Stiff Neck: Cause and Treatment

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Stiff Neck: Cause and Treatment

A stiff neck is defined as the sensation that causes discomfort in the neck when a person tries to move it. In most cases, the neck’s stiffness is accompanied by neck pain, headache, arm pain, or shoulder pain. In this situation, to move one’s neck, an individual will need to move the entire body instead of just the neck.

Some sufferers of this condition have testified to have started experiencing this condition after waking up in the morning. Some also testified to experiencing stiff necks after engaging in strenuous activities like moving furniture, carrying heavy loads or equipment, e.t.c.

In most cases, the neck’s stiffness is said to go away after a week or more without any form of medication or therapy. Though in more severe circumstances, craniosacral therapy is applied. Again, how an individual manages the symptoms determines how severe the pain level or the recovery time will be, and whether it will return afterward.

Known Causes of Stiff Neck

The commonest cause of stiff necks is soft tissue sprain, though it is sometimes referred to as muscle strain. Another cause of stiff neck is bad sleeping posture, assuming an uncomfortable position that will eventually lead to the neck’s stiffness. Other causes include:

1. Injury from Accidents

 Injuries sustained from accidents like falls, which the head may have been jerked violently, can lead to a stiff neck. Such falls are usually gotten from sports mishaps or car accidents. These injuries can result in sprains, muscle injuries, or strains on the ligaments in your neck, which are also regarded as the main symptoms of a stiff neck.

2. Osteoarthritis

This daily wears and tear of the neck bones (especially joints) with age, a situation that limits the neck’s movement, otherwise known as the neck’s stiffness. This activity on the neck results in the stiffness of the neck, thus, its excruciating pain.

3. Bad Posture

Some people have formed the habit of attaining bad postures when they sleep, sleep, or even walk. The commonest of them all is the bad sleeping posture; when you sleep with your neck awkwardly bent for hours, you are likely to wake up with a stiff neck the next day.

4. Repeatedly Moving the Neck

Depending on the type of job or activity you engage in, always moving your neck from one side to the other can lead to the neck’s stiffness. Some of the activities that can lead to this situation include swimming (using the front stroke), assuming the wrong position while viewing the computer monitor, or looking downwards at your mobile phone for a long time.

5. Anxiety

Excessive anxiety or stress can lead to tension in the neck, causing it to experience some level of stiffness. This is why sometimes you have to rest your body when you feel you are stressed.


The treatment of stiff neck differs; some choose to treat therapeutically, while others still to medications. For the medical part of it, the recommended medications include:

• Paracetamol

• Ibuprofen

• Naproxen 


• Rest

• Cold or heat therapy

• Craniosacral therapy 

Finally, we must advise that you seek the services of a doctor before proceeding to self-medication. Try as much as possible maintain a good sleeping posture, and avoid awkwardly positioning your head to view either your computer monitor or mobile phone.

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