Stiff neck is indeed a very uncomfortable experience! Maybe you wake up one morning and feel that your neck and shoulders can't move in one direction, and then it's also uncomfortable to turn in which direction, and you can't keep it in one direction for a long time, otherwise it will hurt, it's really uncomfortable. What’s worse, you're going to be in this pain for at least the next day or two. You can't work, exercise and live well.
So you know why you get stiff neck and what should you do if you accidentally get stiff neck? Besides, how do you avoid a stiff neck? This article will tell you the answers.
Part 1. Why you get a stiff neck?
In fact, the sleeping position of a person is like a standing position, which requires your entire spine to ensure the corresponding physiological curvature, otherwise it will cause the corresponding muscles to lengthen or shorten, resulting in muscle tension.
The human body maintains every posture by contracting some muscles and relaxing others. We turn over unconsciously during sleep, which is to relax some originally contracted muscles by changing postures, and let the originally relaxed muscles contract to maintain the posture. If you sleep too deeply and maintain a certain position without turning over, the trapezius muscle will continue to contract and spasm, resulting in what we call a "stiff neck".
Part 2. How to relieve stiff neck
1. Get some hot compresses or massage
As we mentioned above, stiff neck is because the muscles are in a state of long-term contraction or stretching due to poor sleeping posture. Massage or heat therapy can help relieve muscle tension.
In the acute stage, do not twist your head to resist the rigid cervical spine. Torsion of the cervical spine by yourself or others may cause serious injury to the cervical spine. Therefore, in the acute stage of stiff neck, the affected area should be protected and activities should be reduced. It is recommended to limit rest to one or two days, as too much inactivity can lead to a weakening of the muscles, and weak muscles have to struggle to adequately support the neck and head.
3. Stretching of muscles
Note: It should only be done if your symptoms and pains are not severe.
Sit on a chair, then tilt your head to one side, maintain the maximum stretch for 15-30 seconds, then switch to the other side and do the appropriate number of sets according to your situation to stretch the upper trapezius.
Part 3. How do you avoid a stiff neck
1. Pick a pillow that suits you
During normal sleep, a good pillow plays a vital role, after all, it supports your cervical spine and head. The pillow should not be too high or too low, the best pillow should be able to support the physiological curve of the cervical spine and makes you feel comfortable.
2. Adjust your sleeping position
If you often have a stiff neck, you may need to consider adjusting your sleeping position. Improper sleeping position or frequent movement during sleep can easily lead to stiff neck.
3. Practice good posture.
Any posture should not be held for too long, otherwise it will easily lead to local tissue ischemia; maintain good body posture when working at a desk or using digital products, remember to get up and relax your body every 30 to 45 minutes, but do not forcefully rotate the cervical or lumbar vertebrae.
4. Develop a regular exercise habit
Not only does exercise improve our productivity, it also protects our bodies. Such as aerobic exercise can improve the blood supply to the tissues of our whole body, so that we can more effectively prevent the recurrence of stiff neck.
5. Strengthen your neck and shoulder muscles
This is very important and can effectively prevent many types of neck and shoulder disorders. You can do some shoulder and neck stretching and relaxation exercises every day to strengthen the muscles of these two parts. Only in this way can you avoid getting stiff neck often.
Occasionally stiff neck is not a big problem, but if you often get stiff neck, you need to pay enough attention. You’d better to find the cause of the stiff neck, such as poor posture or an improper pillow or bad sleeping position. In addition, in daily life, it is also necessary to regularly exercise and strengthen the muscles of the neck and shoulders to prevent the occurrence of stiff neck.