What Causes Stiff Neck And Shoulder Pain
The most common cause of neck strain is using an electronic device at an awkward angle. However, there are many other causes for it too. These include:
- Poor posture
- Repetitive neck motion
All these causes can lead to neck and shoulder pain. So, it is important to work on these aspects when trying to relieve yourself of the pain and stiffness.
Is It Better To Sleep Without A Pillow To Avoid Neck Pain
Is it better to sleep without a pillow to avoid neck pain? Or, does sleeping without a pillow actually lead to neck pain? There are a few advantages of sleeping without a pillow to consider, especially for your posture.
Sleeping without a pillow will actually help extend your back and help you rest in a more natural position, possibly without any aches or pains. At the same time, using a pillow that is too soft will strain your neck muscles and reduce the flow of blood to the head.
Overall, sleeping without or with a pillow is a personal choice. That being said, here are some sleeping without a pillow benefits that you need to know:
How Long Does A Stiff Neck Last
At First Health, our team provides sports medicine and orthopedic care services that focus on getting our patients back to good health while improving their functional and athletic performance. Our physical therapists use the highest quality and level of training to ensure our patients get back on their feet and return to their healthy, normal, and active lifestyles. One-on-one training is every session, so our patients receive the attention they need, and our trainers see improvements. Our office offers all services, including treatment for back, shoulder, knee, hip, and neck relief in midtown.;
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What Are The Most Common Nonsurgical Treatments For Neck Pain
If you are experiencing chronic pain , it is important to seek medical attention for further evaluation and treatment. Treatments for neck pain vary, depending on the cause and duration of the neck pain you are experiencing. Many neck pain patients find relief in using one or a combination of these therapies. The most common treatments include:
Medications: Both over-the-counter and prescription medications may help manage neck pain, reduce inflammation, and decrease muscle spasm and sleep disturbance. The first line of treatment when it comes to neck pain medication is typically non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications , such as ibuprofen and naproxen, and acetaminophen . Some NSAIDS can be applied topically to the skin, such as Voltaren Gel and Aspercreme; other topical treatments include Icy-Hot, lidocaine based patches, and CBD creams/ointments.
Prescription medications such as muscle relaxers and nerve pain medications are sometimes considered, says Dr. Bonte. Muscle relaxants are used more often for acute pain rather than chronic pain.
For those with neuropathic neck pain, injections including a steroid and pain reliever may be effective, especially if done in conjunction with physical therapy. Ablation of the nerves near the neck joints may improve mobility and reduce pain, too.
Complementary therapies:Alternative treatments may be helpful in managing neck pain. Some of the more popular complementary therapies for treating neck pain include:
Posture And Sleeping Position
Holding your neck in an awkward position for a prolonged time can lead to strains in the muscles and tendons of your neck and shoulders.
Some of the postures and activities that commonly contribute to neck and shoulder pain are:
- sleeping on too high a pillow or a stack of pillows
- grinding or clenching your teeth at night
- sitting at a computer or over a phone with your neck strained forward or tilted up
- suddenly jerking your neck during exercise
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Additional Treatments Options For How To Help A Sore Neck Fast:
In addition to stretching, these are our top tips to address your neck pain:
- Apply a heating pad or have a hot bath if your neck is stiff and tight.
- Ice your neck if you have pulled a muscle or if it is swollen to help reduce inflammation. You can also apply a cooling balm or muscle rub, such as Biofreeze or Penetrex Pain Relief Cream. These aren’t a substitute for icing, but can be helpful if you’re short on time.
- Ensure that your pillow and mattress encourage a good sleeping posture. This switch alone can help to reduce neck pain and improve your sleep overall.
- If youre noticing that youre developing tech neck , evaluate your set-up. You may need to find readjust your set-up or invest in a chair that provides both neck and lumbar support.
- Keep your neck moving carefully throughout the day. Unless movement sends sharp pain down your neck, gentle motions will encourage circulation in your neck and have you feeling better in no time!
- Sometimes, stretching and temperature therapy cannot provide enough relief from neck tension. In this case, try either massage therapy to work on tight muscles or chiropractic care to check on your alignment and posture.
- Visit your physician to address any underlying concerns that may be causing you pain.
Having a stiff neck doesn’t have to stop you from doing the things you love. Addressing your neck pain concerns as soon as you can is the best way to feel like yourself again.
How Can You Get A Neck Pain Diagnosis
Neck pain is most often diagnosed by a primary care provider. The most important aspect of treatment is to try to identify the underlying cause of the pain, as this will direct the treatment, explains Dr. Bonte.
For example, if the cause is due to a muscle imbalance or poor ergonomics , it is important to address these underlying issues when thinking through the overall treatment plan.
To assess your neck pain, your healthcare provider will:
- Ask for your medical history
- Ask questions to determine the source of your pain, including:
- When did the pain start?
- What activities preceded the pain?
- What have you tried to relieve the neck pain?
- Does the pain radiate or travel into other body parts?
- What makes the pain less or greater?
Your doctor visit may include a neurological examination that tests your reflexes, muscle strength, sensory and/or motor challenges, and pain distribution in order to help them make the correct diagnosis.
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Seek Help From Pain Specialists
If you have stiff neck problems and other pain issues in the neck, shoulder or back, you should seek professional help. At Arizona Pain and Spine, we have a team of highly-trained and experienced specialists that can provide safe and effective solutions for treating and reducing pain. Make an appointment with us and start feeling relieved and pain-free.
Treatment Options For Chronic Stiff Neck
Treating chronic stiff neck typically requires a long-term commitment of trying different treatments and learning what does and does not help. Some treatments might only be needed on a temporary basis or for occasional flare-ups, whereas other treatments might be incorporated on a more regular basis.
One or more of the following treatments are commonly used:
Self-care. When a stiff neck returns or flares up, some initial treatments can be applied at home. Some examples include applying an ice pack or heat pack, gentle range-of-motion stretches, self-massage, or over-the-counter pain medications. Movements that can be done pain-free or with minimal discomfort are encouraged to keep the necks joints and muscles active and to prevent further tightening. In addition, movements or activities that worsen neck pain are to be avoided.
Lifestyle changes. Daily habits and the surrounding environment can play roles in how much the structures of the cervical spine are routinely stressed or overworked. Making lifestyle changessuch as using good posture when sitting, using a headset for the phone, becoming more physically active, or finding a better sleep position or pillow may help reduce factors that are contributing to neck pain and stiffness.
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How To Treat A Stiff Neck After Sleeping
Waking up with a stiff neck can be unexpected and inconvenient. Despite a stiff necks potential for severe, sharp pain and reduced range of motion, some people might feel pressure to maintain the days planned activities, such as going to work or class. Below is an explanation of how a stiff neck might develop during sleep, as well as strategies for finding quick relief before making a decision as to what can be realistically accomplished during the day.
These 4, simple, at-home remedies can help to alleviate neck pain and stiffness that results after sleeping.Watch:Video: 4 Best Stiff Neck Remedies After Sleep
Change Your Sleep Position
The position you sleep in at night can also affect your neck. Sleeping on your side or your back puts less strain on your neck than sleeping on your stomach. When you sleep on your stomach, youre forcing your neck to strain for long periods of time and this can cause pain and stiffness.
If you sleep on your side for all or part of the night, you can buy a pillow with neck support.
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Heat Therapy For A Painful Neck
Heat therapy can be used to increase blood circulation, and increase motion and flexibility. Try applying a heating pad, a warm compress or a damp towel on the affected area for 20 minutes. Be sure to wrap the source in a towel before applying it to your neck to protect the skin.
Some people use cold therapy to numb the pain, such as ice packs, a bag of frozen vegetables or an ice towel in order to reduce swelling and pain immediately after injury for acute pain or a new and recent swollen and inflamed injury. However cold therapy is not recommended for stiff muscles or joints.
For more information about heat and cold therapy, see my article on when to use cold or heat therapy for pain, stiff muscles and joints.
Stretches That Will Relieve Neck Pain And Tension
Stiff neck? The area above your shoulders is one that commonly holds tension, especially if you’re sitting at a desk all day or constantly staring down at your phone screen.
According to research, neck pain may feel like a “kink,” stiffness or severe pain. This pain may spread to the shoulders, upper back or arms, or it may trigger headaches and cause numbness, tingling or weakness in your arms.
In general, neck pain refers to pain anywhere from the area at the base of the skull into the shoulders. And technology is one of the major culprits. As a culture we put our necks through hell with our reliance on technology, which creates forward head carriage, and results in neck muscles that go into spasm and refer pain into our heads, temples, and even behind our eyes, says Brad Butler, chiropractor and author of The Blueprint for Back Pain Relief: The Essential Guide to Nonsurgical Solutions.
“The most common causes of neck pain are either postural or positional. The modern-day life style of sitting at a desk looking over a computer for multiple hours unfortunately leads to a forward head position where the skull moves forward of its placement on the first cervical vertebra,” says Lara Heimann, physical therapist and creator of LYT Style Yoga. “Every millimeter that the skull is off-center places a strain on the posterior neck muscles. These muscles on the back of the neck have a chronic stress and load on them that creates tension and pain.
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How To Lower Risk For A Stiff Neck
- Practice good posture. Getting into the habit of always using good posture can go a long way toward preventing aches and pains. Some examples could include setting up a workstation to be ergonomically-friendly, lifting heavy items with the legs rather than the back, or sleeping on the back or side with an ergonomic pillow. Being aware of posture throughout the day can keep the spine naturally aligned and minimize stress on the neck.
Best Way To Sleep With Neck Pain
Your spine naturally arches in three places. It curves forward at your neck and lower back. It curves the other way in your upper back. Setting up your bed to best maintain these natural curves can help you minimize neck or back pain.
Many people find that using a memory foam helps them manage their neck pain. A 2019 study found that combining a viscoelastic polyurethane memory foam pillow with chiropractic treatment was more effective than chiropractic treatment alone.
You can also try using a soft feather pillow that forms to your head or a pillow with cervical support.
If you sleep on your back:
- Use a thin pillow. A thin pillow lets you keep your upper spine in its natural position with a slight forward curve.
- Try a cervical pillow. A cervical pillow supports your neck and head to keep them in a neutral position.
- Use a supportive mattress. If your mattress is too soft, you may find that you sink into it and your back rounds.
When sleeping on your side:
- Avoid overly high pillows. Ideally, your pillow should be a height that keeps your ears stacked vertically over each other. If your pillow is too high or low, your neck will bend and you may develop pain over time.
- Keep chin neutral. Try to avoid tucking your chin if youre sleeping in the fetal position. Tucking your chin positions your head forward.
- Try putting a pillow between your knees. Putting a pillow between your knees helps keep your lower spine in alignment.
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What Do I Need To Know About Neck Anatomy
You dont need to memorize the physiology and anatomy of your neck to improve its function and reduce pain, but its helpful to have a general understanding of your cervical spine.
Neck mobility is matchless. Although you wont get any Exorcist-style head spinning, it is capable of moving the head in many directions: 90° of flexion , 90° of extension , 180° of rotation , and almost 120° of tilt to either shoulder.
But all that mobility comes at the cost of complexity. First youve got your seven vertebrae , each cushioned by an intervertebral disc and connected by facet joints. There are also 32 muscles, plus the tendons that attach them to bones, that help move and stabilize the neck, as well as a number of ligaments attaching bones to each other. Thats a lot of action in a comparatively small area.;;
Contact First Health Pt Neck Relief In Midtown:
First Health Physical Therapy is here to help you with all your needs, including neck relief in midtown. Our team is dedicated to ensuring you or a loved one can return to the fit and healthy lifestyle you once had before your injury. If youre experiencing a stiff neck, contact First Health PT. here to learn more about how we can relieve your neck pain today!
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Over Curvature Of The Neck
Get the photo album and find a picture of yourself in your profile. Sorry, but if you carry your head as shown in the first picture above, you are in real trouble. When the neck is over-curved, the head is not aligned above the spine but has to be carried in front of the body. That takes a lot of effort and pain. Muscles turn into spasms and cause neck and shoulder tension, headaches, migraine, even a Dowagers Hump. Help!
How To Treat Stiff Neck In One Minute : Detailed Instructions
Most of us experience a stiff neck once and awhile after a restless nights sleep or from sitting at a computer desk for too long. Generally, a stiff neck is regarded as a normal condition that can be treated at home.
The characteristics of stiff neckmay include pain and difficulty moving the neck from side to side. A stiff neck is also one of the causes of pain in the back of head. Symptoms dont usually last longer than a few days and can be managed using the protocols below.
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Here Are 6 Tips To Help With A Stiff Neck
How you sleep at night can make a difference.; Be sure to sleep on your back or side, not your stomach.; Sleeping on your stomach as neck pain often comes from sleeping on your stomach.; Also, use a special neck pillow, small pillow, or even no pillow on a firm mattress.
With proper stretching you can find relief.; Be sure you dont over stretch your muscles.
Heat or Ice:;;
Which should you use and when?; Its best to use Ice for the first 48 to 72 hours when you notice neck pain.; After you are done using the ice, switch to heat using a warm compress or heating pad.
Get a Massage:;
Whether you go to get a professional massage, have a friend give you one or even give one to yourself, a massage will relieve some of the pain.; If you are giving yourself a massage, find the sore are and push with your fingers or a tennis ball. It will also help to stretch while you rub the knotted muscle.;;
While you are sitting be sure that you are sitting up straight, feel flat on the floor and your knees should be level with your hips.; When standing, be sure to stand tall and keep your head up. Dont slouch!
If you find that you neck pain is becoming Chronic, we can help!