Sudden neck stiffness can be caused by anything from sleeping in the wrong position to slanting your neck while cradling your phone. While neck stiffness is rarely serious, the pain is often acute and very noticeable. There are, however, some steps you can take to find quick relief for your neck stiffness, and it only requires about a minute of your time.
Fast Relief Anywhere
One quick way to relieve neck stiffness, according to leading neck surgeons in Los Angeles, is with a 60-second method that’s essentially a self-massage. When what is often nothing more than a muscle cramp causes noticeable pain, take the following steps to “knead” it away:
- Use the corresponding hand closest to the spot on your neck where the stiffness is felt, i.e., if the pain is felt on the right side of your neck, use your right hand to massage it.
- Push firmly into the knot with your fingers.
- If the stiff spot on your neck can’t be reached, lean against a wall and use a tennis ball to massage the area by gently rolling the ball.
- Turn your head in the direction opposite of the cramp to activate the muscle, which often helps relieve the muscle stiffness.
- Repeat the above steps 15-20 times until the stiffness is gone and do a good overall back and neck stretch similar to what you do when first getting out of bed.
When 60-Seconds Isn’t Enough for Relief
It’s often the levator scapula muscle, which connects your neck and shoulders, that’s responsible for neck stiffness. If the quick massage method isn’t working on this or any other muscles in the neck, consider these more extensive treatment options:
- Over-the-counter NSAIDs (Advil, Motrin IB) to relieve inflammation
- Massage therapy from a licensed therapist or chiropractor
- Heat or ice applications
Fortunately, the cervical spine, referring to the seven bones of the neck, is more durable than you may realize. Neck stiffness often goes away fairly quickly, making methods like the 60-second muscle massage worth trying when stiff neck muscles result in discomfort.
If neck pain becomes progressively worse or extends to the shoulders and arms, it’s time to see a doctor about non-fusion surgery options that may provide lasting relief. Reach out to the highly regarded spine therapists and neck surgeons at The Spine Institute Center by calling (310) 828-7757. The path to a pain-free life starts here.