Updated: Sep 24
A standard stiff neck may cause you to lose a day of work or even more. It's painful and uncomfortable, and it can happen anytime. Having a stiff neck can be one of the most annoying conditions you can have. Even though getting a stiff neck is not uncommon, it can still be frustrating that every time a stiff neck comes up, it never seems to go away on its own.
A stiff neck just won't go away on its own for some people, and although there are many methods in Manhattan pain management centers for treating and preventing a stiff neck, there are four main reasons why this happens.
So why won't stiff necks go away on their own? Is there a simple way to cure it without consuming any medications? This article will cover the causes of why your stiff neck isn't going away on its own.
Neck tissues become inflamed or irritated, causing pain, tingling, and other symptoms
Chronic neck pain is incredibly common, but it's also very inconvenient. What normally feels like a manageable, everyday kind of ache can easily turn into something that makes you dread doing even the simplest tasks. It can be hard to get through your workday, hard to eat at restaurants, and hard to enjoy time with friends who aren't understanding of your need to keep your head still.
If you're experiencing neck pain, there's a chance that your tissues have become irritated and inflamed. Neck pain can be caused by inflammation anywhere in the body, but specifically, it's an issue with the tissues in your neck. Inflammation is the body's normal response to injury or illness (think of how swollen a sprained ankle is after an accident). The immune system releases inflammatory cells to repair damaged tissue.
Those cells are released into the bloodstream and cause redness, warmth, swelling, and pain. You may also feel tingling or shooting pain when you touch your neck. Neck pain can be caused by problems with any of the structures in your neck—muscles, bones, and joints.
The most important thing to remember about neck pain is there could be something serious going on if it's not going away after a few days. So if you're having any trouble breathing or swallowing, see a doctor immediately. Also, see a pain specialist in NYC if your symptoms are particularly painful or persistent, if you have trouble moving your neck or if you have other symptoms.
Neck muscles spasm due to an injury or lack of use
In the case of injury, a spasm is often the body's attempt to protect itself from further injury by tensing up the muscles around the site of an injury. The muscle becomes tense and tight, causing pain and stiffness.
This can happen if you have an accident or injury that damages your neck muscles: they're smart enough to realize that this area is vulnerable, and they're trying to keep other things from getting hurt. The result is a painful muscle spasm that restricts movement and can be really hard to work through on your own.
Spasms are caused by overuse or injury to a muscle group. They can occur when you have been working out too hard at the gym, playing sports, or simply sitting at your desk for too many hours a day. Spasms mean the neck muscles contract involuntarily, which can cause a lot of pain and make it hard for your neck to work properly.
However, injury isn't the only thing that can cause neck stiffness—if you don't use it enough, your body will start to lose its range of motion, and this can cause muscle weakness. Keeping active with physical activity such as exercise is important for maintaining flexibility and strength in your joints. Consult with a medical professional so they can figure out exactly what is causing the issue and how to best relieve it.
Physical therapists have extensive training in diagnosing and treating neck pain. A physical therapist will be able to help you increase mobility in the affected area by using targeted exercises designed just for you. They can also teach you how to stretch so that when you tense again, the exercises are easier and more effective at relieving your discomfort.
A pinched nerve in the neck is causing pain and other symptoms
It's not uncommon to get out of bed in the morning and feel a little stiff. This is because we move around so much during the day that our muscles are always working, even when we're not actively engaged in exercise. After a long day of sitting at a desk or an extra-long day of standing and working on your feet, your neck may be feeling sore or tight for reasons outside of mere laziness.
The muscles in your neck are no different from other parts of your body; they're just small and hard to notice when you're in pain. If you've ever felt any sort of shortness of breath, nausea, or weakness in your limbs, it may have been due to a pinched nerve or some other issue with the nerves that control the function (and feeling) of your muscles. The same goes for the muscles in your neck.
A pinched nerve in the neck is one of the most common causes of pain and other symptoms. The nerve may be pinched by bone fragments (a herniated disc), bone spurs, or scar tissue from previous injuries. If you have had surgery on your spine, this can also cause a pinched nerve in your neck.
The symptoms of a pinched nerve in the neck include:
Pain. The pain is usually constant and severe and can be sharp or burning. The pain may shoot down one arm or both arms or be felt as numbness or weakness in an arm or hand.
Tingling and numbness. These sensations usually occur on one side of the body only, which can make them difficult to distinguish from other types of pain and discomfort. Tingling or numbness is often felt in the fingers, hand, or arm; occasionally, they extend into other areas of the body, such as the face or buttocks.
Weakness. Weakness may be present along with weakness of sensation (numbness). This weakness may be slight at first but gradually increases as the condition worsens over time.
Headaches. A headache may develop with a pinched nerve in the neck because increased pressure on nerve roots makes it more difficult for your brain to function properly.
A pinched nerve is also known as cervical radiculopathy. It's usually triggered by an injury to one of several cervical nerves that control sensation and movement in different areas of your body. These injuries can occur during sports activities like football or hockey, work activities like construction work, or even just due to poor posture while sitting at a desk all day long.
If you have a stiff neck for more than two weeks, you need to see a pain specialist. A pain specialist can provide an accurate diagnosis and recommend pain management techniques designed to relieve pain and prevent it from returning.
A degenerative condition that affect the joints of the spine
In most cases, your stiff neck will be caused by inflammation and degeneration of the joints in the spine, which can be caused by:
Arthritis. The most common cause of a stiff neck is arthritis, which is the inflammation of one or more joints in the spine. Arthritis affects the bones and cartilage that make up your joints. You can have arthritis without having any symptoms, but when it affects your spine, it can cause pain and stiffness in your neck.
Osteoarthritis (OA). OA occurs when the cartilage that cushions your joints wears away over time, causing painful bone-on-bone contact that leads to inflammation, stiffness, and pain. OA most commonly affects middle-aged or older people, but it also can occur in younger people, particularly those who have had trauma to their joints or diabetes.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). RA involves chronic inflammation of multiple joints throughout the body due to an autoimmune reaction against normal tissue in those joints. It causes painful swelling in affected joints (especially hands and feet) as well as stiffness and pain throughout the body. The exact cause of RA isn't known, but genetics seem to play a role since it tends to run in families.
Although you may never be able to get rid of these conditions completely, there are some things you can do when the pain flares up to help ease the discomfort and speed the healing process. It's important to see a medical professional for diagnosis and treatment. While there are some at-home treatments for those suffering from chronic neck pain, if you've tried them and they haven't worked, it's time to take your discomfort seriously.
Treating chronic neck pain and living a pain-free life is possible
When you've got a stiff neck, it's hard to feel good. Whether the pain is all over your upper neck or just in one spot, it can be frustrating to try to figure out why your neck is hurting so much and how you can make it stop. A stiff neck is an extremely common condition that can be caused by a variety of injuries and conditions, including whiplash, pinching of the nerve, muscle strain, and even dehydration.
The key takeaway here is that a stiff neck is not something to be ignored. The good news is that we're here with plenty of information about the possible causes and treatments for neck stiffness and pain. It's often a sign of something more major going on in your body and can lead to other serious conditions or affect your daily routine, so if you have been having trouble with your neck, it is best to get checked out by a Manhattan pain management specialist immediately.
A stiff neck won't go away because the cause of the pain is still there! But like other pains and problems, taking a holistic approach can help remedy this too. The most effective way to address your stiff neck is with a combination of healthy lifestyle changes, massage, physiotherapy, and other alternative therapies.
A pain specialist can help figure out if there's an underlying cause for your stiffness that requires treatment. And when it's time to visit the professionals, remember that they will be able to provide you with the best treatment options. By consulting with them early, you can minimize any complications your discomfort may pose, get back on track quickly and safely, and enjoy greater mobility and potential pain relief.