A stiff neck is a very common complaint and typically involves increased soreness and pain when moving the neck through its range of motion. Oftentimes, rotating the head to the left or to the right is the most difficult and painful movement. A stiff neck may also cause a person to turn their body instead of the neck. This can make activities such as driving very difficult. Neck stiffness may be associated with:
There are different causes of neck stiffness. One of the most common causes of neck stiffness would include muscle strains. The strains could be caused by the following:
- Trauma – neck stiffness after a car accident or sports injury
- Static Posture -neck stiffness related to computer work
- Sleep –neck stiffness after sleeping awkwardly
- Lifting or Carrying – neck stiffness after holding or carrying objects (ex: suitcase, purse, etc.) on one side of the body for an extended period of time.
Many of these activities such as neck stiffness after a car accident actually injure the muscle causing it to spasm. The spasm causes pain and interferes with range of motion. The static posture such as computer work, driving, or carrying objects on one side of the body will cause the muscles in the neck and upper back to become fatigued. The fatigued muscles can go into spasm causing the pain and limited range of motion. Many muscle strains in the neck will resolve within a reasonable period of time. However, if the discomfort has lasts longer than a week it is medically advisable to be evaluated by a practitioner who specializes in the musculoskeletal complaints such as a Doctor of chiropractic. Chiropractic and physical therapy can help to shorten the duration of the symptoms related to the neck strain and help provide faster neck stiffness relief.
If the neck stiffness has been more prolonged such as occurring for longer than 1-2 months then the cause is likely related to the facet joints or discs rather than a neck muscle strain. The facet joints are on the back of the vertebra. If there is spinal misalignment this can restrict the normal motion of the facet joints thus generating neck pain, neck stiffness, and muscle spasm. If the problem is related to a disc, the disc may be herniated, bulging, or degenerated. A problem with the disc could cause physical irritation of a nerve or chemical irritation of the nerve. The resulting symptoms can involve the neck, upper back between the shoulder blades, and pain radiating into an arm.
Chiropractic treatment can be very effective for neck stiffness relief. Neck stiffness treatment such as chiropractic works to improve spinal misalignment. When the spinal misalignment is corrected or improved it helps break the cycle of pain and muscle spasm. Chiropractic adjustments also positively affect the facet joints and discs.
I have helped many patients suffering from both acute and chronic neck stiffness. Chiropractic treatment can help shorten the duration of acute neck strains and can also help provide relief to those suffering from chronic neck stiffness. If neck stiffness has started to interfere with sleeping or daily activities and you would like to be evaluated to see if chiropractic care could help you, please contact my office today. We specialize in providing short term care for neck pain. Start to feel relief faster. My office serves the areas of Roseville, MN, Arden Hills, MN, Saint Paul, MN, Falcon Heights, MN, and Shoreview, MN.