How to loosen the stiff neck (Photo: Pixabay)
How to loosen the stiff neck (Photo: Pixabay)

A stiff neck is generally not indicative of a serious medical problem, but it can impede daily activities and make it difficult to fall asleep. The causes can be very diverse, for example, poor posture at work, poor sleep, excessive physical exertion, anxiety, or health problems. The important thing is to know that before filling up on medications, anti-inflammatories and remedies, we can change some habits and improve in our own home.

Step by Step

Here are some ideas to implement on a daily basis.

1- Hot towel: place a hand towel in a bowl filled with hot water and submerge. Another option is to heat the towel with a blow dryer for 5 to 7 minutes. Once hot, put it on the neck and let it rest.

2- Moist heat: helps to relax contracted muscles, also moist heat is better than dry heat, because it penetrates more efficiently into the neck. Apply a moist heat pad to the nape or neck for at least 20 minutes, 3 times a day. Another option is to put on a hot water bottle or take a hot bath.

3- Ice bag: the cold numbs the local pain and limits the accumulation of lactic acid, the cause of the pain. Use an ice pack and put it on the part of the neck that is stiff (usually the nape) for 10 to 15 minutes every 2 hours. A cold treatment can be used for acute pain in the first 48 to 72 hours and then switched to heat.

4- Topical analgesic: immediate relief can also be achieved with the use of menthol ointments. You can also make your own pain reliever by melting 2 tablespoons of coconut oil with 1 tablespoon of beeswax in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add 5 drops of peppermint oil and 5 drops of eucalyptus oil. Transfer the mixture to a container with a lid, for example a glass jar, and let it cool. Once cool, apply to the neck and its surroundings.

5- Change the pillow: If you wake up with a stiff neck often, it’s time to change your pillow and find one that is supportive and minimizes neck stiffness. Memory foam pillows are a good choice as they provide consistent support so your neck can fully relax during sleep hours. Side sleepers should look for a pillow that keeps the head horizontal and does not hang over the mattress. Those who sleep on their backs should use a pillow that keeps the head horizontal and does not bring the pear to the chest. Another alternative is to sleep without a pillow, to test what happens.

6- Avoid sleeping face down: Sleeping on your stomach can be hard on your spine and neck, since your neck is on its side all night. Try to sleep on your side or back. Even if you end up sleeping on your stomach during the early morning hours, you will be sleeping less time on your stomach than if you started sleeping like this.

7- Sleep 7 to 8 hours a day: Getting enough rest will allow your body to restore itself. Interruptions when waking up in the early morning or having difficulty falling asleep can exacerbate neck pain, because the body does not get enough hours of rest to heal itself.

8– A hot bath: a hot bath with Epsom salts or magnesium sulfate gives enough relief to take the pain out of the box. Another alternative is to prepare a bath with an infusion of 3 orange peels, 4 lettuce leaves and 2 tablespoons of honey, which must be mixed in half a liter of water and then boiled for 20 minutes. Then add it to the water. This relaxing bath will help a lot if your neck pain is caused by tension.

Exercises that help

Apply relaxation techniques. Since a large part of neck pain is caused by stress, it is necessary to learn techniques such as progressive relaxation or abdominal breathing.

For progressive relaxation, you should find a quiet place where no one can distract you. Then you should sit or lie down and close your eyes. Then, starting with your head and neck and working your way down your entire body, tense your muscles and then release the tension.

For abdominal breathing, sit still and take a deep breath letting the air flow down to your abdomen. Then exhale completely, gently squeezing your stomach. Take a deep breath in this way for several minutes.

¿When to consult?

Seek medical attention if any of the following symptoms are observed:

– Fever.

– Vomiting and nausea.

– Difficulty lowering the pear to the chest.

– Chest pain or pain in the left arm.

– dizziness

  • If it is difficult to sit, stand or walk, see a doctor immediately.

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