How to Prevent a Stiff Neck

The neck is an amazing part of the body and needs to be cared for.
How to Prevent a Stiff Neck
Neck stiffness is a serious problem. The neck, which does such a fantastic and complicated job for the body, is also the site of a massive amount of discomfort and pain. But unlike other kinds of pain, neck pain isn’t always taken that seriously. This shouldn’t be the case. The neck is an amazing part of the body and needs to be cared for. However, there are many dangers to the neck in today’s world. It’s important to maintain your neck health so that pain and stiffness doesn't affect your everyday functioning. 

Causes of Stiff Neck

The causes of neck pain can be varied. Most of the time, a stiff neck is caused by acute musculoskeletal issues like muscle strain or incorrect sleeping posture. These will most often go away on their own or can be cured by making a few adjustments to your lifestyle. If you’ve got a stiff neck, here’s what might be causing it.

Tech Neck

The modern world seem made especially to wreak havoc on our posture. And anything that affects your posture is bad news for your neck.Causes of stiff neck ‘Tech neck’, the posture disorder that comes from excessive hunching and stooping to view screens, is becoming increasingly common. With billions of people around the world using smartphones, poor posture is on the rise. One study found that hunching from looking at smartphones found that the weight of the head increased exponentially in relation to the degree at which it is held. The average human head weighs 10 to 12 pounds. But when the head is tilted forward by 15 degrees, the weight of the head increased to 27 pounds. At 60 degrees, it increased to 60 pounds, and so on. The amount of stress on the neck and upper spine caused by this poor posture can seriously strain your neck muscles and tendons.

Solution

Try to hold your smartphone at eye level when you use it. However, if you have a hard time doing that, you can try using a neck brace that will keep you from bending at the neck.

Stress

We all know that stress can really mess you up. Whether we’re going through a traumatic time in our lives or are snowed under with work, people experience stress very deeply. Most of us tend to carry a lot of stress in our muscles. After all, stress can trigger our ‘fight or flight’ responses, so it makes sense that muscle tension would follow. Too much stress can cause your muscles to pull, stretch, spasm, muscles can be pulled stretched or begin to spasm. This can do a lot of damage to the neck.

Solution

Try mindfulness, breathing exercises and other techniques to help you deal with stress. If you’re consistently finding your muscles are knotted, consider using EMS therapy for a quick, effective and convenient reprieve.

Repetitive or Unusual Neck Motion

If you’ve ever sat in the front row of a cinema, you know what a pain in the neck it can be to hold your head in an odd position for long periods of time. If you’re constantly putting yourself in situations where you have to hold your neck at an unusual angle, or if you’re in situations where you’re constantly moving your neck, your muscles can get knotted and tense.

Solution

It helps to do regular stretches when your neck is in constant motion [LINK TO STRETCHING BLOG]. Take a moment out of your day to do some neck and shoulder rolls, trap stretches and others to ensure you’re keeping those muscles and ligaments loose and healthy.

Heavy Backpacks

When we carry a heavy load on our backs, we instinctively lean forward to redistribute the weight. This can force our necks into a position of forward carriage and can put incredible strain on our neck and upper back.

Solution

Empty out as much as you can from your backpack, shorten the straps and make sure the bag is flush against your body

Poor Sleeping Position

Sleeping is what we do for a good chunk of our lives, so if our necks aren’t in a good position during this time, a stiff neck will follow when ligaments and muscles fall out of alignment.

Solution

Sometimes, your average pillow just isn’t going to cut it. Some people need the extra support required for their necks. After all, without the proper support, our necks can curve into a position that can stretch out the neck’s ligaments and muscles. Invest in a pillow that supports your neck when you sleep. For optimal sleeping position, place a pillow between your knees to achieve amazing spine alignment.

Bad Desk Ergonomics

Many of us sit in front of computers all day. Sitting actually puts a lot of strain on our muscles since it is such an unnatural act. If your desk is not arranged ergonomically, or if your desk items are arranged in a way that make you hunch forward, your neck will suffer.

Solution

There are loads of things you can do to make sure your desk area is optimise to help you attain a great posture, and thereby reducing the likelihood of neck stiffness. Check out these quick tips to rearrange your desk space to wave goodbye to that neck pain for good! [LINK TO OFFICE POSTURE BLOG]

Conclusion

There are many ways you can prevent neck stiffness. Most cases of neck stiffness tend to go away within a few days of their first appearance or with minor changes to your lifestyle.  However, a stiff neck can also be caused by bacterial infections, cancer and other diseases. If your stiff neck is accompanied by other symptoms, including fever, nausea, numbness in the limbs, shortness of breath, severe headaches, vomiting, rashes or other serious symptoms, see your GP.