Did you know that stiff necks affect 1 in 3 people around the world? Although they are relatively harmless, stiff necks can be extremely uncomfortable or a sign of a more serious health condition. Fortunately, you can learn a stiff neck remedy or two at home to help ease some of the tension that may have built up!
Neck pain is most often a result of injury, age, lack of movement, or general wear and tear of the neck muscles. In most cases, these causes are simply due to overuse or poor posture and can be treated with simple solutions. Let’s take a look at the many easy ways (including CBD!) that you can try at home to treat a stiff neck!
What is a Stiff Neck?
A stiff neck is characterized by difficulty moving the neck muscles with its full range of motion. Stiff necks are often accompanied by soreness and discomfort, especially when turning the head side to side. In some cases, it may also be accompanied by arm, shoulder, or back pain. You might have experienced this if you’ve had to turn your entire body to avoid twisting your neck any further.
Your neck is composed of various vertebrae extending from the upper torso to the skull. The muscle, ligaments, and bones of your neck allow for motion and support your head. Any inflammation, injury, or other abnormalities in this area can cause stiffness or neck pain.
There are two basic types of neck pain: axial and radicular neck pain. Axial neck pain mainly refers to discomfort around the cervical spine that is connected to your neck. Radicular pain can start in your neck and shoot down into your arms or legs.
In most cases, stiffness and discomfort tend to go away on their own within a week. However, how an individual cares for and manages the symptoms of a stiff neck can affect their recovery time, pain levels, and the likelihood of the pain returning.
Is It Common for a Neck to Stiffen?
The infamous stiff neck is a relatively common problem, affecting about 10% of the world’s population at any given time. It’s estimated that 1 in 3 people will experience stiff necks at any point in their life. Because there are so many potential causes, determining the exact cause for any given case can be quite difficult for neck pain.
What Causes a Stiff Neck?
As is the case with most physical ailments, there are several common causes for a stiff neck. The most common cause of neck stiffness by far is soft tissue or muscle strain. The levator scapulae muscle, in particular, is quite susceptible to injury. The levator scapulae muscle, located on the sides and at the back of the neck, connects the shoulder with the neck’s upper cervical spine.
If you wake up with a stiff neck, you’re most likely experiencing a muscle contraction or spasm or also known as a muscle strain. A neck sprain affects the tough tissues, called ligaments, that stabilize and connect your bones.
You can easily strain your levator scapulae muscle or ligaments while performing many common, everyday activities. Here are some of the most common reasons one might have a stiff neck, such as:
- Sudden impact or falling that suddenly pushes the head to one side, such as various sports injuries
- Repeatedly turning the head side to side, such as doing the front crawl stroke when swimming.
- Slouching or having poor posture while looking down at a screen for prolonged periods, such as a mobile phone or laptop screen. This is sometimes referred to as “text neck.”
- Extreme nervousness or stress can also lead to tension in the neck.
- Holding the neck in an abnormal or awkward position for an extended period, such as holding a phone between the shoulder and the neck
- Sleeping with the neck bent in an awkward position
What Does a Stiff Neck Feel Like?
A stiff neck is best characterized by a tightness or tension in the neck muscles and the difficulty one might feel when moving the neck, specifically turning the head to the side. It may also be accompanied by arm pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, and headaches.
How to Prevent a Stiff Neck
Preventing a stiff neck is possible and even easy to do to an extent. The vast majority of neck pain is a combination of the general wear and tear that comes with age, injury, and bad posture. If you happen to experience neck pain more regularly than you’re comfortable with, we suggest you try these simple remedies or adjustments:
- Check Your Posture: Your ears should run parallel with your shoulders, and your shoulders should be in a straight line directly over your hips.
- Adjust Desk Furniture: Perhaps consider lowering or raising your laptop or desk monitor. Your computer screen should be level with your eyes, so you don’t have to tilt your neck for an extended time while you work. You should also try to adjust your chair to the point where the knees fall slightly below the hips.
- Use Headphones or Speakerphones: You put your neck in an awkward position that could cause muscle strain whenever you look down to text or hold your phone between your shoulder and ear. Try using your speakerphone or perhaps wearing headphones instead to lessen muscle strain on your neck.
- Take Frequent Breaks: Sitting at your desk or in the car for too long can start to take a toll on your body. If possible, try to get up at least once every hour, move around, get your blood flowing around your body. Doing a bit of light stretching works wonders in reducing the risk of straining your neck.
- Switch Shoulders: If you regularly carry heavy bags, try to evenly distribute the weight between both shoulders and sides of the body. An excessive amount of weight can easily lead to neck strain.
- Find a Supportive Way to Sleep: When you sleep, your head should align with your body. Try placing a small pillow underneath your neck or using a pillow with neck support. Sleeping on your back and placing extra pillows underneath the thighs can also help align your spine muscles.
The Best Stiff Neck Remedy and Treatments
At-home stiff neck remedies are generally sufficient to help relieve discomfort or tension in the early stages of neck stiffness. Here are some things you can try:
- Apply an ice pack to soothe inflamed muscles and numb the area.
- Apply a warm compress or a heating pad after 1-2 days.
- Take an over-the-counter painkiller.
- CBD topicals
In the days following the neck stiffness, we suggest taking the following precautions:
- Be hyper-aware of your movements, taking care not to twist your neck or jerk your head too quickly. Sudden movements can worsen the pain.
- Attempt gentle stretches, slowly tilting your head back and forth, then side to side.
- A gentle massage in the affected area
- Wear a neck collar for a couple of hours to relax any stiff muscles
- Try sleeping without a pillow, or sleep with one that has been specifically designed for neck support.
CBD topicals are one of the new upcoming products that people love to use to relieve their soreness and aches. The amazing benefits of CBD serve to quickly target areas of discomfort to help you relax and release tension. Let’s take a look!
CBD salve can come in particularly handy when it comes to relieving areas of intense discomfort. Salves are often highly concentrated, which provides more targeted and localized relief. CBD salves are popular with many athletes since they can also help with muscle recovery.
The higher concentrations of CBD penetrate the skin and muscle tissues more deeply. Along with providing moisturizing effects, CBD salves can help relax the muscles, ease mobility, soothe irritated skin, promote healthy hair and skin, and more!
CBD body lotions are another popular, topical CBD product designed to help with daily skin moisturization and soothe minor irritations. These CBD-infused, scented body lotions can help keep your whole body relaxed while helping you take care of your skin.
The main difference between lotions and salves is that lotions are not as potent. Lotions are great for providing full-body relief while keeping you smelling and looking great.
Additional CBD Topicals
There are many other fantastic, useful CBD topical products that you can use to treat a sore neck! Some of these include:
- Bath bombs
- Topical creams
- Massage Oil
You can also customize your own homemade topical CBD products too! All you need is some Cheef Botanicals CBD oil, which you can infuse into your own topical, bath, or beauty products!
When Should I Worry About a Stiff Neck?
Neck stiffness usually improves over a few days with at-home stiff neck remedies. Although it’s rare, neck pain is sometimes a symptom of bigger or more serious health problems. If your stiff neck has yet to show improvement after a week, we recommend that you get it checked by a doctor quickly.
Also, regardless of how long the pain lasts, a stiff neck accompanied by any red flag symptoms should be immediately seen by a medical professional.
We highly recommend seeing a doctor if:
- The pain is too severe for you to go about your day normally.
- Neck stiffness or soreness doesn’t go away after several days.
- Pain or discomfort travels down the legs or arms.
- You have a bad headache and notice a tingling sensation, numbness, or weakness.
- You’ve recently suffered a serious injury from a fall or a car accident.
Red Flag Symptoms
- Unexplained fatigue
Final Thoughts – Stiff Neck Remedy
A stiff neck is a relatively common problem that can occur from something as simple as sleeping or standing incorrectly—typically resulting from injuries caused by poor posture, sleeping awkwardly, whiplash, or even stress. The overwhelming majority of stiff neck cases can be easily treated with prevention strategies and home remedies, and neck pain is typically not a sign of a more serious issue.
However, just to be safe, try some of the stiff neck remedies to prevent a more serious health condition from occurring! Don’t let your pain in the neck take away from living your life!