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5 Tips to Soothe a Stiff Neck

5 Tips to Soothe a Stiff Neck

Neck problems are common, affecting millions of Americans and taking a toll on everything from work and sleep to enjoying recreational and social activities. Fortunately, today there are a wide array of treatment options to help soothe a stiff, sore neck, including “home remedies” aimed at providing quick relief.

At Jersey Integrative Health and Wellness, our team knows how bothersome neck pain and stiffness can be. At our offices in Boonton, Pompton Plains, and Jersey City, New Jersey, we help patients implement therapies and lifestyle changes to help soothe their symptoms. Here are five tips that could help you.

1. Apply hot and cold therapy

Neck pain and rigidity often involve stiff muscles or muscle spasms and helping relax that tension is key to relieving pain and inflammation. For many people, alternating hot and cold therapy can help. 

Using a hot water bottle or heating pad alone is good for relaxing muscle tension and improving blood flow to the area to help heal injured tissues. However, alternating heat with cold can be even more effective by helping to decrease inflammation in the area, which can also contribute to pain and stiffness.

For both hot and cold therapies, make sure to use a cloth between your skin and a hot water bottle or ice pack, and apply heat or cold for only 15 minutes at a time.

2. Use gentle stretching

When your neck is stiff and sore, moving your neck may seem like the last thing you want to do. But for many types of neck pain, gentle stretching can be very helpful in relieving those uncomfortable symptoms.

Stretching your neck muscles with simple, slow movements improves circulation to the area while relaxing tight muscles. Opt for slow neck rolls or stretch your neck by bending your head slowly toward your chest, then back again. Stop if the pain intensifies.

3. Practice good posture

Your neck is extremely flexible, with the ability to move in many different directions. At the same time, your neck needs to support your head which is about 10-11 pounds on average. That’s a lot of strain on a single part of your body, and unlike the rest of your spine, your neck doesn’t have the support of ribs and wide muscles to take some of the load.

Instead, posture becomes of paramount importance. Try not to spend long periods with your head bent over your phone or laptop. Raise your computer and adjust your chair height so the screen is at eye level. 

Take frequent breaks to stretch your neck, shoulders, and upper back. Sit and stand straight with your ears aligned with your shoulders and keep your shoulders back — don’t hunch forward.

4. Learn to manage stress

Strenuous activity, poor posture, bad sleeping position, and spending hours hunched over a phone can all contribute to neck stiffness and pain. So can emotional stress, especially if your stress is chronic.

Stress causes your muscles to stiffen and tighten, and often, those responses occur in your upper back, shoulders, and neck. Over time, you can wind up with nagging neck pain and stiffness.

 

Incorporating stress management techniques into your daily routine can help relieve neck pain and benefit your health in other ways, too. Yoga, meditation, and focused breathing techniques are all good ways to shed stress. Taking some time to listen to music, read, or do another pleasurable activity each day can also help.

5. Try medical therapy

While mild, temporary neck pain and stiffness may respond to home remedies and extra TLC, persistent neck pain that interferes with regular daily activities or gets worse needs to be evaluated by our team. 

We recommend treatment plans based on each person’s needs, with innovative therapies like osteopathic manipulation, acupuncture, and physical therapy for quick relief and lasting results.

Neck pain and stiffness can take a toll on every aspect of your life, even your sleep. Having your pain evaluated can help us determine the underlying cause, tailoring your care for quick, effective relief.

To learn how we can help you relieve your stiff, sore neck, request an appointment online or over the phone with the team at Jersey Integrative Health and Wellness today.

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