Neck pain is a common yet frustrating issue. When you have a stiff neck, even the slightest head movements can be painful. The pain usually improves gradually on its own, but it may come back multiple times. If you have recurring neck pain or stiffness, it’s important to figure out the cause, which will help you prevent it from happening again.
Causes of Stiff Neck
A stiff neck is usually caused by a muscle or joint issue. Muscle strains can occur as a result of overuse, or spending too much time in an unnatural or uncomfortable position. Neck pain can also be caused by joint issues. Your joints tend to wear down as you get older, and the cartilage that cushions your bones may deteriorate. This can restrict your neck’s range of motion.
If your neck pain is caused by muscle strain, it may be a result of poor posture. This is especially likely if you work at a computer all day or hunch over your smartphone. Hunching over puts excessive strain on your neck, even if it doesn’t feel uncomfortable at the time.
Sleeping in an awkward or unnatural position is another common cause of neck stiffness. When you spend hours with your neck in a strained position, it’s very likely that it will cause at least some discomfort. Sleeping on a pillow that’s too flat or too high is one reason people strain their necks as they sleep. Another common cause is sleeping on your stomach with your neck twisted to the side.
If you’re a swimmer, you may experience neck stiffness as a result of turning your head to the side repeatedly while swimming. Other activities that involve turning the head side to side can cause neck stiffness, too.
Neck injuries or sudden impacts can also lead to pain and stiffness. Neck stiffness is common after a sports-related injury or after whiplash from a car accident. Falling can hurt the muscles in your neck as well.
Symptoms of Stiff Neck
The symptoms of a stiff neck may vary depending on the severity of the muscle strain or joint issue.
The most common signs and symptoms include:
- Sharp, shooting, or aching pain
- Difficulty moving your head
- Muscle spasms
Chiropractic Care for Stiff Neck
If you experience neck stiffness that won’t go away, it’s important to seek treatment. The pain might eventually fade on its own, but the limited range of motion, muscle tension, and headaches that often accompany a stiff neck can be awful.
Chiropractic care is a great treatment option for neck pain and stiffness. It’s completely safe and noninvasive, and there are no adverse side effects. If the muscles in your neck are strained, this may cause your spine to become misaligned. A misaligned spine can’t support the neck, and the lack of support can cause even more muscle strain. Chiropractic care ends this vicious cycle by realigning the spine, which will provide more support for your head and neck.
If you have been dealing with a stiff neck for more than a week, contact Texas Spine Clinic for help today.