin in some apple cider vinegar and place it on your neck. Leave it for few hours. Apple cider vinegar is an excellent remedy for stiff neck muscles as it gives great relief in just one application.
Exercising helps a lot. Gently move your neck in a circular motion. You can also move your neck in back and forth position. Side to side movement is also good. You can also try moving your neck in a pattern of digit-8. But, make sure it doesn’t pain. If it pains, don’t do these exercises.
10. Skin Scrapping
This method needs assistance of another person. You will require massage oil and a spoon. Spread few drops of massage oil on the area and gently scrape the skin of your neck with a spoon. Make sure, it doesn’t cause more pain in the muscles. Skin scrapping is a great stiff neck treatment, which improves the blood circulation while decreasing the stiffness of the neck.
Try acupuncture exercise. It helps a lot in giving relief from neck soreness.
12. Magnesium Tablets
Take 1 magnesium tablet on the daily basis to boost up your immunity. It will also help in alleviating stiff neck.
13. Celery Leaves
Blend celery leaves and extract its juice. Drink it daily to get relief from pain, caused due to a stiff neck.
14. Horse Radish (Sahijan)
In order to relieve stiffness of the neck, apply fresh horse radish. Leave it for a few minutes; otherwise, it may lead to burning or numbness.
Homeopathic Treatments for Stiff Neck
Arnica is the best homeopathic remedy to cure the neck stiffness quickly. Other effective homeopathic medicines are Bryonia, Gelsemium, Cimicfuga, Causticium, and Chelidonium.
- Sleep in a proper position.
- Check your sitting posture, especially at work.
- Take a break of 5 minutes from your work every hour and walk around.
- Avoid too much stress,
- Use a proper pillow while sleeping.
- Don’t sleep with too many pillows.
- Avoid driving as it may aggravate the problem.
Alice grew up in Los Angeles and currently lives in California, though she likes to visit home frequently. She graduated from a marketing specialist degree and worked at the core of outreach teams for more than 5 years.