- Exercise & Fitness
Five easy steps to ease your stiff neck
5 Steps to Ease Your Stiff Neck...
Have you ever woke up having stiff neck? Have you experienced the pain when turning your head on another side? Well, here are some good tips you can do to ease that stiffness. Please remember that these steps cannot be used for neck conditions that need medical attention. If you got stiff neck because you hold your neck in certain position for a long period of time, you slept in the wrong position, stiffness as a result of having too high pillow, and the likes, then it's safe to do the following:
- Get a warm towel or it would be better if you have a hot pack (gel based) at home as it is not as messy as a towel dipped in hot water. Leave the towel or hot pack on the stiffed part of your neck. Usually, you will have to leave it for about 5 minutes or until the heat disappeared. The warmth will help relax your neck muscles. If you're using a warm towel, it would be best if you have a bucket filled with hot water and about 2-3 pieces of towels so you can change it as often as needed. You can keep doing this until you feel a bit of ease from the pain. Just a reminder, do not overdo it as you might get skin burn especially if you're using a hot pack. And before applying the warm towel or hot pack on the affected part, make sure that you have a dry towel on it to prevent skin burn as well.
- Now, we're going to do some exercise. On the affected side, let's say, you can't move your head going to your left. Turn your head going to the right but prevent the movement by pushing it back to face your left using your hand. Keep this position for about 10 seconds, then relax for 5 seconds. You can ask someone to hold your head or you can use your own hand to do this.
- After that, move your head going to your left until you feel the pain. Once you felt the pain, go back to step 2. Just don't push it too hard as you might feel a lot of pain. Be patient and keep it easy. This exercise will help stretch your stiffed neck muscle.
- Now check if there's a progress then apply the hot pack or warm towel on the affected part once more to have it relaxed.
- Try to move your head from different directions - side to side, left to right, look down and look up, and rotation (circular motion). Moving your shoulders as well will help your neck muscles to relax.
When doing the exercises, it is important to remember not to force your muscle to do the movements to prevent any injury. When you feel pain, stop and apply warm compress to reduce the pain. If it persists, stop the whole process. The main goal is to make sure your muscle is relaxed and you feel comfortable all throughout. Of course, there will be a feeling of pain and slight discomfort, which is normal but it should be tolerable enough to go through with the exercises.
Remember, the purpose of these steps is to relax your muscle to reduce or eliminate the stiffness that is causing the pain.
If swelling exists, do not apply hot compress as it will exacerbate the condition. This exercise should be done for pain that is muscular in nature, and not applicable when there is injury.
It is still best to consult a doctor or to have your neck checked by a physiatrist or a physical therapist so you can be given professional attention.
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