Have Neck Pain? Tips to Help Loosen A Stiff Neck

Stiff Neck

Stiff Neck

Are you experiencing neck pain and looking for tips to help loosen a stiff neck?

People are doing a lot of different things now post-pandemic, bringing new aches and pains. We’ve been talking to patients in the clinic that have been experiencing new pains from…

Playing with kids all day, picking them up more frequently, and trying to home school…

Trying new ways to exercise …

Trying to “work from home” without a proper desk and chair…

Doing more housework, gardening, or DIY, and experiencing new neck pain that wasn’t there before.

General neck stiffness often creeps up on people with zero warning.

There’s sometimes no explanation as to why you might all of a sudden wake up one morning with the type of neck pain that is daily, annoying, and nagging – we speak to lots of patients that say the pain is to the point where it can make it difficult to enjoy life.

It often happens due to an accumulation of things, such as sleeping with two pillows, reading the newspaper, reading in bed, spending all day looking at a computer screen, cleaning the house, ironing, preparing family meals, and everything else that we’ve already included above that you could be doing now. Lots of these things might sound small, but like anything that is done repetitively, no matter how small a task, eventually, the impact builds up and causes pain, stiffness, and tension.

Most people think when they get neck pain, that the pain is going to go away on its own. That they’ll wake up one morning and like “magic”, it’ll be as if it never happened… But then 6 months later you’re still living with nagging pain even worse than it was when it came on.  Our cervical spine discs have a tolerance to tension placed on them because they are designed to absorb shock.  But day after day as we apply tension by poor posture and weak support muscles.  This causes more and more pressure in our neck on the cervical discs, muscles, and shoulders.  As a result, we get more tension and pain in the neck and pressure on the nerves enough to cause numbness and weakness down an arm.  If you are having pain down between the shoulder blades or out into the shoulder, watch this video for more explanation.

Can you relate to this? If yes… You are not alone! 

You might be reading this, and you’ve suddenly just started experiencing pain since your routine changed, or maybe you have been experiencing neck pain for a while and you finally want to look for some advice to help. A lot of folks say, “I just need to stretch my neck. It feels so good when I continue to stretch or do my neck stretches and it feels good.” That’s because there’s a lot of tension and spasm in the neck and shoulder area trying to keep your head supported against the forward head posture.  So those tight and tense muscles are actually tired and weak.  So while it feels like you get some relief with stretching, what you really need is strengthening of the posture muscles.  As a result, you will have a better awareness of proper posture and strength to keep those muscles on slack.

Here are some tips from us below, to help with neck pain…

3 ways to (…naturally) help annoying, daily, irritating neck pain, from disturbing sleep and causing severe headaches!

1. Use Ice (Not Heat) to Stop the Pain.

Ice is by far the best way to ease knee pain. Our tip: Use ice whenever you’re feeling achy or painful, such as at the end of a very busy day. Apply an ice pack for 10 minutes or so, little but very often (every hour).

And when to use heat – my tip would be to apply a hot water bottle on a morning when your neck is likely to be feeling stiffer than painful. Again, 10 minutes should do it.


2. Sleep With One Soft Pillow.

Might be difficult at first, especially if you are used to two pillows. But, if you can persist, it lowers the amount of stretching and tension happening at your neck.

Frequent headaches, migraines, and constant tension (…and even an unhealthy looking posture) are a sign of spending 8 hours every night in the wrong position. Drop down to just one soft pillow and you will notice a difference.


3. Avoid Reading for More Than 20 Minutes in Bed

The reason why is because your head looking forwards and down at a book or iPad, is increasing tension in the postural muscles of the neck. It’s a bit like stretching an elastic band too far – eventually, it will “fray”, weaken, and even tear.  This will cause pain, muscle soreness, and even headaches.

Worse, at this late time in the day, your muscles are already tired and weak. And placing them under even more tension so late in the day will make more tension and headaches through the night, inevitable.


…These 3 tips might sound like small changes.  But believe us, just like lots of tiny, little changes add up to cause problems in your 40s, 50s, and 60s.  Similarly, lots of little improvements or alterations will also add up to leave you feeling less stiff, less tense, and living with more energy and freedom.

For a more in-depth look at neck pain watch this video.

What Can Physical Therapy Do For You?

When we treat patients suffering from neck pain, the first thing we do is identify what type of Neck injury we have. The wrong treatment can make things worse. Once we identify the type and cause of the pain our treatments will include a combination of hands-on treatments and exercise. Examples of hands-on treatment can include joint mobilizations to loosen stiff joints and instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, cupping, dry needling, or stretching.  If you have any more specific questions, click the link below to schedule a phone consultation.

Click Here To Arrange A FREE Telephone Consultation

 

Nick Hunter, PT, DPT

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