Pains that stem from the neck comes in varying degrees, but no matter what caused it, any kind of stiff neck is painful. From twisting wrong while sleeping, to major muscle damage after whiplash, neck pain hurts not just the area affected, but can travel from the head to your tailbone since it is so interlinked with the spine. The only problem here is making sure you stretch or move it carefully to promote proper healing. Contrary to most advice, holding a stiff neck still, will only work to further contract muscles. The best way to feel better is to work through soreness with proper exercise and careful stretching. The following are five tips that will help you do just that.
Try Some Heat
One idea to help relax the muscles before stretching is to use heat. Use a hot pack, which should help relieve some of the pressure on your muscles after enough blood rushes to the area as the heat touches the skin. This does not mean you can stretch your neck out now, but it should loosen you up a bit. A hot shower can do the same thing. Before stretching or massage, make sure your neck feels warm and limber. A cold, unyielding muscle won’t heal if stretched, and in some cases, can even cause further damage.
It would be a good idea to use some acupuncture principles to give your neck a little relief, which should make it loose enough to stretch. What you want to do is use your thumb, and press the affected muscles. You want to hold for 30 seconds. Press hard enough to get a slight achy sensation but nothing more. You are going to be making blood rush to the area, which tends to help reduce inflammation. Keep in mind that this is meant to help with minor pain. Those who have major pain due to things like a car accident may have whiplash, which should be treated professionally. If you try something like this at home, make sure you have someone else do it, who can see where the affected muscles are and more accurately pinpoint and put pressure on them. You can find many acupuncture charts online for reference. If you don’t feel comfortable with this, be sure to find a professional who can walk you through what they are doing.
This is perhaps the easiest thing you can try since all you have to do is massage your neck just a bit. What you want to do is deal with the muscles that feel the worst. Try to massage carefully, though you can also just schedule a massage therapy appointment if you do not feel ready to do this on your own. The effect will be similar to some of the aforementioned tips, which should make it easy for you to stretch your neck. Be sure to start when your muscles feel warm. If you go to get a professional massage, be sure to tell them where the tender area is, and they can help guide you to positions and massages that will be more gentle to help instigate healing.
Sit up straight or stand straight. Move your neck to either side, and hold it where you feel tension for 30 seconds. Do not try to move your neck any more if you feel the tension. Try to do this every day as your neck will start to improve with enough time. This is the easiest way to stretch your neck without really doing anything. Be sure to keep your head aligned with your body as you pull these muscles and tendons to stay safe.
You should remain straight, no matter what exercise you are attempting to do. Keeping your neck straight reduces the chances of you stressing your neck too much and hurting a muscle that is already weak. Do your best to start everything that you are going to do with a straight neck to make sure that you are safe. Having a professional therapist on hand can make this whole process easier.
Hopefully, these tips will help ensure you can move your stiff neck safely. Be sure to talk to your health specialist if you have any questions to make sure you are trying everything to deal with this issue. If you feel more pain after doing these exercises, be sure to talk to your doctor and use over-the-counter painkillers when necessary.