The neck is an important part of your body and it does a great job out of the challenging task it has throughout life. The neck is made up of tendons, bones, muscles and ligaments and all these work in conjunction to support the head which on an average weighs around 11 pounds and also to move in different directions. 

One of the common reasons people shop for a neck pillow online is to provide the much-needed support for the neck. A stiff neck happens when the muscles become tense or get strained or stiffness can also happen if the vertebrae are damaged.

Causes of a stiff neck

Strain: One of the reasons for a stiff can be due to an injury or a vehicular accident. Minor strains can also happen due to stress, sitting in the wrong posture for a long period on a couch or a chair, sleeping in a position that strains the neck, looking intensely at an object like a cell phone all the time and much more.  If you are a frequent traveller then invest in a travel neck pillow that will support the neck and head and help you sleep comfortably in a car, train or an airplane. 

Injury: Neck is a vulnerable part of the body when a person falls accidentally or while playing sports as the muscles have to move out of the normal range. If the neck bone is injured it can also damage the spinal cord. 

Whiplash: This is a neck injury that happens when an object hits you from behind. Usually, it happens when your car is hit from behind and the neck jerk forward and back like a whip. Apart from pain in the neck, there may be pain, numbness or tingling in the arms or upper back. 

Text neck: It is pain or stiffness in the neck that happens due to being hunched over something for a long time. When a person hunches over a mobile, or laptop for a long time it can strain the tendons and muscles. 

Arthritis: Arthritis of the neck or cervical spondylosis can also result in stiffness and pain in the neck. It can get aggravated when a person with this condition sits in the same position for an excessive amount of time. 

Treating a stiff neck:

Minor stiffness in the neck can be treated by the following:

  • Ice pack: A minor strain or inflammation can be treated using an ice pack. Due to the numbing effect ice creates it reduces pain. It is the most effective way to treat neck pain in the first due days following an injury when the swelling is high. Ensure you take breaks of 30 minutes after applying it for 20 minutes. 
  • Stretching: Many exercises can bring pain relief. Slowly move the neck muscles from side to side and also do a shoulder roll from backwards to forward. If these stretches cause pain stop it. 
  • Correct your posture: Pay close attention to your sitting and standing posture. The neck, back, and shoulders should all be in-line all through the day.
  • Check sleep environment: If you often wake up from sleep having a stiff neck and shoulders it can be because the mattress is too firm or not giving you enough support. The other reason for neck pain can be due to your pillow not having the right loft or firmness. A neck support pillow helps in aligning the back, neck, and head in the proper position. Sleep experts Wakefit recommends having a medium-soft pillow which is neither too high nor too flat that supports the neck and head as the ideal sleeping pillow.

Normally, a stiff neck can be cured at home but serious injuries may need medical intervention.