Many people have suffered from a stiff neck at some point in their lives. It becomes difficult to move the head from side to side. In some cases, other types of pain may actually accompany the stiff and painful neck. These could include neck pain, shoulder pain, or a headache. In some cases, the stiffness and pain are severe enough that the person cannot turn his or her head at all – they need to turn their entire body to look in different directions. Most of the time, these symptoms will last a few hours–or a few days at most. The pain could be mild to severe. Many different things could cause this type of pain.
One of the most common reasons for a stiff neck is having muscle strains or sprains in the levator scapula muscle. These muscles are on the back and side of the neck. If you strain them, they behave just like any other strained or sprained muscle – they hurt and become difficult to use properly.
A range of things can cause issues with these muscles. For example, sleeping in the wrong position can cause a strain, as can a sports injury or an accident. Holding the neck in an unnatural position for long periods can cause issues, as well as poor posture. Additionally, someone who is under a large amount of stress may find that they suffer from a stiff neck too.
An infection or meningitis could cause a stiff neck as well. This is usually in conjunction with a number of other health issues including fever, nausea, and vomiting. It could be a bacterial infection, meningitis, or another type of infection. If the stiff neck has a fever accompanying it, then it is generally a good idea to talk to a medical professional to get the help you need.
Cervical spine disorders could be the cause of the stiff neck as well. There could be issues with the spine, such as a herniated disc. Again, you will want to talk with a professional about the source of this type of stiff neck so you know what to do about it.
What Treatments Are Available?
It really depends on the root cause of the neck pain. In some cases, simply resting and letting the neck heal is all you need to do. This happens with the majority of the minor sprains and strains of the neck. Within a couple of days, they are as good as new. However, if the injury happened because of a traumatic event, or if it is accompanied by a fever, then it is important to seek out a medical professional. They may require pain medication and antibiotics.
Your neck is one of the most important parts of your body, and you need to do your best to take care of it the right way. Proper posture, simple exercises, and appointments with a chiropractor, can help to keep your neck safe and pain free.