Severe Neck Stiffness and Pain

Severe Neck Stiffness Severe neck stiffness affects many people due to too much tension and stress on the job, long hours sitting in front of a computer, injury, poor posture and a too-soft a mattress. This condition affects a lot of people in the age group of 20 to 40 years old.

Stiffness may not be a severe problem but it can certainly be annoying. If not treated, it may lead to any other complications like shoulder pain, back pain, anxiety and depression.

There are a lot of stiff neck remedies to choose from but the effectiveness depends on the severity and cause of the neck pain.

Simple Steps to Reduce Severe Neck Stiffness

Improve your posture. A poor posture places too much stress on the neck, shoulder and back muscles.

Work at an eye level. If you experience neck discomfort after the end of a workday, it is possible that your work habits can cause this condition. It is recommended that you need to keep your work at eye level.

Adjust the height of the desk, chair and computer to a more comfortable position. When reading books, it is best to use an upright stand. Use ladders when reaching materials.

Your mattress and pillow. Checking your mattress and pillow is the easiest way to relieve pain. An old and soft pillow can lead to stiff neck since the muscles are not supported well.

Remember that you are spending almost half of your life in bed, so it is important to make sure that your neck is comfortable and well rested.

Simply a massage. Massage is also the best way to treat severe neck stiffness and pain. Although the relief may just be temporary, it can still give you comfort even for a short period of time. The massage can be done by you or by a qualified massage therapist.

Say goodbye to stress. In today’s fast moving world, nothing is easy. Stress often causes the muscles to tighten, resulting in muscle problems and pain. When you are in too much stress, the neck muscles work two times harder to keep your neck upright.

When you are stressed, it can cause damage to your mind and body. So, it is important for you to learn self-help techniques to cope up with stress. These relaxation techniques will surely play a huge part in keeping your body and mind relax.

Although you know that stressful situations are inevitable, and near impossible to avoid however, learning how to prevent negative coping responses will keep your neck pain and stress-free.

Medications and Muscle Relaxants for Severe Neck Stiffness

 This kind of stiff neck pain remedy should only be viewed as short term and just to give temporary relief. Pain medications will just mask the problem but not resolve it.  Muscle relaxants will just give temporary muscle relaxation but it will not fix the underlying cause.

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Heat Treatment for Neck Pain

heat treatment for neck painWhen it comes to chronic neck pain treatment, nothing beats the soothing nature of heat. Heat treatment for neck pain relief is safe, inexpensive and, best of all, it feels so good. Let’s look in-depth at how heat helps relieve pain and the best types of heat to use.

Ouch! Neck Pain!

Neck pain is a pain or discomfort felt in the neck region. The pain can be caused by minor problems like sleeping in an uncomfortable position, or due to problems like the arthritic changes of degenerative diseases. With this, the structures of the neck will get irritated and inflamed, causing neck pain.

Heat, Water and Pain

According to research, it has been proven that water is the best conductor of heat. Moist heat can penetrate 30 times better than dry heat.

Our neck can tolerate moist heat at higher temperatures. As the heat penetrates the neck tissues, it dilates the blood vessels and improves blood circulation to that specific area.

The increase in blood flow will carry away toxins and promote additional oxygen, providing relief from pain. Heat also soothes and relaxes the muscles, allowing more movement and increasing comfort.

Heat is used to treat chronic neck pain associated with arthritis and other neck injuries.

Applying heat with the use of neck wraps is the easiest, most effective and affordable way of relieving neck pain. More companies are manufacturing neck-shaped heat packs. These are much more comfortable than trying to use the big square heating pads of the past.

Electric Moist Heating Pad

Moist heat therapy has been the preferred treatment for many types of acute or short term pain and chronic or long-lasting pain. Electric moist heating pads are designed to control and distribute moist heat that can penetrate on the muscles, bringing relief from stiffness, pain and muscle cramps.

The electric moist heating pad is equipped with a hand-held switch that controls the temperature. Just by pressing the button it will produce heat and releasing it will give a cooling effect. This will give you the opportunity to alternate two temperatures as often as you want.

This kind of heating pad will surely give you relief from pain associated with muscle inflammation and spasm. Moist heating pads are simple and safe to use, if used according to the manufacturers’ directions.

Microwave Heating Pads

Microwave heating pads are made out of sustainable natural fibers that are proven to be durable. These pads have no bleach or chemical contents that may harm your skin. This heating pad filled with an ultra clean feed corn uses moist heat therapy to let heat penetrate on the neck muscles, easing pain and stiffness.

Simply heat the microwavable heating pad in a microwave then apply it on the neck area. The pad will also conform easily to the shape of your neck for a comfortable and effective moist therapy treatment.

The hemp microwavable heating pads can be machine washed and dried. It also has a secure hook and loop where you can replace old fillers that got scorched due to overheating. These pads contain wheat, rice and dried corn fillers. These fillers create a moist heating pad which can also help you save money since it can be bought in any stores at a very reasonable price.

Whether you choose electric or microwavable, nothing beats moist heat treatment for neck pain.

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Whiplash Symptoms

symptoms can and often manifest as an injury that happens to a person’s neck after an abrupt force of acceleration and deceleration that occurs in incidents such as car accidents. This is one of the many possible neck pain causes that can happen.

Most people who have been in a motor vehicle accident can make healing progress rapidly without the presence of chronic whiplash symptoms. However, there are still others who may feel the symptoms for years.

   Acute and Chronic Whiplash Symptoms

Whiplash is categorized into two categories- acute whiplash and chronic whiplash. Acute whiplash happens when there is an abrupt hyper-extension, hyper-flexion or  rotation of the neck that causes you to experience neck pain and stiff neck. Chronic whiplash occurs when the symptoms continue for so long, approximately for six months and more after an acute whiplash.

What Causes Whiplash?

The most common cause of whiplash is probably car accidents. Especially in those involving rear-end collisions. The impact when two vehicles crash creates a force that causes the neck and head to hyperextend, or bends forward, as the torso is pushed forward. After this, the head and neck then falls backward, placing it in a hyper-flexed position. 

Whiplash symptoms include: tenderness on the back of the neck, inflammation of the neck, headaches, restricted movement in the neck, neck pain and stiff neck.

Diagnosing Whiplash Symptoms

After an accident, the person may taken to the hospital for further examination. The health care provider will then assess if there are injuries needed to be treated. X-rays of the neck are obtained to give a clear picture for any serious injuries.

If the x-ray is normal but the person still experiences whiplash symptoms such as neck pain, a doctor will order a cervical collar to be worn to relief the strain on the neck. After a few weeks of using the cervical collar, the doctor may perform additional tests, x-rays or an MRI scan. The MRI scan can detect injuries to the tissues which cannot be detected by x-rays.

Treatment of Whiplash Symptoms

The first treatment for a whiplash is the use of a cervical collar. The collar reduces the movements of the neck, thus preventing further injuries.

But there are studies shown that immobilization will slow down the healing of the neck. Patients who undergo early exercises may rapidly improve and soon alleviate the symptoms. These kind of exercises are usually done for about 10 times in an hour.

One of the most common of whiplash symptoms is stiff neck or neck pain which can be extremely uncomfortable. However, there are stiff neck remedies that could help ease the pain. Typically, the first pain medication ordered are over-the-counter drugs. 

Another common treatment ordered is temperature therapy. Temperature therapy is done by placing hot and cold compresses alternately on the neck. The heat will reduce the inflammation of the muscles and the cold compress keeps the muscles relaxed.

Another effective treatment is by performing a neck self-massage by rubbing your hands together to keep it warm then place it on the back of your neck. Do this procedure several times day to help your whiplash symptoms.

Scoliosis

Scoliosis spineThough not so common, scoliosis can be considered one of the neck pain causes. Scoliosis describes the abnormal curvature of the spinal column. For a normal person, the spinal column would have a curvature in the neck, upper trunk and lower truck to maintain good posture and balance. But people suffering from scoliosis have an abnormal lateral curve, shaped like an “S”, which may cause discomfort and severe neck pain and back pain.

The abnormal curve of the spinal cord can be detected through an x-ray. For people with a normal and healthy spine, you will see on the x-ray that the spine is straight when viewed from a rear angle. But for people suffering from this condition, you can see an S- shaped or C-shaped spine when viewed in the same angle.

What Causes Scoliosis?

The cause of scoliosis has not been determined yet. But medical professionals would classify scoliosis in three groups- idiopathic, neuromuscular, and congenital.

  • Congenital scoliosis is most common and caused by any vertebral anomalies prior to birth.
  • Idiopathic scoliosis is from an unknown cause but it can suddenly develop at any point in your life.
  • Neuromuscular scoliosis is developed because of trauma or muscle atrophy or shrinking.

Symptoms of Scoliosis

There are some characteristic symptoms that would indicate scoliosis. Distinctive symptoms include one or several of the following:

  • One hip is higher than the other
  • One shoulder is higher than the other
  • The waist is uneven
  • The body tilts to one side
  • One leg appears shorter than the other

Treating Scoliosis

One of the most common treatments for this condition is by wearing a back brace. The brace will stop the curvature from getting worse thus correcting improper posture. Strict compliance with the use of the back brace is important so that once the brace is removed the curve will not go back.

How to Prevent Scoliosis?

Not all cases of scoliosis can be prevented, such as the congenital type. However, you might be able to reduce your chance of acquiring idiopathic or neuromuscular scoliosis with the following .

  • Through proper diet, exercise and therapy, you can improve and strengthen your muscles and bones.
  • Once you have discovered the signs, visit a specialist right away for early detection and prevention.
  • Perform exercises that can reduce neck and back pain. But be careful not to over stress the back and neck muscles.
  • Avoid standing for long hours especially on concrete floors.
  • If you need to sit on a chair for a long time, support your back using a pillow or rolled towel.
  • When lifting objects, lift it using the proper body techniques like by bending the knees first before lifting, so not to strain your back
  • It is also advisable for you to do early morning stretching exercise to prevent muscle strains, stiffness and jerks.

Scoliosis appears to be more common in girls. Though the cause is not known, the best thing to do is to get an early diagnosis through early detection. Back and neck pain caused by scoliosis can become severe based on the extent of the curvature.

Jobs High Risk for Neck and Shoulder Pain

Jobs High Risk for Neck and Shoulder PainEven to this day the impact of neck and shoulder pain continues to be astounding. Many jobs have placed workers at a greater risk for this condition. You may be surprised on how broad the list of high risk jobs is going to be. If you are just one of those suffering from a work-related neck or shoulder injury, you know how the pain affects your job performance.

A Risky Path to Take

To know what jobs are at risk, work-safety and health professionals have investigated certain occupational factors, especially the work environment. It has been known that too much physical work, heavy lifting, non-stop bending and twisting, bad work posture and sitting or standing for a long period of time places these workers at risk for having neck and shoulder pain.

Two occupations for Neck and Shoulder Pain

Two occupations at the top of the list are construction workers and nurses. People having these two career paths have a greater possibility to experience work-related injuries, specifically pain in the neck or shoulder regions.

Sadly, workers don’t place a priority on how they can prevent this condition from affecting them since they dread that they will lose the job. As a result, they typically don’t take breaks and time off.

Do You Belong to Any of These Careers?

  • Nurses and Nursing Home Caregivers

As the elderly population begins to rise, there have been a growing number of nursing homes and job prospects for nurses. Nursing home caregivers and nurses are at risk not only for back pain but for neck and shoulder pain as well, resulting from transferring, lifting, carrying, and turning patients.

  • Construction Workers

People who work at construction sites spend most of their time doing repeated bending, carrying and pulling. These repetitive activities can result in neck injuries where pain in the neck area is common. According to research, almost 30% of workers missed their jobs because of neck strain. 

  • Surgeons and Dentists

These medical professions require long hours of standing, bending and uncomfortable body positioning. The work of surgeons and dentists is not only physically taxing but it can be mentally stressful, diverting their awareness away from bad body posture that results in neck pain or shoulder pain. 

  • Retail Workers

Store and grocery employees are required to stand in one place for 8 hours or more. Lifting heavy grocery bags can cause neck or shoulder pain when poor body mechanics are used. 

These are just some of the careers at risk for neck and shoulder injuries.  

The following are basic ergonomics steps for people at risk for job-related neck or shoulder pain. 

Ergonomic Tips for Workers Who Stand for Long Hours

For retail workers or store personnel, the following tips may be helpful in preventing neck pain at work.

  • Stand straight. Keeping your body in a neutral and proper alignment.
  • Stretch often and change position regularly. 

Ergonomic Tips for Workers Whose Job Requires Lifting

  • When lifting, bend your knees, not your back.
  • Keep your body aligned and not twisted when lifting.
  • Stretch your neck, back and arms often.
  • Stand up and walk for a minute or two every hour. 

Ergonomic Techniques to Avoid Neck and Shoulder Pain

You may not be able to change your career, but there are ergonomic techniques that you can take to avoid neck and shoulder pain from affecting you and your job.  

If you begin to suffer job-related neck or shoulder pain, report it and seek medical help early.