There are many people who suffer from a stiff neck regularly. It causes a lot of pain when you try to move your head and neck. It mostly affects people within the age group of 20 to 40. Some of the common causes that lead to this condition are - injury, spending long hours sitting in front of a computer, improper posture while sleeping, stress, and so on. You cannot afford to neglect this problem as the stiffness can get extended to the back region in no time; and can give rise to back pain.
Home Remedies for a Stiff Neck
Stiff neck may not be a serious health problem, but it causes too much of discomfort. Following are some of the highly effective remedies for reducing the stiffness in neck.
Ice or Cold Treatment: If someone gets a stiff neck suddenly, then icepack is a simple treatment that can provide fast relief from the pain. Take an ice pack or wrap up an ice cube in a piece of cloth and place it on the affected area. The ice pack should be applied while the patient is in a lying condition. It should be repeated many times in the first 48 to 72 hours, and the inflammation in the underlying tissues will go down.
Heat Treatment: While taking a shower, allow more and more of the hot water to fall on your neck area. Or, application of a hot compressing pad will make a lot of difference to curb the neck pain. This is because the heat will increase the blood flow in the sore muscles and thus, the discomfort and stiffness is relieved. Some people find an alternate treatment with hot and cold packs extremely helpful. In that case, firstly apply the heat pad for 5-10 minutes and then apply the cold pack for a few minutes.
Exercises: There are some simple exercises that can reduce the stiffness. Here is an example of one such exercise. Keep your neck straight and look in the forward direction. Then tilt your head slowly on one side of the shoulder and hold the position for a few seconds. Make sure the tilt does not give you pain; hold it as long as you feel comfortable. Then tilt the head on the other side of the shoulder in the same way. This should be repeated at least 5 times. You should do this exercise three times a day. Rotating the head from one side to the other is also an effective way of stretching the stiff neck muscles.
Massage Therapy: Neck massage releases the tension from the muscles and makes them flexible. In some cases, instead of administering medicines, doctors recommend a massage therapy. However, the massage should be done by a qualified therapist only. It is better if you do not try it out yourself or ask someone to do it. This is because if not done properly, massage therapy can aggravate the pain further.
Pain Relieving Medications: This can be either in the form of an ointment; or pain killers. You can apply any over the counter ointment meant for muscle pain on the affected area. Make sure the stroke of applying the ointment on the sore muscles should be gentle, or else you may get hurt. If you want to opt for an oral intake of pain relieving medicines, then those which are suitable for mild pain should be taken to get some temporary relief from the pain. However, it is strongly recommended that you should consult your doctor before taking any such medicines.
Once the stiffness subsides with the help of the remedies given here, you have to take measures to improve the flexibility of the neck and thus prevent its recurrence. For this, you have to maintain a correct posture while standing, sleeping, and sitting. It has been found that excessive mental stress can trigger stiff neck. Therefore, learn to keep your mind in a relaxed state of mind so that the neck does not stiffen up more often.