My Neck Is Stiff…and it’s not getting any better!
Have you been dealing with annoying, on and off neck pain for too long? Have you tried everything to get rid of this neck stiffness and nothing seems to be working? Are you tired of the fatigue that comes from your neck hurting all the time?
Or maybe you know someone else who is dealing with this?
Over 30% of people report they have neck pain. Of these, 50% will continue to have problems without any real answers or solutions.
When clients come to us with neck pain, often they’ve already tried several approaches without success. But the real issue I see is that everyone they’ve seen up to that point has failed to give them a full and accurate diagnosis.
Without an accurate diagnosis, treatment fails.
What Is The Cause Of My Neck Pain?
It’s not surprising. The true cause (or causes) of neck pain can be easily missed by many and they are sometimes difficult to diagnose.
- The anatomy of the neck, unlike the rest of your spine, is fairly intricate. Not only does this require special care and accuracy when it comes to examining your neck, it makes it easy for someone who is not expertly trained to miss things.
- You feel the pain in your shoulder but it’s coming from your neck. What I mean is, it’s possible to only feel pain in your shoulder, but the real source of the problem is in your neck. If you’ve ever been treated for a “shoulder problem” and it hasn’t gotten any better (or maybe it got worse!), there’s a good chance you got misdiagnosed.
- Your core strength has a lot to do with how well your neck functions. When it comes to neck pain – or any problem for that matter – a holistic approach is always best and most thorough. Sometimes your neck pain can be a “symptom” of a root cause somewhere else. Many times I’ve seen people come in having suffered from neck pain for years – and once we properly strengthen their core or other areas of their body – their neck pain starts to finally improve.
These are just a few of the most common reasons I’ve seen, over the years, of why the true source of your neck pain can get missed. And, guess what? If the true cause of your pain is missed…then you won’t get consistent relief or full recovery.
If this is striking a chord for you, or this sounds like the experience of someone you know, I’ve got some good news for you! We offer a Free Discovery Visit so we can hear your story and learn more about your journey.
We created these free initial consultations specifically for people who have doubts that anyone can help them or have had a negative experience elsewhere. During this 100% free visit you can get all your questions answered and we will lay out the next steps to reaching your goals.
How To Minimize Your Pain
But, maybe you are looking for something you can do right now to help your neck stiffness and get to feeling better?
Then read on for some simple ideas you can implement today.
Ice is Nice – Put an ice pack on the area that hurts the most for 5 minutes. Ice doesn’t take long to work. And, it is the most effective pain reliever you can get in a short period of time.
Now, you may need to put the ice pack on a couple of different areas and that is totally okay. You can “chase the pain” with ice. Just start with the area that hurts the most and move it after 5 minutes.
Once you have the pain calmed down a little bit you are ready to move onto step #2.
Gentle Stretching and Active Motion – The key word here is GENTLE! First, warm up the area by moving through motions that are pain free. Often you can nod your head or shake your head “No”. Just make sure to stay in movements that are pain free.
Once the joints are moving and the muscles are warmed up you can add some gentle stretches. These are often done by tilting your head to the pain free side to get some gentle stretching through the painful side.
Now, I always tell people that you should only feel “stretch pain” not “pain pain”. If you find yourself wincing or holding your breath – you’ve gone too far. Back off until you feel a gentle, pain free stretch.
Check your sleep posture – The goal when you are sleeping is to keep your head in a “neutral” position (AKA – the position your head should be in when you are standing). If you are a side sleeper, this means you have to “fill in” the space created from your head to your shoulder.
Most back sleepers require very little in the way of support for their head. Use a thin pillow that decreases the tension on the back of your head.
Please don’t ever sleep on your stomach. This requires you to turn your head in an awkward way that only increases the pain over time as you sleep. Stomach sleeping is never encouraged but certainly not for those who have stiff necks.
Also, check your mattress to make sure that it is holding your body in the correct position while you are sleeping. When your mattress wears out it can create harmful divets that your body rests in.
How do you know if you sleep posture is a problem? If you wake up with more neck stiffness than you went to bed with, you need to check out your sleeping posture.
Watch how you are sitting – Do you find yourself slumping forward in front of the computer during the day or the TV at night? This causes increased stress to the neck muscles as they work hard to keep your head on top of your shoulders. The muscles will get tight and lead to neck stiffness.
The proper posture is your head resting on top of your shoulders without feeling strain in your neck muscles. If you work at a computer all day, you may need to reset your posture at multiple points through the day.
Set a timer to go off to remind you to do a “posture check” every 45 minutes.
Managing Stress – Many people carry their stress in their shoulders which causes tension that creeps up to their neck. Managing this may require some lifestyle changes to eliminate a stiff neck.
And, when it comes to managing stress, you have to find something that works well for you. That may include deep breathing exercise, meditation, yoga, journaling, or finding a good friend to talk with regularly.
Everybody has a different technique that works well for them. Take the time to find the best solution for your body.
We admit these tips are only to get you started on your journey. If you are ready to address this problem for the long term, we encourage you to see one of our neck specialists.
What Can We Do To Help
Because the truth is the ideas above are a short term fix to a long term problem. And, you don’t want this problem to continue to show up in your life!
Our neck specialist will help get to the root of your problem by listening to your neck story with a complete assessment of your neck problem.
From here we can create a customized plan to address what is causing your neck stiffness and how to eliminate the problem for good!
There are not pre-written, off the shelf programs here at Physical Therapy for everyBODY. We offer customized solutions that are tailored to you and your neck issues.
If you have decided that you are done struggling with this stiff neck and ready to find a real, permanent solution to your neck pain then we encourage you to sign up for one of our free Discovery Visits.
This is for people who are ready to find a solution to their problem but still have a couple of questions they would like answered.
If you are not going to spend one more day struggling with neck pain then this free Discovery Visit is perfect for you. We look forward to helping you, here at Physical Therapy for everyBODY.