So You’ve Got a Stiff Neck? Take A Look At These 5 Stiff Neck Remedies

A.stiff neck is one of the most common maladies in our society today.

All one has to do is sit for a few minutes in any place where people gather and you will see its victims; the craners, the stretchers, the guy grabbing and rubbing the back of his neck with a grimace on his face.

You’ve seen them. The stiff neck, it seems, has become the punishment for our 21st century lifestyle. That being said, a painful neck has as many causes as people have necks.

Habits to Avoid

Let’s start, then with a short list of ‘neck killing’ habits you should try to avoid whenever possible.

1. Stop sleeping sitting up: We’ve all been guilty of it, catching a nap in the doctor’s waiting room, falling asleep in your favorite chair after a long day. Any situation in which you will likely wake up with your chin down on your chest in universally accepted as being terrible for you.

2. Keep your work, or any other task that demands your attention, in front of you, and at eye level: These days, the personal computer is the most common culprit, but the next time your frittering away the hours playing ‘Angry Birds’ on your smartphone, take note of the position you’re in. Most likely you are clutching it in both hands up against your belly, with your head down so far you can almost rest your chin on your chest. Another activity you spend hours doing without much thought as to your position is watching the T.V. Most people have their T.V. in such a low position that you are almost staring at the floor. Believe it or not, television manufacturers are now recommending that your screen should be at least 5 feet off the floor. It will seem a little awkward at first, but try it for a couple weeks and see if you don’t notice a difference.

3. Avoid drafts: Your grandma was right, you need to wear your muffler when it’s cold. Of course, we now know that you’re not going to catch a cold from getting a cold neck, but you can certainly get a stiff neck. If you’re one of those folks who likes it chilly to frosty in the room when you sleep, consider closing the window and using fewer blankets, or if you must have it cold, try different ways of keeping your neck warm. (I actually had a friend who used to sleep with the cut-off collar of a turtle-neck on. I thought he was crazy, but he said it kept him from getting a stiff neck. Who knew?) The other drafty place to be aware of is in the car. If you like the heat on and the window open, try opening the window on the side opposite you.

A few simple home stiff neck remedies (in no particular order)

1. Use heat to loosen stiff muscles: Heat, when used in the proper quantity, can be an excellent treatment for tight muscles. If you have any pre-packaged hot packs, either chemical or just reheatable, those are great, but can get expensive, especially if you’re using the disposable type. For an inexpensive substitution, try making a rice bag; all you need is some uncooked rice and some kind of cloth bag.

You can simply cut down a tattered pillowcase, leaving just enough of a corner that you can fill it with rice and tie it off. Throw it in the microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute (depending on your oven.) Make sure it’s hot enough to do some good, but not so hot that it’s going to burn you. The moist heat from the warmed rice is a really good remedy for those painful neck muscles. Remember to be sparing with heat, using too much can have an opposite effect and actually increase inflammation.

2. Take a hot shower: This is really just another delivery system for heat, but letting the hot water beat directly on the affected area not only helps the muscles to relax, but the massage-like beating of the water on your muscle helps to increase blood flow to the area, helping to heal any strained muscles. It’s definitely nice to have a fancy shower massage head, but I’ve found that my awful low-flow showerhead does the trick, too.

3. Gentle neck traction: (requires a helper) Take a dry towel and roll it up so it’s about three feet long. Lie down on your back with the rolled-up towel under your neck. Then your partner gently (can I re-iterate gently enough?) lifts up and pulls back on the towel. This will provide a stretch to those muscles, and you will be amazed at how much it helps just to have the weight of your head taken off your neck. Do this as long as feels comfortable, or however long you’re able to keep your partner interested.

4. Non-prescription pain relievers: Mayoclinic.com recommends ibuprofen, acetaminophen or aspirin. The recommended dose should lessen the pain. If you’re often temped to exceed the recommended dose, it may be time to see your doctor!

5. Relax! Since so much of what makes us uncomfortable is the constant state of tension and agitation that we like to keep ourselves in, any activity that you can do which helps you to relax will help with the neck as well: Meditation, yoga, stretching, breathing exercises all have a part to play in lessening the tension in your body as a whole.

Keep these things in mind, and I think you’ll find that ‘pain in the neck’ might be a thing of the past.

Reference

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