Relieving a Stiff Neck

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You never realize how much you move your neck until you can’t.

I’ve heard that with the advent of personal computers and smartphones, the general frequency of neck problems has risen in the world’s populace. Not sure how accurate that is, though it does make sense; you spend all day staring at a single spot, and you’re gonna get lactic acid building up in your neck joints, just like your arms and legs. Still, as much as we’ve championed good posture here, sometimes, you just end up with a crick in your neck anyway. It’s a pain in the, well, you know, but there are ways to deal with it.

The first thing you should try is some simple stretching. As satisfying as it admittedly is, you don’t actually want to crack your neck with a sudden, jerking movement, or else you might hurt yourself. You need a quick routine of slow, smooth stretches and rolls to carefully work your neck back into the proper position. First, slowly roll your shoulders backward, then forward, in a circular motion. Second, shift your arms back to push your shoulder blades toward each other. Take it slow, release after a few seconds, then go again. Finally, carefully turn your head side-to-side. With any luck, you should hear that pop you’re hoping for.

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If stretching doesn’t do the trick, you may need a bit of light medical aid. Try either a heating pad or a warm towel. Ice works too, though heat tends to be a little better for muscular aches. Just place the heat on the problem spot and try not to move for a little while. The pain should fade eventually.

A stiff, cricked neck is usually the result of bad posture or weird sleeping positions, and tends to go away within a day. If the pain specifically started after an injury or accident, or it’s radiating downward to your other extremities, you may want to call your doctor.