Stiff neck happens due to an awkward position while sleeping, sitting in front of a computer for long periods of time and straining a muscle caused by bad posture and carrying heavy objects that places excessive pressure on the shoulders.
Stiff neck can be due to anxiety and stress that gives tension in the muscles of the neck, trauma or injury affecting the neck and conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis or cancer.
Symptoms of stiff neck
- Difficulty in moving the neck when turning the head to the side
- Soreness and pain
- Sometimes, there is headache, shoulder pain and arm pain
- Difficulty in sleeping and lack of sleep makes the condition worse
- Apply a cold compress or ice pack on the affected neck. The cold temperature helps numb the pain and minimize the accumulation of lactic acid which causes the soreness of the area. Wrap ice cubes in a towel and then apply it on the stiff part of the neck for at least 10-15 minutes every 2 hours for the initial 48 hours. If an ice pack is not available, a bag of frozen vegetable helps with the condition. Avoid applying ice directly on the skin to prevent frostbite.
- If there is no relief from cold compress, apply a warm compress on the affected area to increase the blood flow in the area and lessen stiffness of the neck. Apply warm compress which can be in the form of a heating pad, hot water bottle and applying a heat wrap or hot towel on the area for at least 10 minutes for 3-4 times every day until the stiffness disappears. Take a shower and run warm water on the neck for at least 5 minutes and avoid moving the neck while doing this. Repeat this procedure 2-3 times every day.
- In a bathtub filled with warm water, add 2 cups of Epsom salt, mix them well until Epsom salt is fully dissolved. Soak the body in the solution with the neck area submerged for at least 15-20 minutes at least 3 times every week. Epsom salt has a chemical compound called magnesium sulfate that helps lessen the stiff neck, regulate enzymes in the body, increase blood circulation in the area and also minimize muscle tension and stress. Avoid performing this remedy if suffering from conditions such as diabetes or problems with the kidneys.
- Apple cider vinegar has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties helps in treating a stiff neck. It also helps minimize muscle strain and pain due to nutritional deficiencies. Soak a paper napkin in unfiltered apple cider vinegar and then place it on the affected area of the neck and let it stay in place for a few hours. Use this remedy at least twice every day until symptoms disappears. In a bathtub filled with lukewarm water, add 2 cups of apple cider vinegar and then soak the body, concentrate on the neck area for at least 15 minutes once every day until completely healed.