Stiff Neck

Dr. Nadheer K M (AIIMS)MBBS

January 10, 2019

March 06, 2020

Stiff Neck
Stiff Neck

What is a stiff neck?

A stiff neck is nothing but discomfort to the structures of the neck. If not taken care of, it can lead to pain and difficulty in neck movements. Stiffness is mainly caused by a muscle spasm in the neck.

What are its main signs and symptoms?    

Neck stiffness leads to a sore feeling in your neck, making it difficult to turn the head to the side comfortably. If a nerve gets compressed, you may experience tingling, numbness and weakness of the arm and the hand on the affected side.

What are the main causes?

Everyday activities are usually to be blamed for a stiff neck. These include working on laptops or mobile phones for hours, having a poor sitting posture, slouching when walking, lifting heavy things and so on. All these activities put a strain on your neck and compel it to remain at an uncomfortable angle for a long time. The other important factor is mental stress which causes tension in the neck muscles and puts them under strain for long hours. Sports injuries and accidents are also some of the common causes of a stiff neck. Certain medical conditions that cause stiff neck include cervical spondylosis, torticollis and fibromyalgia.

How is it diagnosed and treated?    

Based on the symptoms, your doctor will examine your neck and check the range of movements to access the severity of the condition. Scans are usually not needed.

Treatment includes muscle relaxants, painkillers and anti-inflammatory medications if needed.

Home remedies and self-care measures are very useful and should be done. These include:

  • Hot and cold fomentation for 10-15 minutes a few times a day.
  • Resting the neck completely and not doing any exercise till symptoms are relieved.
  • Gentle massage can be done to ease the stiffness.
  • Sleeping on a firm mattress provides good support to the neck and relieves stiffness.

A stiff neck can be prevented with some simple lifestyle changes, such as:

  • Limiting the number of hours on your laptop and mobile phone.
  • Adjusting the height of your chair, so that the computer is at your eye level.
  • Taking frequent breaks from one position to stretch.
  • Doing regular exercise and maintaining a good posture.


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Medicines for Stiff Neck

Medicines listed below are available for Stiff Neck. Please note that you should not take any medicines without doctor consultation. Taking any medicine without doctor's consultation can cause serious problems.