Unusual Causes of a Stiff Neck

There’s nothing worse than a stiff neck. Until it starts to hurt, you simply don’t realize how many times you have to turn your head during the day. I work next to two coworkers; when my neck is stiff, our daily gossip sessions become a chore instead of some much-needed downtime at work. Albeit rarely, sometimes a stiff neck is more than an annoyance - it’s a cause for alarm. 

The good news is that the most common causes of a stiff neck are not serious. The number one cause is muscle strain, which can be caused by any activity that puts your neck in an awkward position for an extended amount of time (you can even get this kind of strain from sleeping in an uncomfortable position.) Carrying something heavy on one side of your body or positioning your office chair and computer screen incorrectly can both cause a stiff neck.

A new cause of neck muscle strain is what chiropractors call “text neck” - soreness from constantly looking at a phone to text. Luckily, like other muscle strains, “text neck” can effectively be treated by your chiropractor in just a few sessions, and isn’t anything serious.

The next cause of a stiff neck is a cervical spine disorder. The cervical spine refers to your neck and is made up of the spinal cord, vertebrae and discs. If any of these parts move out of alignment, you may feel pain and stiffness. Facet joint disorders and disc problems can occur, causing pain and stiffness in your neck. Your chiropractor can assist you with all of these conditions.

The final and most rare cause is infection, such as by meningococcal disease. This is very serious if it is the cause of your neck stiffness. If you experience fever, headache, nausea, vomiting or any other signs of an infection along with your stiff neck, call your doctor immediately.

The next time you have a stiff neck, don’t jump to the worst conclusion straight away. It’s much more likely to be a simple muscle strain than anything else, and your chiropractor will be able to diagnose the trouble spot and quickly adjust the pain away. Make an appointment to see your local chiropractor and get the relief you need from the pain of your stiff, aching neck.

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