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How to Get Rid of a Stiff Neck

By Madhusudhan Tammisetti

A stiff neck usually occurs due to the weakening of muscles over time from bad posture or misuse.

Constantly looking down at the computer display every day may cause the muscles on the neck joints to tire out and become overstressed. Driving for long periods or staring at the mobile phone may have the same impact. When you're doing this every day, it may build up over time and displace the neck joints.

When the neck muscles get lax as you attempt to raise your back, the joint no longer moves easily because it's now out of alignment. The joint catches on something, either forcing a tendon or touching the nerve infrequently, or may be both.

Then you may suffer from instant pain. Your body has a protective spasm to prevent further injury. Your body may clench and make it difficult to move.

Some of the remedies a chiropractor may suggest for a stiff neck include easing the pain with sufficient rest, applying ice and heat, doing some stretching exercises, and avoiding bad posture that may trigger the pain.

Soothing a Stiff Neck 

The reasons for regular strain-and-sprain neck pain may vary. If you wake up in the morning with a crick in the neck, it's usually the sharp muscle contractions referred to as spasms, triggered by a muscle strain. In comparison, a sprain occurs in ligaments, the tissues that bind bones together. Conversely, a tendon that binds muscles to bones may get inflamed, triggering tendinitis. Basic self-help takes control of several common neck pain flare-ups.

You may put a neck collar to rest the sore muscles and tissues to ease the pain. Overusing neck collars may weaken the muscles but may help in dealing with the stiff neck if used for short periods.

Applying Ice and Heat

A chiropractor may advise you to use ice to relieve the early intense pain and reduce inflammation.

Applying heat once the intense pain calms down either by a warm bath or with a heating pad may give positive results.

Therapeutic Exercise

The chiropractor may suggest stretching exercises that may strengthen the neck and upper back muscles that may speed up healing from a sore neck injury and potentially prevent flare-ups.

If your neck is troubling you, you may have to change your sleeping positions. Sleep on your back or your side and never on your stomach.

If you're sleeping on your stomach, you may end up twisting your head on the left or the right side for hours at a time.

Finally, take note of the daily habits or posture that may cause stiff neck, including sitting for long periods in positions that strain the neck while reading, watching TV, doing computer work, or sleeping. If you immediately attend to the cause, you may be able to stop the flare-ups at the source.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Austin, Tex.

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