Waking up with a stiff neck is one of the most uncomfortable things one can suffer and you certainly do not want to wake up with one. A cricked neck will usually go away on its own, but you need to know how to get a crick out of your neck because no one wants to wait around for nature to takes its course while in discomfort and pain.
A crick in the neck can manifest as mild stiffness or stiffness and severe or sharp pain. A crick in the neck basically refers to stiffness in the muscles in the lower neck and shoulder blades and is different from chronic or regular neck pain, which can be recurrent and predictable.
The possible causes of a crick in your neck
The most common cause of a crick in your neck is an awkward positioning of the neck for a long period while seated or sleeping. When sleeping, it could be because you are not using the right pillow or mattress or because you simply slept in a bad position. This has the effect of stretching the muscles and tendons of the neck and shoulder abnormally thus putting pressure on the nerves in the neck area, and causing stiffness even to an arm.
Stiffness and pain in the neck is also common after exercise, especially running or weight lifting where people tend to apply incorrect form and end up straining the neck and shoulder muscles.
In a few cases, pinched nerve or the side effects of arthritis are the other reasons why you may experience a crick in your neck.
This may surprise you- stress could be the cause of your neck stiffness and pain! The bodies reaction to stress is to become tense which leads to a stiffening of body posture which can lead to stiffness in the neck, shoulders and other areas of the body.
Symptoms of a crick in the neck
If you wake up with pain in the neck, which in some cases could extend to an arm, usually the affected side of the body, you most likely have a crick in your neck. Additionally, the pain may be accompanied by stiffness of lower neck and shoulder muscles.
You may also experience mild swelling of the neck and difficulty moving the neck in severe cases of a stiff neck.
How to treat a crick in your neck
A crick in the neck should last a few days to a week depending with what caused the damage caused. The effectiveness of the treatment to relieve pain and stiffness will greatly determine how fast the crick disappears and if one does not apply any remedy, it is likely to last longer.
There are various DIY remedies to help with treating mild cricks but one needs to see a doctor for severe cases or if it is a case of chronic neck pain. Here are some:
1. Use a pain killer
The first thing you want to do is to relieve the pain in the neck muscles. Go for any over the counter pain killer for anti-inflammatory medication to reduce any swelling and to fend off the pain.
This is for immediate and temporary relief and must be accompanied by other remedies to kick out the crick in the neck completely, otherwise, once the painkiller wears off, it will be back to pain all over again.
2. Apply cold and warm pack presses to the affected area
Give the affected areas alternating cold and warm presses for further relief. Begin with a cold press for about 10 minutes to reduce inflammation. A bag of frozen vegetables like peas or ice cubes wrapped in a towel will work well.
For the hot press, use a heating pad in low setting, bottle with moderately hot water, or take a warm shower and hand press the area affected. Heat serves to reduce muscle spasms and soothe sore muscles.
3. Rest your neck
Lie down on your back severally throughout the day to avoid more strain of the neck from supporting your head while up and from the movement. Lying down on your tummy can worsen your condition because the neck could be strained more or may even be twisted.
Reduce demanding activity and movement for few days.
4. In severe cases, support your neck
If you have a severe case of stiff neck, support your neck and keep it in place to avoid more damage and pain. Keep your neck supported by wearing a neck brace, wear a scarf around the neck or use a soft pillow behind your head while seated.
5. Exercise your neck.
Gentle stretching exercise on the neck will help a great deal. Stretching the neck and shoulder muscles can relax the nerves in the neck area and free them from the stiff muscles.
Move your neck gently from side to side and hold it in place for 30 seconds on each side and rotating the neck around- stretching up to where the pain allows. Do not over exert.
6. Neck and shoulder massage
A gentle massage is a good reliever. Rub the back of your neck gently for about 5 minutes with your fingers and do the same for the shoulders. If you cannot do it yourself, get someone to do it for you. Be careful not to do apply a lot of pressure and hurt your neck more.
7. Mind your form and posture
You do not want to sit or sleep in a manner that will aggravate the problem further. Mind your from and posture by keeping your straight as you sit or sleep but do not stiffen it to keep it in position.
Adopt the right sleeping posture; sleep on your side as you sleep or lie down on your back.
Those are the seven DIY remedies how to get a crick out of your neck. Neck stiffness and pain should disappear within three days to a week. If it takes longer than that, it is time for you to visit a doctor and find out what the problem really is or why it is persisting, Usually, prolonged neck pain may be a sign of a totally different problem from a crick in the neck.
Remember, these remedies should be used in concert; using one alone may not be as effective or may take you longer to heal.
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