Stiffness in the neck can be due to several reasons including; disease related to the cervical spine or structure of the neck. Our cervical spine contains vertebrae; the building blocks of the spine. Along with muscles, ligaments, and tendons. All of them work together to provide support to the cervical spine and the head. They also allow the neck to move in different directions. A stiff neck causes symptoms like headache, shoulder pain, or/and shoulder stiffness. A stiff neck can also be a symptom of meningitis accompanied by fever and headache. If one of the neck muscles strains, or is injured it can result in a stiff neck.
Stiff Neck Causes:
Causes of the stiff neck are mostly associated with overused muscles and strains. Neck stiffness can cause pain ranging from mild to severe making it difficult to move the head. Cervicogenic headache with a stiff neck is also common. Severe neck pain and stiffness may have several causes.
Common Stiff Neck causes:
Some of the most common causes of neck pain and stiffness include the following:
Even a minor strain to the neck can result in neck stiffness. This strain to the neck can occur due to:
- Sleeping in the incorrect position
- Sitting for prolonged periods of time; say on a desk
- The posture while using mobile phones, i.e., looking down.
- Sports injury or any other injury/fall
- Slouching while using a laptop or mobile phone
Arthritis or cervical spondylosis of the neck can also cause stiffness. This pain in the neck and stiffness may reduce/get better when lying down. Arthritis pain can worsen while performing activities like driving or sitting for using the computer.
3. Whiplash injury:
Whiplash is an injury to the cervical spine due to sudden head jerk movement (forward and backward). Pain and neck stiffness are symptoms of whiplash injury. This injury is to the muscles, tendons, bones, or ligaments of the neck (can be all). Other common symptoms of whiplash injury include the following:
- Trouble concentrating
- Back pain
- Shoulder pain
- Memory loss
Some other common causes of neck stiffness include the following:
- Sport injuries
- Excessive stress
- Poor sleeping posture
Uncommon stiff neck causes:
Several uncommon conditions related to the spine can result in neck stiffness. These causes can include:
– Cervical Herniated Disc:
A cervical herniated disc is a spine-related condition in which the inner part of the disc slips out breaking down the outer layer of the disc. This puts excessive pressure on the nerves, compression as well as inflammation in the tissues nearby.
– Degenerative disc disorder:
In this spine-related condition, over time the intervertebral discs lose water content and height. This increases the pressure on the joints, nerves, ligaments, and muscles. Therefore, cervical degenerative disc results in neck stiffness and pain.
– Cervical spinal stenosis:
Cervical spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the cervical spine. This compresses the spinal nerves which can result in other problems like neck pain and stiffness.
– Pinched nerves:
Pinched nerves in the cervical spine can be due to any condition including spondylosis and slipped disc. These conditions can lead to pain and stiffness in the neck. Moreover, the pain can also extend to the arms.
When to seek medical attention?
Your poor posture, improper sleeping position, or an injury to the cervical spine can also be the reason behind neck stiffness. There are several home remedies and stiff neck treatment options. In case you don’t know the cause of your neck stiffness, consult your healthcare physician. KKT Orthopedic Spine Center offers a non-surgical treatment involving personalized soundwave frequencies. KKT has 8 operational centers across Pakistan and centers in about 13 countries worldwide.
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