7 Best Home Remedies for a Stiff Neck
There are different reasons why your neck might be stiff. Maybe you have suffered a muscle strain, stressed out, or simply developed a poor posture from staring down at your phone too often.
Sometimes, someone can have a stiff neck simply because they sleep in an awkward position or with an old shapeless pillow. No matter the cause of that annoying stiffness you feel in your neck, you will want immediate relief.
Here are the seven best remedies for a stiff neck.
Remedy #1: Apply ice or heat
If your stiff neck comes with inflammation and swelling, you can apply ice to it for no more than 15 minutes at a time. However, never put ice or an ice pack directly on your skin. Wrap them in a washcloth, or use a cold compress instead of ice.
You can also apply moist heat to your neck for up to 20 minutes. This will help promote blood flow and soothe sore muscles. For more relief, you can alternate your ice and heat applications.
Remedy #2: Stretch and exercise your neck daily
Stretching and exercising your neck muscles will help relieve stiffness and pain. Strengthening these muscles will also help prevent a stiff neck. A physiotherapy clinic can recommend useful stretches and exercises that will alleviate your neck discomfort.
Be sure to stretch slowly and gently and avoid sudden movements. Try some of these exercises and add them to your daily routine:
- Roll your shoulders backward ten times, then roll them forward ten times.
- Keep your head straight, and turn it slowly from side to side. Repeat ten times.
- Bend your neck as if you were trying to place your ear on your shoulder without moving your shoulder. Hold the position for 5 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
- Tuck your chin in, and gently pull your head down towards your chest with your hand. Hold this position for 30 seconds.
Remedy #3: Learn self-massage techniques
Massage is an effective remedy for a stiff neck. But if you can’t get a massage from someone else, learn a simple self-massage technique and use it whenever you need to soothe your stiff and sore neck muscles.
Place your hands on the back of your neck, where it meets your shoulders. Apply pressure to the area with your fingertips, and release it when your muscles feel relaxed.
Then, roll your shoulders forward and backward. Repeat this massage whenever your neck feels stiff and painful to get instant relief.
Remedy #4: Keep a good posture
Unfortunately, many of us have poor posture because we spend too much time sitting in front of a computer screen or staring down at our phones.
Looking at your phone a few times each day might sound harmless, but every time you do it, it pulls on your neck muscles and can eventually strain them.
Next time you want to look at your phone, hold it at eye level instead of looking down at it. With time, this simple gesture will help improve your posture and relieve your stiff neck.
Remedy #5: Improve your workstation
Another thing you can do to improve your posture and treat your stiff neck is to improve your workstation to make it as ergonomic as possible.
Get a quality office chair, and adjust it in a comfortable position. Keep your feet flat on the floor while you work, keep your back straight, and make sure your keyboard is at the height of your elbows.
As for your computer, make sure the top third of its screen is at eye level and placed between 18 and 24 inches away from your face. This ensures you will not have to crane your neck up or down while looking at your screen.
If possible, get a standing desk to alternate between a sitting and standing position. This can also help relieve the strain put on your neck.
Remedy #6: Sleep on your back or your side
If you suspect that your stiff neck might result from an awkward sleeping position, do your best to sleep on your back or your side. Avoid sleeping on your stomach, as it will only put more strain on your neck.
You can place a small pillow under your knees if you sleep on your back. If you like to sleep on your side, you can place one between your knees. This helps keep your spine in a neutral position while you sleep.
Remedy #7: Take some pain relievers
If your neck is still stiff after trying a few of these tips, you can take over-the-counter pain relievers to relieve your pain and inflammation.
However, if the pain lasts more than a few days, you should consider speaking with a doctor or another healthcare professional. It’s important to ensure that a serious underlying condition does not cause your stiff neck.