Neck pain is quite variable, with some people experiencing stiffness and some people being stuck with severe pain. It may spread to the shoulders, upper back and arms, even causing headaches in some cases. Moreover, the neck movements may also be limited, usually more to one side than the other.
Neck pain is an umbrella term for pain anywhere from the area at the base of the skull into the shoulders.
The neck includes:
- The bones and joints of the cervical spine (vertebrae of the neck).
- The discs that separate the cervical vertebrae and absorb shock as you move.
- The muscles and ligaments in the neck that hold the cervical spine together.
Injury to one or more of these areas is the most common cause of neck pain, although there are many different causes. For instance, a strain or spasm of the neck muscles as well as inflammation of the neck joints may cause neck pain.
Below you have a list of some of the most common activities which may cause neck pain:
- Work or exercise which requires the use of your upper body and arms
- Tension makes the muscles feel tight and painful, especially those that run from the back of the head across the back of the shoulder
- Sleeping on a too high or too flat pillow which doesn’t support the head
- Sleeping on the stomach, with your neck twisted/ bent
- Spending a lot of time in the “thinker`s pose” ( resting the forehead on the upright fist or arm)
- Holding the hand in odd position while reading, working, or watching TV
More Serious Causes of Neck Pain
The neck pain is likely to be caused by some more serious condition, especially if accompanied by the following symptoms:
- Sudden weight loss
- Problems walking
- High temperature ( fever)
- A lack of coordination
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
As prevention is always better than the cure, here are a few tips on how to prevent neck pain and stiffness:
- Aim at having a good posture ( read about posture tips for PC and tablet users, how to sit properly, and common posture mistakes)
- Make sure you take frequent breaks from driving, sitting at your desk, or from any other activity in which the neck is held in inappropriate position
- In case you often feel stressed, try out some relaxation methods to alleviate the tension in the neck
- Use relatively firm mattress
- Avoid sleeping on your front
The 90-Second Relief Technique for a Stiff Neck below presents great stretches which will help you alleviate pain in no time. Check it out!