Neck stiffness is usually a harmless condition of the spine which might be caused by a sprain or a strain. It results in difficulty moving neck especially side to side movements and soreness in the neck muscles. Many of the times it is accompanied by neck and shoulder pain, arm pain and headache. While it is not a life-threatening condition, sometimes it can indicate a serious condition if it is accompanied by other symptoms such as high fever, swelling, pain, headache, nausea, confusion, coordination issues, and chronic fatigue. Fever with a stiff neck is usually a symptom of an infection and should be taken care of as soon as possible.
Common Causes of Stiff Neck:
- Sleeping and prolonged sitting with awkward neck posture
- Whiplash injury
- Excessive Anxiety and stress
- Holding phone between neck and shoulder for long time
- Sudden fall or splash which pushes neck in forward side such as sports injuries
- Cervical degenerated discs, cervical herniated discs can cause neck muscles to go in spasm.
- Some uncommon reasons are Meningitis and spinal tumours.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
Waking up with pain in the neck is a very common occurrence and affects the majority population all around the world. It is usually a result of muscle strain or neck sprain.
It can be diagnosed easily by conducting a physical exam and some imaging tests might be recommended. Your doctor will go through your medical records and direct you to move in certain directions. Neck stiffness can result in a limited range of motion and pain while moving the neck.
Take rest. Two to three days of rest will help muscles to relieve stiffness. Ice fomentation in the 24 hours of pain flare up helps in reducing inflammation. Your doctor might suggest you few non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. It is advised to not move the neck too much as it can increase inflammation and cause more pain. Massage and gentle exercises to stretch and loosen up the neck muscles are also effective in treating a stiff neck. Low impact aerobic exercises increase oxygen flow to muscles resulting in healing. Your posture also matters in making a quick recovery from your condition. Usually, multidisciplinary treatments show best results in neck stiffness condition.