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There are many causes of stiff neck muscles then you probably think. Some of these causes are more common than others. If you have ever suffered stiffness in the neck, being prepared going forward is the best plan of action from here on. Knowing what the potential causes could be can help you determine how you should treat and handle the painful and tight neck muscles.
Finding out the cause is only half the battle. Learning how to better prepare against it happening again and ultimately treating the stiff neck immediately should be the primary goals. We have listed a few of the more popular treatments for a stiff neck along with ways to prevent it happening again.
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The Common Causes Of Stiff Neck Muscles
There are many common causes of stiff neck muscles with the most common being muscle strain. Soft tissue sprains are another common cause of stiff muscles. The levator scapulae muscle is the most commonly affected as it is the most susceptible to injury. This muscle is located at the back and side of the neck where it connects the shoulder to the cervical spine.
Injury to this muscle can be caused by many everyday activities and you need to consider this. Sleeping in an awkward position can lead to strain which will result in stiffness of the muscle. Sudden impact which pushed your head to the side can also cause problems and will commonly occur when playing sports. Repetitive side to side movements of the head can also cause strain which will become stiffness.
Poor posture when using a computer is one of the most common causes of neck stiffness in office workers. Looking down at a mobile device for prolonged periods can also cause stiffness in the neck muscles. Another office related strain is caused when the neck is held in an abnormal position for prolonged periods such as holding a phone between the neck and shoulder.
For office workers, and even people that drive a car for extended periods in a day, the neck can take a beating without you even knowing. One of the best ways to combat this is to have a portable seat/cushion massaging device that can attach to your office chair or car seat. These devices will massage the stress and pain away while you are engaged at work or driving.
People who experience excessive amounts of anxiety of stress will also cause stiffness in the neck. This is caused by the tension which gathers in the muscles as a result of the increased stress levels.
The symptoms and stiffness of the muscles can occur shortly after the cause of the muscle stiffness. However, if the stiffness has occurred suddenly, it can be more difficult to determine the cause.
Preparing & Treating A Stiff Neck Muscle
The best preparation you can do for a stiff neck is to find out exactly how you got the sore neck in the first place. This isn’t always possible to know tho. From there you can analyze ways to prevent this from happening again. For example a ergonomic office may be a starting point if you are an office worker.
But for many, a stiff neck is the result of poor sleep posture. This normally stems from the incorrect pillow used to match your sleeping style. The best way to prevent a painful stiff neck in the morning is to arm yourself with an orthopedic pillow designed to relieve neck pain. You may be surprised at how much the correct pillow can actual do to increase your level of pain relief.
While most people sleep on their sides, about one third of us sleep on our backs. For back sleepers, it’s important to know what the best pillow for a back sleeper is so that you don’t cause further neck stiffness.
Treating Your Sore Stiff Neck Muscles From Home
None of us have the time or money to be frequently visiting Chiropractors or massage therapists. So the more we can do from home to reduce the burden the better right. Here are just a couple ways to treat a stiff neck from home using devices:
- Massagers For Neck Pain – Most people own some form of a massage device at home, so now is the time to get it out and start massaging those tired sore neck muscles. However, with the neck muscles its important to pinpoint the problem areas. Massagers designed to target smaller areas like the neck are your best bet.
- Cervical Neck Traction Devices – These devices are simply incredible for temporary neck pain relief. The adjust the neck and spine and relieve the stress and tension in the neck. If you haven’t tried one before I highly recommend you do.
- Neck & Shoulder Heated Pads – These things are powered by the mains and cause some serious pain relief. These are not massagers but heating devices that use heat treatment to get down deep into the muscle fibres to release knots, constrictions, tension etc.
The Uncommon Causes Of Stiff Neck Muscles
While the stiffness of neck muscles that most people suffer from will have a common cause, there are a number of uncommon causes that could also be to blame. An underlying disorder which affects the cervical spine could cause this stiffness and will often result in painful spasms and muscle tightening.
A cervical herniated disc can cause stiffness of the muscles. When this happens the protected outer layer of the disc breaks down and the inner portion will start to leak out. This will cause inflammation and compression of the muscles around the disc which results in stiffness.
Cervical degenerative disc disease can also cause muscle stiffness. This disease causes the cervical discs to love height and hydration over time which increases the pressure placed on the surrounding joints, soft tissue and nerves. This process will often result in stiffness and neck pain.
Cervical osteoarthritis is another uncommon cause of muscle stiffness in the neck. The arthritic breakdown of the joints between the vertebral bones often occurs at the same time as other degenerative diseases. The breakdown of the joints will cause inflammation and stiffness in the muscles.
There are many other diseases and conditions which can cause stiffness of the neck muscles. If you cannot pinpoint one of the common causes as the reason for the stiffness, you should see a doctor. This is particularly important if the stiffness remains for a prolonged period of time.
There are many causes of stiff neck muscles that you need to be aware of. Most people will suffer from stiffness that has common causes such as abnormal positioning of the neck. However, there are other uncommon causes which will need to be diagnosed by a doctor.