Your eyes blink open in the morning. You’re ready to start the day. But first, coffee. No problem, you’ll just roll over really quick and…ugh. Your neck is stiffer than a whiskey on the rocks again.
Neck stiffness has ruined many people’s day. Not only does neck discomfort increase the likelihood of having a headache, but it can make it harder for you do to the things you need to do.
Fortunately, you don’t have to live like this.
We have some tips on how to fix a stiff neck. From targeted stretching to investing in a copper mattress, let’s talk about how to get some relief for your neck and shoulder pain. But first, do you know what is causing your pain in the first place?
Common Causes of Stiff Neck Pain
The reason you have a pain in your neck might be different than why your partner, friend, or colleague has one. Most ankles are sore because they get rolled/twisted, but necks are more complicated.
You can have neck stiffness because of an underlying health issue. However, acute injuries and bad habits could also be the source.
If you recognize any of these things in your life, you may have just targeted the reason you wake up every day feeling like you just slept with a brick on your neck.
Do you have a stiff neck on one side? This could be because of a strain caused by repeated motion. This problem happens more often than you might think. You could be breathing to the side during swimming. Or maybe you’re turning your head 20 times a day to talk to your co-worker.
No matter the cause, a repeated motion injury or problem can cause serious discomfort as it distresses your muscles over time.
Another common reason for neck stiffness is an injury. Any time your head has recently been jostled from side to side playing sports or being in an accident – neck pain may not be far behind.
Some injuries, like whiplash after a car accident, have delayed symptoms. You may feel fine for a week and then wake up one morning unable to bend your neck. Start treating your neck as soon as you can.
Sometimes the reason for neck pain and discomfort is not physical. Emotional stress can lead to neck stiffness. When you’re worried about meeting a deadline or caring for a sick parent, you unconsciously tighten up and your stiff shoulders could translate to a sore neck.
Soreness caused by stress is harder to treat than a physical injury, in some cases. You may not be able to eliminate the cause of your stress from your life. We’ve all been there. Try to find time to stretch, meditate, and consciously unwind as often as you can.
Are your shoulders slouched forward when you’re typing at work? Do you sit awkwardly in your armchair at home? Sometimes having bad posture over time stiffens up your neck.
Even bad back posture can creep its way up your spine until you feel the discomfort in your neck. Do your body right and sit upright in chairs, stretch before and after exercise, and do some downward dog when you feel your spine get tight.
Awkward Sleeping Position
Poor sleeping posture is a huge culprit when it comes to neck stiffness. If your pillow is too flat or too tall, for instance, your neck ends up at a tight angle all night. Likewise, a mattress with too little support could wreak havoc on your spine alignment.
The ideal sleeping position is one in which your neck is fully supported, and your spine is as straight as possible.
Conditions in the Cervical Spine
The part of your vertebral column in your neck is called the cervical spine. If you have a herniated disk or pinched nerve in this part of your spine, you will have serious neck pain. Osteoarthritis is also a possible underlying cause of neck stiffness and pain.
Tips for Relieving Neck Stiffness
Once you have figured out the cause of your soreness, it’s time to find a solution.
Figuring out how to get rid of a stiff neck could involve a bit of trial and error. In other words, if you try one of these solutions and still have a stiff neck – don’t take to the fainting couch just yet.
When in doubt, consult with your general physician or another medical professional to make sure the treatment you try is safe and won’t make your neck stiffness worse.
Heat and Cold Treatments
A simple hot and cold treatment routine can make a world of difference for neck soreness. For the first day or so after your neck stiffness crops up, apply an ice pack to reduce the local swelling. After that, a warm or hot compress draws blood to the area and can help your healing.
With the approval of your doctor, some gentle stretching is often a game-changer for fixing a stiff neck. Some ideas are gently pulling your head to the right, and then the left while looking forward.
You may also want to put one arm on the top of your head and then push your head down while straightening your shoulders. Remember to do all stretches slowly, and don’t push your neck in any direction past the point of serious discomfort.
Almost nothing feels as good as a massage when your muscles are sore and stiff. A professional massage can really help if your neck is kicking your butt. Or, just coax your partner or friend into giving you a gentle neck and shoulder massage. You can pay in gratitude.
Over the Counter Meds
Some OTC medications, mainly ibuprofen, are great at reducing inflammation. While other meds just trick your brain into thinking the pain stopped, ibuprofen actually targets any swelling.
OTC meds are good for occasional use, but if you are having daily neck stiffness, we suggest integrating other habit changes and treatments into your routine.
Better Sleep Habits
Sleeping on your stomach is a bad idea if you have chronic neck soreness. It forces your head back and doesn’t allow you to extend your neck while you sleep.
Instead, try sleeping on your side or back with a full pillow. Avoid falling asleep on the couch or in an armchair every night – it’s probably not doing your neck any favors. Side sleepers may benefit from a second pillow between their knees to keep their spine aligned. Sleep on your back? Prop up your knees with a second pillow to stop your back from drooping.
Craning your neck forward to see your computer screen every day can also lead to chronic stiffness. How about getting a pair of reading glasses instead? Make sure you sit on a chair with a tall back whenever possible. Backless benches look cute in the catalog but working on one all day is bound to lead to poor posture, which leads to back and neck woes.
Quality Pillow and Mattress
Finally, when was the last time you upgraded your bed? For some people, relieving a stiff neck is as simple as throwing away their pillow and old mattress. A memory foam copper pillow could be a game–changer. The Layla Memory Foam Pillow conforms to your head and neck – and you can take out some of the filler until it’s the perfect height. Copper also pulls heat away from your head during the night.
Memory foam mattresses and toppers also improve your overall sleep posture and could help you avoid a morning crick.
Layla Sleep for Less Morning Soreness
You’re waking up every day with a sore neck and a bad attitude. We want a better life for you! Check out the Layla Mattress, which offers two sides. Whether you want a firm or soft mattress, our copper-infused memory foam bed has a side that speaks to your sleep sensibilities.
Our copper-infused pillow and mattress topper also improve your bedding set up. Before you know it, you could be sleeping on a cloud and waking up with a full range of motion again! So long, neck stiffness.