Waking up in the morning only to feel a crick in your neck can be a tough way to start your day. The stiff uncomfortable sensation in your neck can sometimes feel as though you can’t move your neck at all making it difficult to go about your day.
A crick in your neck or a stiff neck is often the result of the tightness of the muscles in your lower neck and upper back muscles that can cause misalignments of your spine. Misalignment of the spine can result in neck pain and can limit your range of motion.
Aside from a stiff and uncomfortable neck, there are other symptoms associated with this condition. Common symptoms include:
- A stiff feeling in the lower neck and upper back muscles
- Reduced mobility
- Popping feeling when your neck moves a specific way
From stress, forward head posture, or sleeping in the wrong position; there are a variety of causes for a stiff neck. Common causes of a crick in the neck may include:
- Stress (physical, chemical, and emotional)
- Poor head and neck posture
- Sleeping in an abnormal position
- Overstraining during a workout
- Heavy labor or poor lifting posture
- Improper support of your neck during rest
- Reaching or looking a certain way for an extended period
- Whiplash injury
In a small percentage of cases, a stiff neck may be a symptom of a more severe cervical spine condition. Chiropractors are trained to determine if care outside of their scope is needed and will recommend additional care as needed.
HOW DO YOU TREAT A STIFF NECK?
A visit to your chiropractor is an important first step to determine the source of the problem and make sure any misalignments are corrected. Treatment options will vary depending on the cause of your stiff neck.
Masking the pain with over-the-counter pain medications, “popping” your own neck, and your body’s natural ability to adapt to avoid pain often provide temporary relief, but if the source of the stiff neck is not corrected, you may incur further trauma to your neck, chronic neck pain, and face longer recovery times.
Laser treatments, icing, and topical creams may be included as part of the treatment to help reduce inflammation and stimulate healing. Stretches, exercises, massage and other treatments may also be recommended to help reduce stress, relax tight muscles, and strengthen postural muscles. A supportive pillow, changes in posture, and sleeping position are also be good lifestyle changes that are often included in your treatment plan.
For more information on how to relieve a stiff neck or to schedule an appointment, contact Hunt Spinal Care today.