If you suffer from a stiff neck, you are sailing in the same boat as many others. A painful neck could be attributed to your sedentary lifestyle, poor sitting posture, exercise-induced strains, sports-related injury, or strenuous workouts. It can affect the quality of your life and make it difficult to sleep. But you do not need to live with this problem anymore, that too, without prescription drugs or medical intervention unless there is an underlying condition triggering your symptoms. All that you need to do is try out a few home remedies for a stiff neck.
Most Common Stiff Neck Causes
- Cervical disc injury
- Neck or shoulder muscle strain
- Neck soft tissue sprain
- Issues with cervical nerves
- Strain to the levator scapula muscle
- Faulty sleeping position
- Slip and fall
- Sports injury
- Hurried head turning
- Poor body posture
- Stress or anxiety
- Taking on phones for a long period
Symptoms of Stiff Neck
- The most common symptoms include pain, soreness, and a problem moving the neck.
- You may find it difficult to turn your head to the side.
- Sometimes, a stiff neck may trigger a headache. Some people often experience arm or shoulder pain.
A painful neck results from the weakening of muscles over a period of time from poor posture or injury.
Stiff Neck Remedies
- Practice Proper Posture
Since a poor posture is one of the most common triggers of a stiff neck, you should try to maintain a good posture. Sit with a straight back as much as possible. You should try to avoid the practice of bending your back or stooping forward in a chair. A good posture can help you prevent aches and pains. When you maintain a proper posture throughout the day, you can focus on keeping the spine naturally aligned. This will help reduce stress on your neck.
- Cold-heat therapy
One of the most effective home remedies for a stiff neck, cold-heat therapy can help reduce inflammation around the neck and thus relieve muscle stiffness. You may continue to apply an ice pack during the first 24-48 hours when there is a painful flare-up. Alternate the cold therapy with heat therapy by applying a moist heat pack to the neck. Compared to dry heat, moist heat can penetrate into the neck deeper and more effectively. Do this at least three times every day. Heat will help spur blood circulation in the affected area and promote a healing environment. Or you may drape a towel soaked in hot water over the neck. Make sure the water is not dripping from the towel. Do this for about three times. You may go for either heat or cold therapy or alternate both for best results.
- Sleeping Position
Your wrong sleeping position can trigger a back and neck pain. When it comes to supporting your neck health, you should choose the best sleeping positions. Sleeping on your side is the best position for spine alignment. If you are in the habit of sleeping on your back, make sure your knees are slightly bent upward. You may use a pillow as a support under your knees. For additional support, place a small rolled-up hand towel under your neck.
Sit up straight and keep your monitor at the eye level. Take frequent breaks while driving to avoid a stiff neck. While looking into your smartphone, avoid bending your neck forward for a long period. It is a good idea to roll your shoulders back and forward at least a few times throughout the day. Another stiff neck remedy is to practice moving your neck alternatively toward the left and the right at least 10 times to reduce the risk of inflammation and stiffness in the muscles.
- Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Go for a nutrient-dense anti-inflammatory diet when you are fighting a stiff neck. Choose inflammation-fighting foods over calorie-dense processed products to help the healing process. Nut butter, green leafy veggies, ginger, probiotics are some of the anti-inflammatory foods. You may choose to include grass-fed meat, fermented foods, cage-free eggs, and cultured veggies in your everyday meal plans to cut down the risk of inflamed muscles.
- Epsom Salt
If you are still wondering how to cure stiff neck naturally, try Epsom salt bath in warm water. Add 1-2 cups of Epsom salt to a tub of hot water and soak your body for 15-20 minutes for immense relief from muscular pain. Epsom salt is a good source of magnesium and sulfate and thus helps regulate the activity of different enzymes. This home remedy for stiff neck can help in increasing the blood circulation, reducing the muscle tension and stress.
Or you could add magnesium sulfate to hot water baths. Repeat the process 2-3 times a day.
Being a natural muscle relaxant, magnesium is an anti-inflammation mineral that could help heal sore muscles. It is a good idea to increase the consumption of magnesium-rich foods in your diet. This may include whole grains, beans, and soy products.
A firm yet gentle massage is all you need to relax muscles and increase blood flow to the affected area. Massage is one of the best natural remedies for a stiff neck. This will help reduce muscle stiffness and ease the pain. Move your fingertips in a circular motion to warm up your stiff neck muscles. You may focus on the sore area, but it would help to move your fingers over your entire neck for better relief. Use peppermint oil to soothe stiff muscles. With its analgesic properties, peppermint will help reduce painful neck symptoms.
- De-Stress Yourself
Stress could trigger muscular pain, and your neck can suffer from psychological and emotional stress. By practicing meditation, you can calm your anxiety and experience relief from psychological stress, which may trigger neck pain. A regular session of meditation holds the key to calming your nerves and de-stressing yourself. Additionally, you should try to avoid stressful situations and practice how to let it go to remain stress free.
These simple home remedies for stiff neck can help relieve your pain symptoms, without the typical side effects associated with prescription medications and drugs. If you choose to go for natural healing therapy, you can improve the quality of your life.