ACUTE NECK PAIN?

Neck pain or a stiff neck is a common problem and generally nothing to worry about.

The pain and stiffness usually gets better after a few days or weeks, and is rarely a sign of a more serious problem.

You can get a painful or stiff neck if you sleep in an awkward position, use a computer for a prolonged period of time, or strain a muscle because of bad posture.

Anxiety and stress can also sometimes cause tension in your neck muscles, which can lead to pain in your neck.

You can normally manage your symptoms at home by following the advice below.

Managing neck pain at home

For most of the types of neck pain described above, the advice is generally the same: carry on with your normal daily activities, keep active, and take painkillers to relieve the symptoms. You can also take these steps to manage your pain:

  • Take regular doses of paracetamol, ibuprofen, or a combination of the two, to control pain – ibuprofen gel can be rubbed on to your neck as an alternative to taking tablets (always follow the instructions that come with the medication)
  • Try holding a hot water bottle or heat pack to your neck – this can help reduce the pain and any muscle spasms, although some people find cold packs offer better relief
  • Sleep on a low, firm pillow at night – using too many pillows may force your neck to bend unnaturally
    check your posture – bad posture can aggravate the pain, and it may have caused it in the first place
  • Avoid wearing a neck collar – there is no evidence to suggest wearing a neck collar will help to heal your neck, and it’s generally better to keep your neck mobile
  • Avoid driving if you find it difficult to turn your head – this may prevent you being able to view traffic
  • If your neck is stiff or twisted, try some neck exercises – gently tense your neck muscles as you tilt your head up and down and from side to side, and as you carefully twist your neck from left to right; these exercises will help strengthen your neck muscles and improve your range of movement

What causes neck pain and stiffness

A twisted or locked neck

Some people suddenly wake up one morning to find their neck twisted to one side and stuck in that position. This is known as acute torticollis and is caused by injury to the neck muscles.

The exact cause of acute torticollis is unknown, but it may be caused by bad posture, sleeping without adequate neck support, or carrying heavy unbalanced loads (for example, carrying a heavy bag with one arm).

Acute torticollis can take up to a week to get better, but it usually only lasts 24 to 48 hours.


Please note -
These are general exercises, seek advice if you are unsure.

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