A stiff neck can be a real pain in the, well, neck. It isn’t considered a serious medical problem, it can impact your daily life. In most cases, a stiff neck is caused by weakened muscles or muscle strain. The increased use of technology – computers, smartphones, tablets, etc. – is one of the most common causes of a stiff neck.
Sitting in a hunched position while using these devices places strain on the soft tissues and muscles that lie within the neck, which leads to pain. Other factors that can contribute to a stiff neck include stress, bruxism (excessive teeth grinding and clenching), poor posture, osteoarthritis, and overusing the neck. Injuries of the spine and the neck itself can also result in a stiff neck. Whatever the cause, it’s likely that you’re looking for ways to treat your pain. Below, we share 14 tips that you can use to ease your discomfort.
1. Heat and ice.
One of the easiest ways to ease the pain caused by a stiff neck is with heat and ice, as both help to relieve inflammation within the neck muscles that can contribute to neck pain. Alternate between the two, applying an ice pack or a bag filled with ice for a period of 20 minutes and then switching to heat (you can use a heating pad or a warm compress) for 20 minutes.
Do this a couple of times a day, particularly when the pain reaches its height, to relieve the symptoms that are associated with a stiff neck. When using this technique, avoid placing excessive heat and ice directly on the skin; doing so could cause injuries. Protect the skin by wrapping an ice pack with a towel and when using a heating pad, make sure to always use the protective covering for the device.