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Treatments for a Stiff Neck

By Debra Rodzinak

Almost everyone has experienced a stiff neck at some point in life.  Whether you woke up with the inability to turn your head, had neck trauma from a car accident or sports injury, or have osteoarthritis in the cervical neck joints, a painful and stiff neck can cause even the most mundane activities to become a problem.

In most cases, the causes of a stiff neck are caused by non-life threatening problems such as simple muscle strain or sprain that can be treated in a few days.  Seek the advice of your medical professional if you are experiencing neck pain to ensure that it is not something more serious.

Still, there are some things you can do to help yourself in the meantime.

  • Rest - One or two days of rest will allow the injured muscles in the neck time to heal.  Muscle spasms in the neck are often caused by these types of injuries.  However, you should not rest the neck for more than a day or two or else the neck muscles will begin to weaken, and this can lead to additional injury.
  • Gentle Stretching - As soon as you are able, gently stretch the neck.  This helps to ease the stiffness that is in the neck and helps to restore a full range of motion.  There are many different types of stretches for the neck that are safe and effective.
  • Heat and Ice - Alternating heat and ice is very good for any muscles that are sore or stiff.  Heat encourages increased blood flow which leads to quicker healing.  Ice helps with swelling and numbs any pain.  Alternate heat and ice every 10 to 15 minutes as needed.
  • Low Impact Aerobic Exercise - Types of low impact aerobic exercise, such as walking, are helpful to circulate needed oxygen to the soft tissues of the spine.  Oxygen promotes healing, so the more oxygen sent to this area, the quicker and better the healing process.
  • Chiropractic - Ensuring that the cervical spine is in proper alignment is important to the overall health of the body.  The delicate joints of the upper spine need to be properly aligned or the neck muscles will spasm in order to support the head, which is surprisingly heavy.

If you have pain in your neck caused by muscle strain or another non-life threatening injury, come by The Joint for a gentle spinal adjustment.  With no pesky insurance forms to fill out or appointment times to remember, finding a drug-free way to relieve your stiff neck pain is simple and stress-free.


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