Stiff neck

A stiff neck is a usual complaint that can occur in most individuals at some point. It is usually brief, lasting only for a few days at a time. In most cases, a stiff neck is due to tightness of the muscles.

Indications

  • A stiff, tight sensation in the neck and neighboring muscles
  • Difficulty in moving the neck especially when turning the head
  • Headaches
  • Pain might radiate down into the back or the arms
    Stiff neck

    There is difficulty in moving the neck especially when turning the head.

What are the causes?

A stiff neck is typically due to tight muscles in the neck. In such cases, a muscle in the neck might be pulled or torn or go into spasm particularly the levator scapulae.

Other usual causes of a stiff neck include the following:

  • Poor posture
  • Unusual neck positions
  • Repetitive neck movements
  • Sports activities
  • Lifting weights
  • Stress

It might also be an indication of another condition such as meningitis but it is accompanied by other symptoms. Neck injuries as well as issues with the discs or vertebrae might cause a stiff neck due to the muscle spasms that help support and protect the injury.

Management

  • The individual should get enough rest from the activity responsible for the injury.
  • The neck muscles should be stretched gently.
  • A heat pack should be applied. Make sure that it is not done for at least 48 hours.
  • Sports massage is effective in relaxing the affected muscles.

More Information / Disclaimer

The information posted on this page on stiff neck is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage muscle or bone injuries that can cause stiff neck by taking a standard first aid course with Winnipeg First Aid.

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