Stiff neck, while not a serious medical problem, will disturb daily activates and make sleeping difficult due to the associated pain. Many people will experience a stiff neck at least once in their lifetime as neck tendons and nerves are a delicate part of the body. Stiff neck is painful and makes it difficult to move the neck and is caused by injury, chronic discomfort, as part of an underlying disease like arthritis, bad posture, sleeping in an awkward position, exercise straining, and even stress.
Home Remedies for Stiff Neck:
Try these home, natural remedies for treating stiff neck.
1. Cold and Heat Application:
Cold packs relieve neck pain and ease stiff neck by limiting lactic acid buildup. Ice numbs pain and decreases inflammation. Heat compresses tighten muscles and should be applied after cold application and helps to increase blood circulation to the muscles.
- Fill a plastic bag with ice and wrap it in a towel.
- Apply to the neck, between the shoulders, or at the base of the head for 20 minutes.
- Apply a hot application, such as a hot shower or bath, a heating pad, hot water bottle, or hot towel, for 20 minutes.
- Repeat this for thrice a day until you get complete relief from the stiff neck.
- Note: you can use artificial cold pack or bag of frozen peas.
2. Homemade Analgesic:
For immediate relief from the stiff neck use the balm which contains menthol like coconut oil, beeswax, peppermint oil and eucalyptus oil to create a homemade analgesic to soothe muscles and skin.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and a tablespoon of beeswax over medium heat.
- Add 5 drops of peppermint oil and eucalyptus oil.
- Let it cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Apply to the affected area.
- Store the balm in a tight container and apply as needed.
3. Proper Herbs Application:
Many herbs treat stiff neck pain in either cream or balm form.
- Menthol is an herb that has cooling effect and relieves pain.
- Camphor reduces swelling and increases blood circulation, warming the application area.
- Capsaicin has anti-inflammatory properties that relieve pain by gently numbing the nerve endings in the application area.
- Turmeric heals pain with its natural healing properties.
4. Therapeutic Exercises and Massage:
Stiff neck is quickly relieved by performing tension-releasing exercises. Isometric exercises are performed without actually moving the head. Massaging your neck, either by yourself or with a professional, will relieve stiff neck. Repeat these exercises for 15 minutes, as needed. Be careful not to overexert yourself as doing so may pull a muscle.
- Nod your head up and down by bringing your chin to your chest and then looking towards the ceiling. If it pains more stop the exercise.
- Nod your head from side to side e. tilt your head towards left side and right side to stretch your neck muscles.
- Turn your head slowly from left side to right side and vice versa for few minutes. It is very painful but prevents the neck pain.
5. Isometric Exercise:
Isometric exercises can be performed without moving the head.
- Sit erect and gently press your head into the palm of your hand to stretch your neck muscles. Start with your hand on your forehead and press your head forward.
- Then place it on your right check and press to the right.
- But make sure to use your hand to resist your head motion. Do the same with the left side.
- Place hands behind head, elbows out to the sides. Pull chin in and move your head back into the hands gently.
- Repeat four times a day to get relief.
Neck massaging helps to give relief from stiff neck.
- Grasp your neck with your thumb on one side and your fingers on the other.
- Knead your neck by gently squeezing for 1 – 2 minutes.
7. Relaxation and Breathing:
Emotional stress can cause muscle tension. Think creatively about ways that reduce stress in your life. Manage stress through relaxation techniques or abdominal breathing.
- Progressive Relaxation: Find a quiet place to sit or lie down. Close your eyes and, starting from your head, consciously tighten or tense all of the muscles down your body, one-by-one.
- Abdominal Breathing: Sit quietly and take slow, deep breaths into abdomen and slowly exhale. Place a hand on your abdomen to feel it expand and contract. Repeat this several times.
- Other Relaxation Techniques: This includes meditation, exercises, yoga, or engaging yourself in any activity of interest to relax and distract yourself.
8. Professional Help:
- Chiropractors use a special holistic technique to work out and relieve stiff neck pain.
- Physiotherapy (physical therapy) treatments offer relief from neck pain.
- Acupuncture, a traditional Chinese treatment of sticking the skin with small needles to stimulate certain pressure points, effectively relieves pain and symptoms of stiff neck. Alternately, try alternative methods like cupping, moxibustion, and qigong.
- Professional massage, as mentioned above, is also a great way to relieve neck pain.
9. Homemade Analgesic:
Try this homemade analgesic to get quick relief from the neck pain.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a tablespoon of beeswax.
- Pour it in a small pot and heat this over medium heat.
- Add 5 drops each of peppermint oil and eucalyptus oil.
- Allow it to cool and pour in a container which has lid.
- Apply this to neck to get rid of the stiff neck.
- Repeat regularly.
- When suffering from stiff neck, reduce physical activity for 1 to 2 days.
- Practicing good posture will relieve neck pain. This means head and spine balance in relation to gravity. Sit and stand tall without excessively bending the neck to practice good posture.
- Take frequent, short breaks when working and preform neck exercises, especially if staring at a computer screen all day. Additionally, make sure your computer sits at eye level.
- Always sleep in a comfortable position. Use a pillow which suits your sleeping position and offers your neck support.
- When exercising, use proper workout techniques. Be careful not to overexert yourself as doing so may pull a muscle or else leave it. When lifting weights, always consult an instructor.
- Magnesium effectively relaxes debilitating muscle soreness and is ideal for those suffering from stiff neck. Consume the daily dosage of Epsom salt or a magnesium supplement 310 mg to 420 mg or alternately take a warm bath with Epsom salts for best results.
- Reduce your weight and stay healthy to avoid stiff neck.
- Avoid activities that cause stiff neck such as placing your phone between your ear and neck, falling asleep in a chair, or shampooing your hair in the sink.
- Swimming strengthens the neck and back and helps with stiff neck pain.
- Mild pain relievers such as Tylenol, Advil, ibuprofen, and aspirin temporarily reduce stiff neck pain.
- Always close your windows while sleeping as cold drafts can cause neck muscles to become stiff. Cover your neck with light scarf when the weather is cool, as well.
- Consult a doctor if not cured within 2 – 3 days as stiff neck can lead to other problem. Stiff neck symptoms are similar to those with ailments such as meningitis and heart attack. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience symptoms such as fever, vomiting, dizziness, chest pain, pain in the left arm, or difficulty in touching the chin to your chest.
Have you tried any of these methods? Do you know any other methods to treat stiff neck? Share your experience with us!