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Chiropractors can help you with your stiff neck.

Working in an office or looking at your phone all day can cause one of the most common complaints people have in terms of pain management. A stiff neck happens to most people for a variety of reasons. Learn what causes a stiff neck and how to reduce its impact on your life.

What is a stiff neck?

A stiff neck is when you feel the tension in the muscles in your neck that make it difficult or painful to move. You may lose your range of motion in your neck, making it difficult to turn your head from one side to the other. Somethings, you may feel stiffness on one side and not the other, depending on the cause.

A stiff neck is not a medical term and can be caused by several factors. It may also manifest in different ways. You may have trouble moving your neck, or you may feel sharp pains when you attempt specific movements. To understand how to treat your neck, it’s important to note how it feels when you experience pain to share with your doctor.

What are the causes of a stiff neck?

Stiff neck, or neck pain, is most often caused by tension in the muscles of your neck. Unusually moving your neck or holding it in a specific position for hours can cause stiffness. Here are some activities that can cause a stiff neck:

  • Having your computer screen be too high or too low.
  • Looking down at your phone or a book for an extended period.
  • Poor posture during daily activities.
  • Bending over a desk for a long time.
  • Sleeping in an uncomfortable position.
  • Moving your neck too quickly.
  • Holding your neck in an unusual position for a long time.
  • Lifting things too quickly.

Straining your neck muscles can cause stiffness, like overusing any other muscle can cause soreness. Additionally, your neck muscles are connected to muscles in your arms and back. Overextending those muscles can also pull on your neck muscles, causing soreness. However, there are also medical conditions that can cause neck pain or soreness. Some of those conditions are:

  • Arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Ruptured disk
  • Osteoporosis
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Sprains
  • Infections of the spine
  • Cancer that affects the spine.

5 ways to treat a stiff neck

Neck pain can range from manageable to serious. If you have manageable neck pain, there are some remedies that you can try at home. However, if your neck pain persists or if you feel it is too painful to attempt home management, You can make an appointment with one of our professional chiropractors or physical therapists.

1. Rest

Resting a muscle is one of the best things you can do when you strain it. Take a couple of days and try not to move that muscle. Damaged tissue needs time to rebuild. Resting provides your body with the time it needs to focus on healing.

2. Heat or cold therapy

Applying heat or cold packs to the area in pain can reduce inflammation. Sometimes, the tight feeling comes from inflamed tissue making it difficult to move. Heat and cold therapy can reduce inflammation, making it easier to move your muscles and reducing pain. It’s important to note that heat or cold therapy doesn’t address the cause of the tension, so your neck may become inflamed again. This type of therapy is best applied in conjunction with a more lasting technique.

3. Gentle stretching

Gentle stretching can help reduce tension in your muscles if they have been overworked. This means if you have slept in a funny position or held one position too long. However, if you have a different cause of the tension in your neck, like a sprain, stretching may aggravate the problem. That’s why it’s important to go slow and stretch gently when dealing with the muscles and tendons in your neck.

4. Chiropractic Care

Chiropractors work with the spine and surrounding joints to reduce pain and improve movement. They can also help with your stiff neck by using noninvasive procedures to realign the joints in your spine that connect to your neck. This can help release tension, reduce inflammation, and ease pain. A chiropractor can help address the cause of the stiffness, providing longer-lasting pain relief.

5. Physical therapy

Physical therapy can help you adjust how you perform specific movements to improve your posture and fitness. Strengthening your core can take the tension off your spine and neck. Additionally, your physical therapist can teach you stretches that help you gently stretch the muscles that feel stiff. Improving your habits and strengthening your body can help you avoid neck pain in the future.

Two Ways to prevent neck pain

When you are in pain, addressing the pain can feel like the most important thing. However, it is equally important to ensure that you change your habits to make sure you don’t end up in the same condition again. Here are some elements of your lifestyle that you can adjust to avoid stiffness.

  1. Adjust your posture: Many of the causes for a stiff neck are bad posture when performing an activity that requires you to hold your neck in a specific position for a long time—for example, looking at your phone or watching TV. These may seem like unconscious activities, but your posture during them can affect your neck in the long run. Practice sitting up straight and adjusting the height of your monitors so that you are looking at them head-on. This can reduce the strain on your neck.
  2. Strengthen your core: Your core can also have a large impact on your posture. If your core isn’t strong enough, your spine and neck overcompensate to hold your head up. Strengthening your core naturally improves your posture, and it can reduce the strain that causes inflammation and more serious injuries. You can work with a personal trainer to learn exercises and techniques that improve your core.

Signs you should see a doctor for your neck pain

If you are experiencing severe pain, you may want to see a doctor for a professional diagnosis. This can also help you get referrals for professional services like chiropractics and physical training. According to the Mayo Clinic, you should seek medical attention if your neck pain:

  1. Persists for weeks.
  2. Worsens with rest and home care.
  3. Radiates to other body areas.
  4. Experience tingling or numbness
  5. Have fever or nausea.
  6. Notice trouble walking.
  7. Is a result of a traumatic injury or accident.

At Living Well Balanced, we offer a wide range of fitness and physical health services from caring and experienced professionals. We provide physical training and chiropractics to assist our clients in their health and wellness management. You can make an appointment with one of our chiropractors to learn how they can benefit your treatment plan for injury recovery or prevention and chronic pain. If you have any questions, you can always give us a call at 212-579-2858 or send an email to info@livingwb.com. Check out our blog for more information about alternative therapies and our wellness products for practicing self-care at home.