How to Get Rid of a Stiff Neck

How to Get Rid of a Stiff Neck

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What is Stiff Neck?

If you get a stiff neck, do not worry because it is a common problem for a lot of people. Even though stiff neck is not a serious medical problem, it still makes you feel uncomfortable. You may wake up in the morning feeling unable to move your head in any direction or feel the pain in your neck or sometimes from long period of sitting in front of the computer [1].

What are the symptoms of Stiff Neck?

There are several common symptoms which indicate a stiff neck such as pain and soreness with trouble in moving your neck, especially when you want to turn your head to either side. Occasionally, stiff neck might trigger pain in the shoulder and arm as well as headache [2].

What causes Stiff Neck?

Stiff neck is often caused by sleeping in awkward positions, straining muscles because of heavily carrying or bad posture that increase pressure on your shoulders. It can also be the result of sitting in front of the computer for a long time. In addition, other factors which trigger stiff neck are traumas or injuries that impact your neck, stress as well as anxiety that might increase tension for the muscles of the neck, and some diseases such as cancer, rheumatoid arthritis [3], meningitis.

Here are the top 15 most effective remedies for how to get rid of stiff neck which you can try on your own at home easily in order to help you get rid of a stiff neck and prevent any discomfort from it…

1. Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil is the most recommended solution for how to get rid of a stiff neck because of the menthol that can effectively soothe stiff muscle in your neck. Furthermore, it can reduce discomforts and pain due to its analgesic property [4].

  • Use microwave to warm olive oil (2 teaspoons) for a few seconds.
  • Add some drops of peppermint essential oil to olive oil.
  • Use this oil mixture to massage your neck gently.
  • Follow this solution twice a day for several days.
  • Another option is adding peppermint oil (2 drops) to a big bowl of cold water.
  • Soak a washcloth in this water than place it on your neck then leave it for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Repeat this again if you need.

Note: People who have sensitive skin and children are not suitable to peppermint oil. For more information about the applications of this herb, please read: Home Remedies for Sore Throat and Spider Bites.

2. Turmeric

Turmeric is a highly regarded ingredient for how to get rid of a stiff neck thanks to its anti-inflammatory property [5]. Moreover, turmeric can improve blood circulation [6] [7].

Turmeric - How to Get Rid of a Stiff Neck

  • Add turmeric powder (1 teaspoon) in a glass of milk then heat it for 5 minutes.
  • Wait for it to cool then add a little honey.
  • Drink this twice a day for a few days.
  • You can also include turmeric in your daily meal.
  • Another option is taking turmeric in tablet or capsule form.

Note: Remember to ask your doctor before taking turmeric supplement. You can find out more about the benefits of turmeric at: Home Remedies for Blisters on Tongue and Blemishes.

3. Massage

This is an effective tip on how to get rid of a stiff neck. Massage gently will increase blood circulation and relax the muscles as well. As a result, the stiffness will disappear. In addition, you can also sleep better.

  • Relax your muscles by taking a hot shower or bath.
  • Warm some coconut, mustard or olive oil.
  • Apply the oil on your neck.
  • Massage gently but using firmly strokes for a couple of minutes.

Note: You can ask for somebody’s help if you can’t do this on your own. For more information about the benefits of massage, please read: Home Remedies for Scar Removal and Bursitis.

4. Epsom Salt

Epsom salt can reduce the stiffness thanks to the chemical compound magnesium sulfate [8]. Moreover, it can improve circulation and regulate the activity of some enzymes. As a result, your stiff neck will be treated.

  • Add Epsom salt (2 cups) to bathtub full of warm water.
  • Bathe in this water and let your stiff neck submerged for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Follow this solution 3 times a week.

Note: If you have diabetes or kidney problems, don’t follow this tip.

5. Apple Cider Vinegar

Thanks to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties content in apple cider vinegar, it can prevent muscle strain and reduce the stiffness on the neck. It can also prevent the pain related to nutrient deficiencies [9].

Apple Cider Vinegar - How to Get Rid of a Stiff Neck

  • Soak a paper napkin in raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar.
  • Place the napkin on your neck than wait for a couple of hours.
  • Follow this tip 2 times a day until you feel better.
  • You can also add apple cider vinegar (2 cups) into the warm bathwater.
  • Soak in it for at least 15 minutes.
  • Follow this remedy once a day until you see the result.

6. Cold Compress

Another tip on how to get rid of a stiff neck is using a cold compress in order to ease the stiffness. Cold compresses can limit the buildup of lactic acid, which is cause of soreness and ease the pain thanks to the cold temperature [10] [11].

  • Take several ice cubes and wrap them in a thin towel.
  • Place it on the affected area for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Repeat this tip every 2 hours for the first 2 days.

Note: You can use frozen peas instead of ice. Do not apply the ice directly on your skin.

7. Acupressure

You can treat a stiff neck by acupressure. It is a traditional Chinese treatment that applies pressure to some specific points to reduce the pain. The point that can help get rid of the stiff neck is called Luo Zhen. This point is located in the depression between 2 bones near the knuckles of the pointer and middle fingers.

Acupressure - How to Get Rid of a Stiff Neck

If your neck is stiff on the right side, massage the point on your left hand and vice versa, too while rotating your head side to side. Remember to apply light pressure into the point with your fingertip for some minutes.

8. Neck Exercise

Practicing some neck exercises can be an essentially useful tip on how to get rid of a stiff neck. It can ease tension that caused by the strained, tight neck muscles.

  • Keep your body relaxed and sit up straight.
  • Move your head backward (toward the sky) and then forward (toward your chest) for a couple of times.
  • After that, tilt your head down toward to left shoulder than to your right shoulder. Repeat these motions for a couple of minutes.
  • Hold your body still then turn your head slowly to the left then to the right for several minutes.
  • Roll your shoulder gently for a few times to end your exercises.

Note: Do not do any neck exercises if your neck hurts too much.

9. Heat Therapy

If cold compress doesn’t work for you after 2 days, try using heat therapy. The heat can reduce the stiffness by increasing blood circulation [12].

  • Place a hot compress on the affected area for at least 10 minutes.
  • Follow this solution for 3 to 4 times a day until you see the result. You can use hot water bottle, hot towel, heating pad or heat wrap.
  • Another option is showering with warm water and let the water run on your neck for 5 minutes.
  • Hold your neck still while doing this tip.
  • Follow this tip 2 to 3 times daily.

10. Cayenne Pepper

You can also use cayenne pepper to treat your stiff neck thanks to its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties [13].

  • Take cayenne pepper (1 teaspoon) and warm olive oil (2 tablespoons) then mix them together.
  • Apply this mixture on your neck, cover it with a bandage then wait for some hours.
  • Repeat this solution for a couple of days.
  • You can also massage your neck with an over-the-counter cream that contains cayenne pepper.
  • Another option is including cayenne pepper in your daily meal.

11. Reduce Heavy Physical Activities

If you are having a stiff neck, the best thing is reducing heavy physical activities in order to ease the stiffness.

You should avoid doing the following exercises or sports for the first 2 to 3 weeks when you are having a stiff neck: ballets, football, golf, leg lifts, sit-ups, hockey, running, weightlifting, etc.

12. Visit the Doctor

If your stiff neck doesn’t disappear, you should go to your doctor for treatment. A stiff neck may be the symptom of slipped disc in your spine or a pinched nerve.

Visit The Doctor - How to Get Rid of a Stiff Neck

If the stiffness stays for more than a couple of days, call your doctor for medical treatment.

13. Apply Topical Analgesic

If natural remedies don’t work, you can try using balms that contain menthol or other ingredients that can ease the stiffness. You can use some popular balms like Ben Gay, Aspercreme and Icy Hot.

14. Use a Pillow that Can Give You Supports

Neck Pillow - How to Get Rid of a Stiff Neck

If you have a stiff neck for a couple of times, you should change your pillow. Choose the pillow that can minimize the stiffness of the neck depending on how you sleep. You can choose memory foam pillows because they can give consistent supports.

15. Get Enough Sleep

Getting enough sleep is good for you because it will allow your body to restore itself after a day. If you don’t have enough sleep or your sleep isn’t deep enough, it can exacerbate neck pain. So try to get a full sleep every night.

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*Disclaim: The effectiveness from applying these natural tips will be depended on the body condition of the applicant.

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