Everyone suffers from a stiff neck every now and then. This condition characterized by sore neck muscles is accompanied by varying degrees of pain that can even radiate to the head, shoulders and/or arms. In more severe cases, it can also inhibit a person’s ability to turn their head sideways or backwards.
Stiff neck symptoms normally last for a couple of days or a week and may trigger a neck pain ranging from slightly painful to excruciating and limiting.
A stiff neck is commonly the result of the following:
- Muscle strain or sprain
- Inappropriate sleeping position
- Sports injuries that strain the neck
- Any activity that involves repeatedly turning the head from side to side, such as swimming
- Poor posture, such as slouching while working on the computer
- Excessive stress, which can result in tension in the neck
- Holding the neck in an abnormal position for a long period (for example, holding a phone between the neck and shoulder).
A massage often proves efficient in easing this pain. However, a stiff neck is really annoying and debilitating, so most people simply want to get rid of it immediately. According to Allyn Kakuk, DPT, a wellness physical therapist at the Mayo Clinic, there’s a simple routine you can do yourself to get rid of the pain in mere 60 seconds. This is how:
Locate the sore spot. If it’s on the right side of your neck or upper back, put your right hand on the area. For a left-sided pain, use your left hand.
Using firm pressure, press into the painful area with your fingers. This may cause some pain, but nothing unbearable. In the words of Kakuk “It should be a good hurt that you can tolerate, not a sharp pain.” Alternatively, you can use a tennis ball or another prop if you can’t quite reach the sore spot. Simply, lean against a wall for leverage.
The next thing you do is turn your head slightly in the direction opposite the cramp, and bend it diagonally, as if you were trying to touch your armpit with your chin. The thing is you can actually relax the cramped muscle by applying pressure on it.
Uninterruptedly, do steps 1-3 for 20 times. Finally, give your neck and upper back a nice, long stretch. Repeat the series during the day to maintain your muscle relaxed.