Stiff neck and neck pain in general are becoming huge issues for Australians and people worldwide. It’s estimated that every year at least 40% of Australian adults experience some kind of neck pain.
In many cases, this neck pain is caused by stiff neck, which is a result of our modern lifestyles: staring at computer and phone screens all day in uncomfortable and unhealthy positions. In this article we will discuss exactly what stiff neck is, what causes it, and the simple remedies you can employ to ease neck pain.
What Is Stiff Neck?
Stiff neck is the condition caused by the atrophy or weakening of muscles in the neck. This is caused by using our necks wrongly, such as looking down at our phones or computer screens for hours every day. This leads to the muscles in the neck becoming overstretched, sore, and eventually wearing thin.
As these activities take up longer periods of our daily lives, so too do our necks weaken and lose muscle. The joint becomes rusty and worn out, and the next time you try to move or twist it, you end up pulling your neck muscles or hitting your nerve; in some cases, both happen at the same time. This leads to a shock of pain and spasms across your body, giving you the feeling that your body is forcing itself to stay still.
How Can I Ease Neck Pain Caused By Stiff Neck?
There are a few simple remedies you can try to employ at home before visiting a doctor for your neck pain.
Let’s start off with some old-fashioned stretching. Since stiff neck is caused by the slow degradation of your neck muscles, regularly stretching your muscles will keep them flexible, remembering how to move. But before you stretch, it’s important that you make a few lifestyle changes. These include:
- When on the computer, make sure that your monitor is at eye level and not below it. Sit up nice and straight, and remind yourself not to tilt your head downwards as you look at your screen
- When on the phone, try to hold it up to your eyes rather than bending your neck to see the screen. Take regular breaks every 15 or 30 minutes, and try not to use it for hours at a time
- When driving, ensure that your back is straight and that you take breaks every so often. Stretch your neck slowly from side-to-side whenever you are stopped
Stretching exercises begin from a single idea: reminding your neck of its own range and mobility. This consists of simple exercises, such as:
- Bend your neck left and right, letting your ear touch your shoulder from side to side. Repeat 10 times
- Straighten your back, lift your head, and press your shoulder blades together. Repeat 10 times
- Press your head back into a head rest or a pillow and press your hands over your head, pushing it back. Stay in this position for up to 30 seconds
- Slowly lift your shoulders, and then roll them back in a circular movement. Repeat 10 times
Stiff neck can also be caused by sleeping in an improper position, which is mainly when you sleep on your stomach. Sleeping on your stomach leads to twisting your neck on one side and sleeping on that for an entire night.
By sleeping on your side or back, your neck stays aligned in its natural position with your body. But by sleeping on your stomach, you sacrifice your body’s natural support for your neck.
Need more help? Here are some other small changes you can add to your daily routine to help with neck pain:
- Neck and back massages
- Slow but gradual neck movements throughout the day
- Pain medication—ibuprofen
- Heat or ice therapy; press an ice pack or a hot compress to the swollen area and rotate every 48 hours
- Check the stability of your bed. A firm bed with a small pillow or no pillow is best for stiff neck
Ease Your Neck Pain with First Choice Chiropractic
If you’ve tried a variety of home remedies and still have problems with neck pain, then it’s time to call us at First Choice Chiropractic! Our Chiropractors specialise in neck and back pain and have helped countless patients find relief and happiness with our non-invasive physical therapy. With a natural, physical, and simple treatment solution, chiropractic care is the best choice for those looking for complete relief with no heavy medication or surgery involved.
Make the right choice with First Choice Chiropractic. Call us today and ask about our New Patient Offer! This limited time promotion gives new patients the opportunity to see our entire chiropractic process, for a fraction of the price.