Stiff neck, while not a serious medical problem, will disturb daily activates and make sleeping difficult due to the associated pain. A stiff neck typically is the result of muscles weakening over time from poor posture or misuse.The main symptoms are soreness, pain and difficulty moving the neck, especially when trying to turn the head to the side. At times, a stiff neck may cause a headache, shoulder pain or arm pain.
1. Stretching can keep pain at bay
* Roll your shoulders backwards and down 10 times
* Squeeze your shoulder blades together 10 times
* Push your head backwards into your car head rest or hands and hold for 30 seconds
* Bring your ear to your shoulder 10 times on each side
* Take a hot bath or shower to relax your muscles.
* Slightly warm some olive, coconut or mustard oil.
* Apply the oil on the affected area.
* Massage using firm yet gentle strokes for several minutes.
If you cannot do the massage on your own due to the stiffness, get help from a friend or a professional massage therapist.
3. Cold and Heat Application:
Cold packs relieve neck pain and ease stiff neck by limiting lactic acid buildup. Ice numbs pain and decreases inflammation. Heat compresses tighten muscles and should be applied after cold application and helps to increase blood circulation to the muscles.
* Fill a plastic bag with ice and wrap it in a towel.
* Apply to the neck, between the shoulders, or at the base of the head for 20 minutes.
* Apply a hot application, such as a hot shower or bath, a heating pad, hot water bottle, or hot towel, for 20 minutes.
* Repeat this for thrice a day until you get complete relief from the stiff neck.
Note: you can use artificial cold pack or bag of frozen peas.
4. Take care when you sleep
You should pay attention to your sleep positions. Sleep only on your side or on your back never on your stomach. When you sleep on your stomach, often you will end up twisting your head one way or the other for hours at a time.
5. Valerian root or vervain tea can be used to reduce pain. The cooked herbs can then be prepared as a warm compress and used on the muscle (or just wrap the wet herbs in an old pillow case and press on your muscle). In a bind, try using chamomile tea bags.
6. Neck Exercises
* Sit up straight, while keeping your body relaxed.
* Nod your head forward (toward your chest) and backward (toward the sky). Repeat these motions for a few minutes.
*Tilt your head alternately down toward your right shoulder and then toward your left shoulder. Repeat for a few minutes.
* Without turning your body, slowly turn your head and look to the right, then look to the left. Alternate this movement repeatedly for a few minutes.
* End your exercise with a few gentle shoulder rolls.
7. Homemade Analgesic
* Melt 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and a tablespoon of beeswax over medium heat.
* Add 5 drops of peppermint oil and eucalyptus oil.
* Let it cool for 5 – 10 minutes.
* Apply to the affected area.
* Store the balm in a tight container and apply as needed.
8. Arnica as a homeopathic remedy or a cream can really help heal the area quickly. Keep some stocked in your first aid kit as it is good for all kinds of aches and pains.
9. Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
10. Cold Compresses
* Wrap some ice cubes in a thin towel.
* Hold the compress against the stiff area of your neck for 10 to 15 minutes.
* Repeat every 2 hours for the first 48 hours.
11. Herb Application
* Menthol is an herb that has cooling effect and relieves pain.
* Camphor reduces swelling and increases blood circulation, warming the application area.
* Capsaicin has anti-inflammatory properties that relieve pain by gently numbing the nerve endings in the application area.
* Turmeric heals pain with its natural healing properties.
12. Keep moving, but avoid jerking or painful activities. This helps calm your symptoms and reduce inflammation. Do slow range-of-motion exercises, up and down, side to side, and from ear to ear. This helps to gently stretch the neck muscles.
13. Isometric Exercise
* Sit erect and gently press your head into the palm of your hand to stretch your neck muscles. Start with your hand on your forehead and press your head forward.
* Then place it on your right check and press to the right.
* But make sure to use your hand to resist your head motion. Do the same with the left side.
* Place hands behind head, elbows out to the sides. Pull chin in and move your head back into the hands gently.
* Repeat four times a day to get relief.
14. Heat Therapy
Apply a hot compress on the neck area for at least 10 minutes. Repeat 3 or 4 times a day until you get complete relief. A hot compress can be in the form of a heating pad, hot water bottle, heat wrap or a hot towel.