Looking for ways to get rid of a stiff neck?
We have put together some simple steps to help you find relief and prevent the condition from ever happening again.
We mentioned in a previous article about possible causes for ending up with a stiff neck. Now we would like to spend a little more time going in-depth on ways you can relieve those uncomfortable symtoms.
If the cause of your stiff neck is simply due to a muscle pull or strain there are many simply and effective ways to relieve the pain and restore full mobility.
1. Cold pack – Many therapists, coaches, etc recommend starting with cold application as a first treatment in relieving pain and stiffness in the neck.
Treatment times should not exceed 15 to 20 minutes at one time. You risk a “cold burn” if you leave a cold/ice pack in place for too long.
Cold packs are easy to make. Crushed ice, or ice cubes placed in water proof soft containers work fine. Alternately you can purchase single use cold packs at any drug store, or reusable ones which you simple place in your freezer for a few hours before they are ready to use.
2. Heat – Heat treatment can be used alternately with cold applications to help relax the pulled muscles and tendons which are causing your neck pain.
To apply heat to the affected area on your neck try using a hot water bottle, heating pad or apply one of the many heat rub creams available in your local drug store.
Some of these creams and cold packs on the market today start off feeling cold, and then turn to warmth.
Taking a warm shower or bath, or soaking in a hot tub, is also a great way to apply heat.
So which is better? That is totally up to you. You may find one more effective that the other. You may also find benefit from doing both. Try starting with the cold pack first.
3. Gentle stretches – Simply range of motion exercises for your neck is the safest way to start. Start by gently allowing your head to drop, chin toward chest. This may be difficult at first; don’t push. Then try putting ear to shoulder, alternating sides, then head back with chin pointing up.
Shoulder and upper back stretches are done by placing one hand under the elbow and gently stretching the arm across your chest. Hold for a few seconds, then repeat for the other side.
Here is a short video that shows you how.
4. Medications with an anti-inflammatory effect such as c (Aspirin)
and Motrin (ibuprofen) can be used in combination with the other treatment already mentioned.
Be sure to follow the recommended dosages so you are not taking too much. If you are on blood thinners, or any other medications, talk to your doctor or pharmacists first about the best medication for you to take.
5. Massage – This is a great way to relieve and relax muscle tension for neck and shoulders. You may be able to do it yourself, but it’s much more effective if you can relax and have someone else do the massage.
The key point for massage? Use a lotion or massage oil, and be gentle.
Please remember, if you are experiencing a stiff neck, or neck pain due to conditions such as bone spurs, osteoarthritis, injury or other underlying diseases, some of these remedies may not work. Some may also not be recommended. Always check with your doctor or physical therapist if you are not sure.