A stiff neck may arise following a brisk movement of the head when one tries to look sideways or backwards by moving the head rather than turning the whole body. The pain may be due to a muscle sprain, particularly to the levator scapulae musclewhich is located at the back and side of the neck. It is the muscle that lifts the shoulder blade up toward the ears and plays a role in neck flexibility. The scapula functions provide a stable foundation through which energy can be transferred from the legs and trunk to the arm and hand. This linkage is called the kinetic chain.
Possible Causes of Stiff Neck
Causes of stiff neck may also arise from incorrect movement of the head, wrong sleeping posture, sudden brisk movement of the neck or to overwork/stress. If you suspect your sleeping support to be the source of the pain, sleep on a firm mattress with a specially designed neck pillow, or try do without a pillow entirely for couple of nights. Soreness or pain at the back of your neck may impede on its movement. This may be accompanied by head ache, pain in the shoulder/arm and at times pain in the upper back.
The symptoms may last a couple of days or a week, the pain may be mild but annoying; it may also be very painful preventing you from being active. Since neck stiffness can be a symptom of a serious condition, it is advisable to seek medical advice and care; especially if the stiffness and pain is severe, persistent, and accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, vomiting, and sensitivity to light.
Exercise to Relieve Stiff Neck
There are several exercises and massage techniques that you can perform to relieve stiff neck naturally. I’ll show you some easy exercises that may give you relief. Usually, the pain will gradually weaken and you may find complete relief after a couple of exercises and massage sessions. For best result it is recommended that you continue practising them three times a day. If the pain persists and you feel that there is no relief, please seek medical advice.
Neck exercise is a great way to relieve stiff neck or neck pain!
It is recommended that you undergo a warming up session before starting any exercise. In the case of relieving stiff neck or neck pain, the following warming up sessions are particularly recommended.
Before you get started, sit comfortably on a chair with your back and neck in a straight position. Perform sitting up stretches of your body as warming up exercises as follows:
a. Interlace your fingers, then straighten your arms out in front of you with your palms facing out, you can feel the stretch in your arms and upper part of the back shoulder blades. Hold stretch for 20 seconds. Perform this movement twice.
b. Interlace your fingers; turn your palms upward above your head as you extend your arms as high as you can. Hold for 20 seconds.
c. With your arms extended above your head, use your right hand to pull your left arm side without bending your arms. This position will stretch your left arm and left side of your body. Hold for 15 seconds. Repeat by using your left hand to pull your right arm to stretch your right arm and left side of your body. Hold for 15 seconds. Perform this movement using your left hand to pull your right arm side as described above.
d. Move your head slowly and gently in a forward and backward movement for around 15 seconds.
e. Rotate your head in a circular movement, clockwise, then anticlockwise for around 15 seconds.
Move Your Head Sideways to Relieve Stiff Neck
After the warming up sessions, place your left hand on top of your head; pull your head gently to the left as far as you can. Start slowly by applying gradual pressure, do not apply too much pressure at the start and do not continue if sever pain occurs. Do it gently to an extent that you are comfortable to support the pressure due to the stretching. Repeat the exercise above to cover the other side of your neck by placing your right hand on top of your head; pull your head gently to the right as far as you can Perform the exercise 5 times each side of your head and hold for 15 seconds each time.
Massage to Relieve Stiff Neck
Massaging helps a lot in relieving neck pain due to a stiff neck, it also has a relaxation effect. It is preferable that the massage be performed by someone else – you will enjoy the massage and feel more relaxed. However, in the absence of a helping pair of hands you can perform the massage yourself to get relief!
The way to perform the massage is to place your fingers at the back of your neck as shown in the photo. By giving an overall circular gentle massage you will find relief and feel relaxed. You may feel that some points are more sore than others; work on these points by applying gentle circular movement; increase the pressure to a point you can bear the extra pain. Perform this massage action for around 20 seconds.
Now place your thumbs on each side of your skull behind your ears, apply pressure to these parts of the skull and behind your ears. Perform this massage action for around 30 seconds.
Massage relieves stiff neck, pain at the back of the neck; additionally it has a soothing and relaxing effect!!