Stiff Neck – Frisco, TX
Pain and discomfort felt while the neck is moved forward, sideways or backwards is termed as a stiff neck. It is a common problem that affects many people in their day to day lives although the underlying causes may vary. The stiffness in the neck can be due to some external factors or it could be an indication of an underlying problem. It is therefore advisable to get medical advice and a proper diagnosis done.

Causes Of Stiff Neck

  • Injury caused to the levator scapula muscle which connects the neck to the shoulders
  • Sprain in the soft tissues within the neck
  • Poor postural habits
  • Using a very hard or too soft pillow. Sleeping in an awkward manner can also be a cause
  • Text neck- using the mobile phone for too long and looking down upon it
  • Injuries to the neck while playing a sport of exercising
  • Repeated sideways movement of the neck stresses the muscles. This particularly happens while swimming when the head is turned from one side to the other
  • Psychological stress can lead to stiff neck
  • Talking while holding the phone by dropping the neck towards the shoulder
  • Spinal disorders such as herniated discs, spinal stenosis, meningitis and bone spurs can result in stiff neck
  • Injuries caused by falling, tripping, strangulation, direct blow to the head or the neck may be a causative factor

Symptoms Of Stiff Neck

  • Moving the neck causes a lot of pain and discomfort which may last for a couple of days or a few weeks
  • The person tends to move his/her entire body in the direction of the neck as the neck is too stiff to move alone
  • May experience pain in the shoulders, upper arms and head at the same time
  • Swelling may occur
  • Bruising may be observed especially if the cause is an external trauma
  • In severe cases there may be numbness in the upper extremities, tingling sensation, fever, nausea and loss of control over the upper body

Diagnosis Of Stiff Neck

  • The patient’s age, medical history, body weight, lifestyle is analyzed to reach a diagnosis
  • X-ray or CT scan of the cervical region to determine the internal cause and damage if any
  • Assessment of the time and mode of injury if any
  • Palpation and physical tests to check for swelling and muscle spasms

Treatment For Stiff Neck

  • Resting for a day or two helps relieve the symptoms and the muscle spasms can subside
  • Gentle stretching exercises can be performed to allow the neck and the muscles to regain flexibility
  • Apply ice packs at regular intervals to alleviate the symptoms
  • Use of heat therapy can promote blood circulation in the cervical region and thus enhance the healing process
  • Medicines to curb pain, relax the muscles and inflammation may be prescribed
  • Low impact physical activity such as walking helps increase the amount of oxygen supplied to the body. This promotes healing
  • A neck collar may be prescribed for a short duration to immobilize the neck