Home Bones, Joints and MusclesNeck injuries and diseases What Causes Stiff Neck and How to Relieve It

What Causes Stiff Neck and How to Relieve It

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

The neck is one of the most relevant structures of our body, and despite this, it is much more unprotected than others. It contains significant vascular and nervous structures, supports the head, and gives way to fundamental structures for life, such as the respiratory and digestive systems.

When we feel a stiff neck, it alters us so much. Even without realizing it, it complicates our well-being a lot. Different reasons can cause numbness, such as: adopting bad posture, problems with the jaw joint, osteoarthritis, infections, and even tumors.

We invite you to read this article by FastlyHeal. You will find the leading causes of stiff neck and the most effective treatments to relieve it.

Stiff neck from contracture

One of the most common causes of a stiff neck is a contracture of the cervical and dorsal muscles. These muscles are powerful and react by contracting significantly to stress, exposure to cold, poor posture, or alterations in the surrounding joints.

Jaw joint dysfunction

It is recurrent to see people who suffer from this disorder come to the consultation. In addition to cervical contracture, they may suffer:

  • Headaches.
  • Pain in the neck.
  • Itchy ears
  • Earache.
  • Noise in the joint in front of the ear.
  • Limited or painful mouth opening.
  • Locked jaw.

Most of the time, TMJ problems have to do with the contracture of the chewing muscles. Unable to release tension in any other way, these muscles contract strongly and cause the neck to contract later.

What to do?

It is essential to consult with a professional specialized in the subject. Usually, there are TMJ dentists who can help you discover the cause and the best treatment for your case. This may consist of using a muscle relaxation plate, orthodontics, kinesiotherapy, and surgery may be required in very few cases.

Physical exercise is always a recommendation since releasing tensions in another way may be necessary.

Bad postures

It is widespread to adopt wrong positions at different times of our day. Likely, you often ignore your body while sitting or sitting, working, using electronic devices, straining, or even adopting positions when sleeping. Those cause contractures.

This is why being mindful of your body is essential as the day goes by. On the other hand, paying attention to what we do and how we do it is an excellent way to quiet the mind, promote concentration, and generate well-being.

Excessive muscle use

Some sports practices or the muscular overload that can occur with exertion may generate contractures in the neck.

The repeated use of specific muscles, lack of rest, or proper elongation can cause muscle and tendon problems that can manifest with pain, stiffness, and even inflammation.

Neck trauma

Some stiffness likely appears if you have suffered a blow to the neck or a car accident where your body sustained whiplash. Your body knows that it is safer to be still and maintains muscle contracture.

Do not delay the medical consultation if this is your case because there may be severe injuries after a blow to the neck.

Lack of elasticity

Over the years, joints, ligaments, and muscles can become tighter if they are not stretched. In turn, the lack of correct hydration can make this problem worse.

The solution comes hand in hand with frequent stretching work, good nutrition, and hydration.

Incorporating healthy oils into the diet (such as ghee or clarified butter) and massaging the sore area with oils can help.

Cefalea tensional

It is a type of headache produced by the muscles’ contracture attached to the skull, such as the frontal, occipital, and chewing muscles.

It is usually associated with problems in the jaw joint and presents as follows:

  • Frequent headache
  • Intense pain.
  • It was a sensation of something pressing on the head as if a tape were compressing it.
  • Sickness.
  • Neck stiffness.

It is usually related to stress and poor handling of emotions, overload of tensions, and responsibilities.

What to do?

These headaches often recur constantly, and if you cover this warning in your body with pain relievers, it’s hard to fix.

Therefore, it is critical to identify the cause of the problem, better manage your emotions and understand why you suffer from stress.

Improving your sleep, doing physical activity, eating better, and rethinking your habits are some measures that can lead you to the well-being you need.

Stiffness due to spinal joint problems

Sometimes a stiff neck is not just a product of a muscle disorder. When the neck joints are affected, such as osteoarthritis, it is widespread for pain and numbness to occur.

The rectification of the spine, that is, the loss of its normal curvature is a problem that is seen very often. In that case, there may also be a muscular influence on the spine.

Osteoarthritis is a problem that should also be paid attention to. Although it is considered chronic and progressive, there are different measures you can take to improve it:

  • Perform sesame oil massages. This, by providing heat, improves circulation in the area, in muscles and joints, favoring their nutrition and hydration.
  • Consumption of ghee or clarified butter. You will get great benefits in these and your joints if you consume them regularly.
  • Move – the less you do it, the stiffer you will notice.
  • Take good postures. Do not favor bad postures that can also generate contractures within what your body allows.

Stiff neck from neurological problems

In some degenerative neurological diseases, such as Parkinson’sthe stiffness is progressive. Movement with tremors can be affected, and other symptoms appear, such as slow movements and loss of smell or balance.

Although it is considered that nerve degeneration is progressive and impossible to limit more than with medication, changes in habits are essential to reverse this type of process. Reviewing the diet, sleeping, hydration, and exercise habits is crucial for directing the patient towards health.

Other neurological diseases in which stiffness may occur are cerebrovascular accidents (due to problems in the arrival of blood to the brain) or spastic cerebral palsy. Both cases must be studied to improve health conditions.


When you experience dizziness or vertigo, your nervous system realizes that moving your head worsens symptoms. That is why a cervical contracture appears.

Sometimes this type of neck stiffness can be quite severe, and you may even notice it even more than dizziness. That is why many people refer to dizziness contractures in the muscles of the cervical region. They believe that the feeling of imbalance is due to the muscle being contracted, but in reality, vertigo begins with a problem in the inner ears or central nervous system.

This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor if you present any condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to What causes stiff neck and how to relieve it, we recommend that you enter our Bones, Joints, and Muscles category.

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