We are familiar with neck stiffness or a crick. This can prevent us from comfortably moving the head all around. A crick can cause the spine, and shoulders to feel rigid and stressed from not being able to turn around and could cause an upper or low-back strain from having to turn the whole body to look back or even just to the side. Chiropractic treatment is available and will help, along with some self-care therapies that can be done at home.
Crick in the Neck vs. Neck Stiffness
A crick in the neck is the same as a stiff neck. It develops when the neck muscles, tendons, and ligaments become strained/sprained. Most strains and sprains are minor but do cause inflammation/swelling of the neckâ€™s soft tissues, which results in stiffness and, at times muscle spasms.
Cricks in the neck are uncomfortable, but not necessarily painful. If there is a pre-existing neck condition or injuries like whiplash the crick and stiffness could increase the uncomfortableness and generate pain.
The most common symptoms include:
- Neck stiffness
- Muscle stiffness
- Reduced mobility affecting the neckâ€™s range of motion
- A popping sensation when trying to turn or tilt the head
Causes of a stiff neck or crick
There are different causes of neck stiffness. It can be a combination of things you can control and some you canâ€™t.
Possible causes that you can control:
- Poor posture working either sitting or standing for several hours without breaks or stretching.
- Sleeping in a position that puts the neck in an awkward position or using a pillow that does not support the neck when sleeping.
- Constantly looking down at a cell phone or tablet.
- Stress and emotional tension can cause involuntarily tightening of the neck muscles and shoulders.
- Heavy labor along with incorrect lifting techniques.
- Reaching or having to look up/overhead for several hours like when painting a ceiling.
Possible causes that are out of your control:
- Whiplash injury
- Sports-injuries like a football stinger
- Aging muscles and bones
Around 13% of cases the stiffness, and pain are caused by separate cervical spinal conditions, like:
- Cervical herniated disc
- Cervical spinal stenosis
- Spinal fracture
- Spondylosis (spinal osteoarthritis)
Usually, a crick in the neck will go away within a few days without the need to visit a doctor or chiropractor. There are home remedies that can help alleviate neck stiffness.
Cold and heat therapy
Cold therapy reduces the swelling of soft tissues, like muscles and ligaments, while heat soothes the tightness by boosting blood circulation to the affected area. There are different products available that can deliver cold or heat to the neck and upper back.
- Apply ice for 15 minutes each hour.
- Apply heat therapy like a heating pad for 15 minutes every 2 or 3 hours.
Over-the-counter anti-inflammation medicines
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen and naproxen can help relieve inflammation and pain.
Cervical stretches and exercises can:
- Ease muscular tension
- Muscle spasms
- Strengthen muscles
- Improve neck flexibility
- Improve range of motion
Because neck stiffness can be linked to lifestyle choices, individuals may find that they occur repeatedly. Simple neck stretches, chiropractic treatment, using a supportive pillow, and taking frequent breaks at your job can help prevent neck stiffness and keep you moving. These professionals have undergone extensive training in their field and are capable of treating neck pain effectively. So if you or a loved one are experiencing neck pain, give us a call. Weâ€™re ready to help!
Chiropractic Care Neck Pain Treatment
The information herein on "Neck Stiffness, Crick in the Neck and Chiropractic El Paso, Texas" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified health care professional.
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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
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