A stiff neck is a condition in which the person finds it very difficult to turn his head sideways. It is characterized by a feeling of hardness which causes an individual to turn the whole body to look backwards or sideways. It is usually accompanied by a headache, neck pain, and shoulder pain. At times the affliction may get unbearable especially when an unmindful patient makes a sudden attempt to look sideways.
Stiff neck is marked by considerable hardness around the neck region. It is because of this that people find it difficult to look sideways.
The symptoms typically last for a few days to a week and can limit the person’s ability to work normally. The affliction is self-healing by nature but in some rare cases the disease may be a sign of a serious medical condition.
How Do You Get A Stiff Neck?
Stiffness of neck is primarily caused by a muscle sprain or muscle strain, particularly to the levator scapula muscle. The levator scapula muscle tends to get sprained or strained because of certain sudden and stressful everyday activities, such as:
- Improper sleeping posture that strains the neck muscles.
- Direct injuries to the neck like you get after a fall or in sports.
- Any activity that involves continuous side to side turning of the head, such as while swimming.
- Wrong posture while viewing the computer monitor or while slouching.
- Carrying excessive load on the shoulder which can lead to tension in the neck.
- Holding the neck in an abnormal position for a long period.
- Stiff neck is also caused by meningitis, a bacterial infection that inflames the protective membranes of the spinal cord and brain.
- Infections of the cervical spine can also lead to this disease. In case of both these afflictions, stiff neck is accompanied by a fever and feeling of nausea.
- Stiffness of the neck can be a reaction to the underlying disorder in the cervical spine.
Natural Remedies To Get Rid Of A Stiff Neck
- Massage: Stiff neck can best be cured by regular light massages. You can massage the area with essential oils, like rosemary, pine, juniper or lavender as it provides the necessary warmth to increase circulation of blood in the area.
- Heating pad: Heat compression can also help relieve stiffness of the neck region. Apply a heating pad for at least 30 minutes every day for at least a week. It helps to increase the blood flow in the region and slowly reduces the stiffness.
- Ice packs: Cold compression can be as effective as heat compression to cure neck stiffness. Stuff some crushed ice in a poly bag and place it on the stiff part of the neck for at least 30 minutes every day. It would take a week’s time for the stiffness to subside.
- Hot water shower: Bathe your neck with hot water for about 4 to 5 minutes every day. You can accelerate the healing process by adding Epsom salt to the warm water which helps considerably to reduce muscle tension and stress.
The above mentioned remedies are very effective in curing stiff neck. However, if the condition still persists, then you need to meet the physician.