Neck pain or Stiffness: 4 ways to relieve it | Everyday Science

Neck Pain or Stiffness: 4 ways to relieve it


Poor posture, excess stress, and fatigue can be some of the reasons why we feel stiffness or neck pain. Tips and ways to alleviate them.

Neck and upper back pain causes discomfort and can also be a symptom of other types of ailments.


Stiffness or shoulder pain is a different word used for neck and upper back pain. Eight out of 10 people will suffer from neck pain or stiffness at some point in their life. Your neck is made up of vertebrae that elongate from the skull to the upper torso. The bones, ligaments, and muscles of the neck support your head and allow it for motion. Any abnormalities, poor postures, or injury can cause neck pain or stiffness.

80% of people suffer from neck or upper back pain or stiffness in their life. It is due to poor sleeping postures, excess stress, or fatigue. Sometimes, neck pain is caused by injury from a fall or sports injury.

Most of the time, stiffness isn’t a big deal and can be relieved within a week. But in some cases, people continue to suffer from upper back pain. This long-term pain is called acute pain. If your neck or upper back pain increases with time, or the pain is spreading to arms or legs seek the advice of a doctor or physical therapist on immediate effects.


Upper back pain might be a symptom of heart attack, but it often presents with other symptoms of a heart attack like shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, sweating, jaw or arm pain. If you have stiffness along with these symptoms of heart attack, call an ambulance or go to emergency immediately.    

Causes of Neck Pain or Stiffness:

Neck pain causes discomfort in the shoulders and back. Both neck and upper back pain can also occur from excess stress or fatigue. But if the pain persists, it may be advisable to see a doctor because it may indicate other problems such as herniated disc, osteomyelitis, or an infection. Neck and upper back pain is caused by other different reasons such as:

  • Poor Posture
  • Working at a desk for too long without changing positions
  • Sleeping in a bad position
  • Injury

When to see a doctor

If you’ve been in a fall or injured your neck, or when neck pain continues for more than a week, consult with your doctor or physical therapist. You should also see a doctor in the following situations.

  • Acute stiffness without any cause
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Trouble breathing
  • Inability to move your head or arms
  • Weakness
  • Numbness
  • Inabilities to move

Also Read: 6 Best Foods to Boost Your Brain and Memory

How to relieve neck pain or stiffness:

We tell you here some home remedies to relieve neck and back pain. If you have minor pain, try these simple tips to get rid of it, but again we’re telling you if you’ve acute neck or upper back pain, consult a doctor as soon as possible.

1.Take care of physical posture

First of all, we must pay attention to the way we walk, avoid curved positions or carry weight from the shoulders forward. Ideally, straighten your back, elevate your head, and stretch your neck.

You also have to take care of the position of sleep; the best posture is on your back with a pillow under the knees and another under the lumbar. Use special neck pillows for sleep.

2. Hot compresses

The compresses are ideal for severe neck and back pain.

It causes the increased blood circulation in the region by relaxing the neck muscles. A towel is wetted and placed in a sealable plastic bag. It is then microwaved for three minutes.

In the case that there is no microwave, it can be soaked with hot water with the care that does not cause burns. The bag should be closed and wrapped in another dry towel and applied for 20 minutes. To further relieve, pain-relieving essential oils such as Indian clove oil, lavender oil, or peppermint oil can be placed in the water on the towel that comes into contact with the skin.

There are also pads with seeds that help reduce inflammation in the area. These pads can also be heated to position them in the pain area. The same with hot water bottles, which are less manipulable but in case of extreme pain, they are also useful.     

3. Massages

The massages can be done with some analgesic ointment.

From the compress, the ideal is to receive a massage on the neck and the back area with analgesic and anti-inflammatory ointments that are now available for sale in any pharmacy and that specifically deal with neck pain and contractures. Ideally, wet your fingers with the cream or oil and press the sore areas with your fingertips in circular motions for two minutes. In this way, the absorption of the ointment and the relaxation of the muscles are promoted.

4. Stretching exercises

Stretching is crucial to loosening the neck.

They allow pain relief and help reduce tension in the neck muscles. With the hand, the neck should be stretched to the right, left, forward, and backward sides; each of the movements should be performed for 30 seconds. These exercises can be done every day to increase muscle strength and endurance and thus prevent pain from recurring.

Also Read: Top Exercises and Physical Activities for Mental Health

Take a pain reliever

If all the previous steps have been carried out and the neck and back pain does not subside, you can take some medicine that helps relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Some of them are those that have paracetamol or ibuprofen, or also muscle relaxants that help reduce muscle tension.

That’s our home remedies for neck pain. Make an appointment with your doctor if your neck pain isn’t improving with the above home treatments.

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