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Stiff Neck

Stiffness in your neck may be mild or severe, long lasting or temporary, come on quickly or build over time. It can spread to the shoulders, upper back, or arms. With this type of neck issue specifically, movement can become limited, which is what we typically call having a “kink” in the neck, (or a “crick”, depending on which part of Tennessee you may be from). If you are experiencing any of these symptoms to a point where your daily life is being affected, Advance Health and Wellness may be able to help.

At some point in their lives, most people will experience some type of minor neck problem and the associated pain that comes with it. While typically the parts of our bodies do their jobs quite well with little or no issue, it is normal that every day wear and tear, in addition to minor stresses or injuries, can cause pain and in this case, stiffness.

Over time, poor posture and lack of or misuse of muscles will also cause problems. Especially in an area like the neck, where so many muscles and joints close to the spine rely on the neck to do its job, any extra strain can put a “kink” in the otherwise smooth process.

Pain and stiffness are often more heavily concentrated on one side, and turning your head can be extremely painful, causing a sharp pain. This is the type of stiffness that is generally most bothersome to people, as moving our heads back and forth is rather important to our daily lives. We also do it without even thinking about the motion, making this problem even worse, as we get a rude awakening each and every time we look left or right to cross the street, change lanes, acknowledge a coworker calling our name, or watch our kids at the playground.

Neck stiffness can be caused by any number of activities or stressors, much like other types of neck pain. Exercise that is not followed by adequate stretching, for example, can cause a tight, stiff feeling, making motion difficult or painful. Falling, tripping, or anything that causes a “jerk” reaction or twisting of the spine, driving for long periods, and even looking at your smart phone for a prolonged period, will cause this type of pain as well.

Seemingly harmless actions such as resting your chin on your fist, watching television or a screen at an odd angle, or quickly looking in a certain direction can also cause neck stiffness. One of the most common causes of the typical kink feeling actually happens with no effort or exertion at all, because it happens while you are sleeping! Your head and neck being at an odd angle or using a pillow that is too soft are both common causes. If you have ever woken up like this, you know the pain.

While taking over-the-counter medications with anti-inflammatory properties, prescription muscle relaxers or pain relievers, applying hot and cold therapy to the affected area, or having a massage are all temporary fixes, there are many therapies and treatments available through our practice that can attempt to offer a longer term solution.