If you struggle with neck pain, you are not alone. Millions of people experience a stiff neck due to the demands of work, poor posture, an awkward sleeping position ... the list goes on. You'll know that your neck is sore when you find it difficult to move and a lingering feeling of soreness. Oftentimes, neck pain is accompanied by a headache or other aches along the shoulders and arms.
Let's take a look at some common causes of stiff neck pain and what you can do to relieve it.
The most common causes of a stiff neck are a soft tissue sprain and a muscle strain. The levator scapula muscle is especially vulnerable to damage. Located along the side and back of the neck, this muscle bridges the neck to the shoulders.
The levator scapula can be strained quite easily as a result of sleeping in an odd position, sports injuries or any activity that involves moving the head left to right and vice versa. Even poor sitting posture or constantly looking up or down can cause a stiff neck.
Other causes of stiff necks include holding the neck in an awkward position for an extended period of time, meningitis, infections and various cervical spine disorders.
Stiff neck symptoms usually last for at least a few days. The pain you feel can range from a mild pain that is more annoying than anything else, to pain that is extremely painful and limits your ability to move your neck.
If you experience even the mildest of neck pains, you might be suffering from a stiff neck. If you suspect that you have a stiff neck, you should seek medical treatment as it could be an indication that you have a medical condition. Fortunately, most stiff necks do not cause pain beyond a few days.
When you seek treatment for a stiff neck you should put forth the effort to learn and memorize neck stretches. It's also prudent to practice neck strengthening exercises to assist with your posture and general body ergonomics. Other treatment solutions include resting for a couple of days, applying ice/heat packs to catalyze blood flow, taking prescription or over-the-counter medications to reduce inflammation, and low-stress exercises such as walking.
Plenty of stiff neck sufferers have found relief by changing their sleeping position. People who previously slept on their stomach found that sleeping on their back or side improved their neck pain. Sleeping on your stomach might help you reach a deep sleep but it won't be worth it when you wake up if it results in neck pain. This sleeping position forces you to turn your neck quite harshly to one side or the other, causing nasty stiffness that can take half a week or longer to alleviate. In some instances, minimally invasive surgery may be necessary to eliminate or greatly diminish your neck pain.
Capital City Neurosurgery
If you are suffering from neck pain, you should know that help is available. Our neurosurgeon, Dr. Kelly Kiehm, is available to meet with you to educate you about possible solutions. Contact Capital City Neurosurgery today to schedule an appointment to learn more. We can be reached by phone at 614-300-1105.