A stiff neck neck can really interfere with your activities of daily living. Its not only painful but its limiting - you cannot move your head in a certain direction and you end up having to turn your whole head just to see something or get into a certain position. Personally, if I am in a lot of pain, I take an ibuprofen- but i do other things as well to help my stiff neck. Here are a few things that I have tried that have worked:
1. Take a hot shower. Let the water hit your entire neck and upper back area. After a few minutes, do gentle neck stretches. Bring your head down, extend back, bring your right ear to your right shoulder, left ear to your left shoulder and turn your head. Keep in mind that with a stiff neck, you may only be able to turn a little- just do it the point of feeling a gentle stretch, NOT to the point of pain. You will notice that the next day when you do this your range of motion in the cervical spine (neck) will be increased.
2. Do Gentle neck traction. This could be as simple as creating a neck roll with a towel and laying on that for 10–15 minutes. You can also do that with the arc4life traction pillow.
3. Sit with a heat pack around your neck and upper back area. This will loosen up the tight muscles.
4. Sleep on a contoured neck pillow at night. This will help to align the cervical spine when you are sleeping, whether on your side or back. Incidentally sleeping on a contoured neck pillow will decrease chances of waking up with a stiff neck.
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