Treating a Stiff Neck, and Preventing One From Happening
Treating a Stiff Neck, and Preventing One From Happening
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How to Treat A Stiff Neck, and Prevent One From Happening

How to Treat A Stiff Neck, and Prevent One From Happening

We’ve all been there. You wake up in bed, ready to take on whatever the day has in store, flip over to hit snooze or check your phone, and you can barely move your head without a shooting pain. Waking up with a stiff neck can ruin anyone’s morning, and it can really throw your whole day off, especially if it lingers. Most of the time, it’s caused by sleeping with your neck in an awkward position, either twisted or at an unusual angle for several hours. This can really be a pain in the neck (no pun intended), so check out these treatments on how to deal with a stiff neck, and how to minimize to chance of it happening again.

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Hot/Cold Treatments

The best thing to do once you discover you’ve woken up with a stiff neck, after you’ve painfully made it out of bed, is to take a hot shower. The heat and steam from the water helps to relax and loosen tight muscles. Since you can’t take a hot shower all day long, throughout the day you can try a heating pad or hot water bottle (or towel). Conversely, you can alternate hot treatments with cold ones that help dull the pain, by placing an ice-pack where it hurts most.

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Over the Counter Medicines

Ibuprofen, or other over-the-counter pain relievers can really help manage the pain, just make sure to stick to the recommended dosage. Also, you can find pain-relieving creams or oils that’ll soothe your neck; some ointments even have heat/cooling effects, which relate to the method above.

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Stretching

After a hot shower, you can attempt to loosen up muscles yourself through some basic stretching techniques. Move your head in a circle, as big a circle as you can without experiencing pain. As you do this, slowly make the circles bigger. In time, your range of motion should increase, and pain should subside.

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Massage Therapy

If you think you need to, go see a professional. A massage therapist may know how to help you relieve the tension. Even if you’re feeling it in your neck, you could be holding tension in your shoulders or in your back that builds into your neck. A specialist can help in identifying the issue and give recommendations.

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Preventing a Stiff Neck From Recurring:

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Checking Your Pillows and Mattress

If you’re regularly waking up with a stiff neck, or just neck pain in general, you may want to take a look at what your sleeping on. Often times, neck pain can be caused by not enough support as a result of a soft mattress. Other times, your pillow may not be providing enough neck support for a good night’s rest. SensorGel offers a contoured memory foam pillow, designed to give the head, neck and shoulders much needed support.

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Daily Activity

Another factor in how well you sleep is the daily activity you engage in when you’re awake. A lot of people spend eight hours a day sitting in uncomfortable chairs, staring down at a computer screen, which can cause neck strain. Also, sitting down all day leaves you muscles rigid for hours at a time; take regular breaks to stretch out your whole body. When you do have to remain seated, make it ergonomic: feet flat on the ground, upright posture, and your screen at eye level.

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Waking up with a stiff neck happens from time to time. If it happens too often, you might want to take a look at what you do everyday and what you’re sleeping on. When it does, follow the tips above, and it should help get you back on your feet and at full mobility sooner rather than later.