The sudden discomfort and soreness in the back of your neck can hamper your daily activities, such as sleeping, working, or working out in the gym. But how does this happen, and why are you the only one facing the issue amongst your colleagues sitting for the same prolonged hours as you are?
Remember your mom telling you to sit up straight while watching TV, half lying and half seated? Well, moms know the best for us.
If you end up spending 8-10 hours sitting on the same seat with fewer breaks in between and then spend 1-2 hours at home surfing Instagram reels and watching “Lucifer” on Netflix, then it is obvious your posture will get affected, impacting your shoulders, neck, trapezius, and back muscles.
Our love for screens has become so toxic that it throws our bodies out of alignment, and like many health conditions, this is becoming a major everyday problem amongst the people of the US and outside the USA.
Let us understand the factors behind muscle stiffness and soreness and how to relieve it.
Common causes of stiff neck and shoulders
In addition to supporting your head, your neck shields the nerves that carry information throughout your body. The seven vertebrae that make up the upper region of your spine, also called the cervical spine, are part of this highly intricate and flexible body structure.
Since it performs many functions for healthy well-being, it is common for your neck to come under contact for discomfort or stress.
Here are some common factors that lead to stiffness of the neck and shoulders:
- Bad posture
- Text neck
- Carrying heavy loads or weight
- Wear and tear in the neck
- Sleeping on the stomach
- Pinched nerve
- Increased stress and anxiety
How do I relieve stiffness in the neck and shoulders?
Millions of Americans suffer from typical neck disorders that interfere with their ability to work, sleep, enjoy social activities, and engage in recreational activities. Thankfully, many ways to cure a stiff, painful neck include “home remedies” that promise immediate relief.
Let’s understand each of them separately:
Occasional neck pains, especially when you wake up, can take a toll on your happiness level. This can even worsen and restrict your regular activity, causing you to sit or lie in one position. This is where muscle relaxers are recommended. They may act as sedatives or stop the brain from receiving nerve pain signals. Try taking them if you are facing any such issues. Examples include acetaminophen, naproxen, and ibuprofen.
Massage for shoulder pain
Receiving a massage is a self-care method and a great way to reduce stiffness and pain in the shoulders, upper back, and neck. This general recovery massage targets difficult body regions, such as sore and tense muscles, stiff joints, and injury sites from the past. Just tell your massage therapist about the areas you are suffering pain in, and they will work on your stiff muscles to loosen them—and help them stay loose. Massages during the winter reduce the chances of developing shoulder and neck pain by easing aches and stiffness.
Neck stretches for stiff neck
There are many neck stretches that you can do by yourself at home or at your workplace to get rid of the stiffness in your neck. Stretching can help release tension and pain and stop it from happening again. Stretching slowly and softly while always taking a full breath in and out is crucial. While stretching is an excellent way to relieve sore necks, do not overstretch your muscles.
Correct your posture
Sometimes a muscle strain can happen because of bad posture. Constantly sitting at your desk or scrolling through your phone in an uneasy posture at home can impact your neck in a great way. Therefore, you must make sure that you have good posture. Thus, assessing your posture and everyday routines that may contribute to neck discomfort, such as spending prolonged amounts of time sitting in awkward positions when reading, watching TV, using a computer, or sleeping, can help prevent neck pain.
Correct your sleeping position
Your sleeping posture is incorrect if you wake up with persistent neck and shoulder pain. Occasionally, neck pain might result from a mattress that is too firm or unsupportive. A stiff neck might also result from using the wrong size or stiffness pillow. If you are sleeping on one side for too long or on your tummy, then this can also lead to pain in the shoulders radiating to the neck and arms. So it’s time you change your sleeping position.
In the winter, it’s common for people to forget to drink water. This causes dehydration, a common cause of stiffness and neck pain. Stiff muscles, ligaments, and tendons develop as a result of dehydration. This tightness can be unpleasant and makes it difficult to move your neck. Therefore, ensure you stay hydrated throughout the day by drinking water regularly.
Oiling on the affected areas
Sometimes, even simple things like oiling the affected areas can resolve your worry regarding muscle stiffness and soreness. You must look for oils with anti-inflammatory properties, such as lavender, peppermint, or jojoba oil. Then, utilizing circular movements, massage the oil into your shoulders and neck. While massaging the oil in, inhale deeply several times. Your muscles will get even more relaxed, relieving some of your pain.
Avoid lifting heavy loads for a few days
If your shoulders and neck are experiencing stiffness and soreness, it’s crucial to rest. It’s wise to take a few days to reduce your workload because lifting big objects may worsen the condition. You should only engage in cardio or leg workouts and refrain from performing any upper-body exercises if you are addicted to coming to the gym and don’t want to take a day off. You must, however, pay attention to your body and only do what it permits.
Listen to solfeggio frequency
Certain musical tones, known as “solfeggio frequencies,” offer therapeutic benefits. Some find them useful for pain treatment and relaxation, even though no scientific proof exists for these claims. Consider listening to solfeggio frequencies, especially when going to sleep, if you have shoulder or neck pain. Just get into a comfortable posture, pay attention to your breathing, and enjoy the music. It could take some time to see any effects, so exercise patience.
Visit a physiotherapist
If the soreness or stiffness does not disappear after a few days or weeks, you should schedule an appointment with your physiotherapist. Physiotherapists and specialists in musculoskeletal health have the expertise to assess your pain, identify the underlying cause, and develop a personalized treatment plan if you believe your neck pain has a more serious cause. In contrast to painkillers, which only cover up the discomfort, physical therapy treats the underlying cause of the problem to stop it from happening again.
It’s time we focus more on mindfulness and less on mindless texting and scrolling. If you want to stay healthy with no unwanted pain and unnecessary muscle soreness, it’s time to make cautious decisions regarding your health and body.
We often engage in unconscious, painful, subconscious behaviors that we are unaware of. You can make minor tweaks to improve the way your body functions. The only way to fix this is to take deliberate actions to improve our health.