The neck region, which is a conjunction of the head and the rest of the body, is richly supplied with muscles, ligaments and tendons, which are responsible for the support and movement of the neck. The neck not only supports the head but also assists in its movement. At times due to overuse of the neck muscles, injury, stretching it beyond the limit can make the muscles sore and tight. Suffering from muscle tightness in the neck can be quite a distressing condition, as it causes a hindrance to daily activities and exercising. The ability to move the arms freely is also affected due to this condition, since the muscles in the neck and arms are connected. At times, the person having tight neck muscles may also complain of headaches.
Causes of Stiff Muscles in Neck
There are several incidents which can give rise to muscle tightness, along with pain and discomfort in the neck region. A bad posture while sitting or sleeping can have a cumulative effect on the neck muscles. Overuse of the muscles can also make them sore and generate pain, which is triggered even by a slight movement. Individuals who suffer from depression, or take too much stress, also complain of suffering from a stiff neck, the discomfort of which may radiate towards the head and upper back due to muscle tension. An injury or a traumatic blow to the neck, due to a fall, accident, or sports activity, can also end up with the affected person suffering from locked neck muscles.
Symptoms of Muscle Tightness in Neck
As seen earlier, muscle tightness in the neck and shoulders is a common occurrence and many individuals are affected with it. Observing the signs mentioned below will help you in identifying the intensity of the condition and treat it accordingly.
- One of the first signs of tight muscles in neck is a feeling of pain, which can be caused due to an injury to the neck. This is sometimes felt as soreness in the muscles.
- Pain can be accompanied by muscle spasms, which are involuntary and may begin at any point of time. The muscles may begin to contract in a violent and uncontrollable manner which may radiate towards the upper back region.
- Following an injury to the neck, headaches may also be triggered, due to a connection between the nerves and blood vessels. In some instances, the headache may be more severe than the neck pain.
- The muscles in the neck may also appear to be stiff, making it difficult and painful to even turn the neck, creating a condition called stiff neck. The stiffness may be more evident while raising the arms, reaching out for something, or while moving the head. A feeling of numbness may also be noticed on the affected part of the neck, caused due to inadequate blood circulation.
Tight muscles in the neck and nearby regions can be quite an annoying condition that a person can undergo. This is because, this muscle problem is not only painful, it also makes daily chores a difficult task. Here are some easy remedial measures that will help reduce soreness in the muscles and provide relief. Following these methods can help you get rid of muscle knots and tightness.
- Applying warm or cold packs on the affected region will help reduce the soreness and spasms. You can apply these compresses at regular intervals till you feel the pain and discomfort have subsided.
- Massaging the affected part is another excellent and effective remedy to loosen the tight muscles in the neck and upper back region. You can get this done with the help of your friend, or go to a masseur. Make sure that uniform pressure is applied while massaging so that the pain is evenly eased out.
- You can also follow a few exercises that can be done at home to improve blood circulation and release muscle tightness. With your chin pointing upwards and the neck stretched, stay in this position for about 5 seconds. Bring your head back to the normal position and relax for a while. Repeat this gentle exercise for about 5 times.
- There are also many over the counter pain relievers, in the form of medications and ointments which will help in providing relief. Ibuprofen, Advil or Tylenol may be taken, but ensure with your health care provider that they can be taken.