Neck pain can occur for all kinds of reasons. It could be a repetitive strain injury caused by poor posture, it could be muscle tension caused by stress or it could be a tissue tear as a result of a car accident or sports injury (AKA whiplash).
A stiff neck could make day to day activities like driving or turning around to talk to people difficult. It could also affect your ability to sleep. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to treat a stiff neck that can help reduce pain and help it to heal. Below are just some ways to get rid of a stiff neck.
Avoid sharp neck movements
It’s best to avoid any activity that may require you to make sharp neck movements. This could include driving or playing sports. Moving our head is something many of us do instinctively when talking to people or looking for things – for serious neck injuries, it is often worth wearing a neck brace to prevent you from turning your neck sharply by accident.
While you should avoid sharp neck movements, you shouldn’t avoid moving your neck entirely. Doing some slow stretches could help any muscles or tendons to heal – keeping muscles and tendons active can stop them from seizing up.
Apply heat and ice
Both hot and cold compressions can help to reduce inflammation, which in turn can reduce pain. Cold compressions are best for when an injury is still fresh – this could include pressing an ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables against your neck. A compression could involve using a water bottle or a warm wet towel. Taking a hot bath can also be a way of relaxing muscles and reducing inflammation.
Adjust how you sleep
Neck pain can often make it difficult to get comfortable while sleeping. It could be worth using a neck pillow and lying on your back. If you can’t sleep on your back, lying on your side is the next best option (avoid sleeping on your front).
Look into chiropractic treatment
It’s possible that you may be able to relieve some tension through the help of a chiropractor. This type of treatment involves manipulating muscles and joints. Only ever use a qualified chiropractor.
Acupuncture works for some people. It involves placing long thin needles into pressure points in order to relieve pain. Neck pain is one of the most common types of pain that acupuncture is used on. Always use a licensed practitioner.
Know when to see a doctor
Neck injuries may not always heal by themselves. In some cases, there could be serious muscular or spinal damage. If you’ve recently had an accident and your neck is hurting, it’s worth seeing a doctor to check that there aren’t any serious injuries. If your neck pain is accompanied by strange headaches, loss of sensation to limbs, loss of coordination, nausea or dizziness, you should similarly consider seeing a doctor.
I hope these tips help!
Thank you for reading!