Do You Have a Stiff Neck? Try These Simple Remedies
Looking down at your computer monitor all day can cause the muscles around the neck joints to tire and become overstretched. Driving for long periods of time or looking at your smart phone can have the same effect. If you’re doing this day after day, it can add up and can displace your neck joints.
Stretching can keep pain at bay
Putting your monitor at eye level, sitting up straight and avoiding tilting and twisting your head down or to the side while you’re on the computer can help you avoid neck pain. When you’re driving or looking at your smart phone, be sure to take frequent breaks and avoid having your neck bent forward for long periods of time.
The key to relief for a stiff neck is proper stretching and manipulation
Take care when you sleep
If your neck is bothering you, you also should pay attention to your sleep positions. Sleep only on your side or on your back – never on your stomach.
For minor, common causes of neck pain, try these simple remedies:
- Apply heat or ice to the painful area. Use ice for the first 48 to 72 hours, then use heat after that. Heat may be applied with warm showers, hot compresses or a heating pad. Be sure not to fall asleep with a heating pad or ice bag in place to avoid skin injuries.
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofenor acetaminophen.
- Keep moving, but avoid jerking or painful activities. This helps calm your symptoms and reduce inflammation.
- Do slow range-of-motion exercises, up and down, side to side, and from ear to ear. This helps to gently stretch the neck muscles.
- Have a partner gently massage the sore or painful areas.
- Try sleeping on a firm mattress without a pillow or with a special neck pillow.
- Ask your health care provider about using a soft neck collar to relieve discomfort. Do not use the collar for a long time. Doing so can make your neck muscles weaker.
If the pain gets in the way of your daily activities, call your doctor.