The stiff neck can be due to some injury or muscle strain, but also to more serious problems, such as fibromyalgia.
The stiff neck can respond to various causes. However, we must be clear that it is an ailment that we cannot neglect and deserves attention. If the discomfort lasts beyond 5 days, it is advisable to consult a doctor.
Most of the time it is due to overload or poor movement. However, sometimes, if this stiff neck is accompanied by nausea, dizziness and a high fever, it could be due to a bacterial infection.
For this reason, we invite you to learn more about this type of musculoskeletal problem that we should not ignore.
Stiff neck: symptoms and possible origins.
First of all, we must know that the nape – the neck – is made up of multiple vertebrae that extend from the skull to the upper part of the torso. It is a complex, perfect and subtle composition of cervical discs, bones, ligaments and muscles that orchestrate movements.
However, in the face of any bad movement, position or in the presence of a virus or bacteria, it is possible that inflammation, discomfort and pain appear. Let’s now see what the possible causes and their symptoms may be.
The stiff neck is due, in most cases, to a muscle strain or sprain. It is something that we have all experienced-on occasion.
In addition, it has a lot to do with a specific structure: a muscle close to the scapula and that connects the cervical spine of the neck to the shoulders.
This muscle, in turn, is controlled by two cervical nerves. These also tend to become inflamed, and hence the feeling of stiffness and pain. Stress also tends to put a great strain on this area of the body.
It is important to bear in mind that the scapula and its associated structures are often affected by various actions that we perform incorrectly on a day-to-day basis without realizing it:
- Doing activities that require turning your head from one side to the other for many hours, such as working on the computer, doing a manual task, etc.
- Adopt bad posture when we are sleeping.
- The position we put ourselves in when we talk on the phone.
- Some accident or the intensive practice of certain sports.
Fibromyalgia patients often have incisive and localized pain at various strategic points in the body that, at first, can be mistaken for arthritis. However, it has nothing to do with this ailment. Fibromyalgia is primarily related to a highly focused tenderness in the neck, shoulder blades, hips, or knees. This area between the head and shoulders in a traumatic area where a great hypersensitivity is experienced.
Therefore, it is very common to get up in the morning with great stiffness in the neck without knowing the reason well. It would therefore be an indicator of fibromyalgia that we should take into account.
Meningitis or an infection.
The stiffness in the neck, as we have mentioned, is almost always due to overload or muscle strain. If so, the inconvenience will subside. After a week we will feel better and the mobility of the neck should be complete.
Now, if in addition to pain, we have a high fever, headache, nausea or vomiting and drowsiness, it is necessary that we go to the emergency room immediately.
It will be a professional who offers us the diagnosis. Although usually, it could be due to a bacterial infection that causes inflammation of the protective membranes of the brain and spinal cord, that is, meningitis.
The main indicator is always a high fever. This is a natural reaction of the body to eliminate a pathogen or infection.
Finally, it is also worth mentioning that sometimes, this stiff neck can also be related to problems in the spine. Be that as it may, it will always be the doctor who gives us the diagnosis.
Remedies for pain and stiff neck.
The first thing we should always do with any annoying and persistent symptoms is to go to the doctor. This will offer us the correct diagnosis and the corresponding treatment.
As we have seen, the stiff neck can be due to various causes, so the treatment will be different in each case. However, we have some tips that could help us reduce the discomfort caused by cervical stiffness:
- Do not force the movement of the area of the neck and shoulders during the first days. We will always try to exercise harmonic mobility while respecting the back-neck axis.
- As the pain subsides, we will be able to carry out small movements: left and right, very smoothly.
- Make use of hot-cold therapy in the neck area. Baths with lukewarm water are also very suitable.
- Rosemary essential oil rubs can also provide relief. Some studies suggest that this plant has anti-inflammatory properties, so it could be beneficial in alleviating joint pain.
- The analgesics and anti-inflammatories that the doctor prescribes will alleviate the pain, but we must not exceed their consumption and it is important to always follow the doctor’s guidelines.
- Ginger infusions may be beneficial. Various studies have shown its effectiveness in helping to reduce muscle pain.
Finally, it should be noted that the help of physiotherapists is exceptional in these cases. They will be the ones who advise on how to take care of postures and movements so as not to have this problem again.