If you are experiencing soreness in the neck area that is making it difficult to move your head to the sides, you have a stiff neck problem. Usually, a stiff neck brings along headache, neck pain, shoulder pain, and arm pain, but the main frustration lies in the part where you have to turn your entire body to look sideways or backward.Below are some common causes and symptoms of a stiff neck. If you experience any of the following, it is better to consult a doctor and get the issues diagnosed sooner, before it gets worse.
Muscle Strain and Sprain
The most common reason for having a stiff neck is muscle strain or some sprain in the soft tissues in the back and side of the neck.This usually happens due to improper sleep position, sports injury, a sudden impact that pushed the head sideways, poor posture or slouching when sitting in front of a computer for long hours. Neck muscle sprain can also happen because of any physical activity that requires turning the head to the sides frequently, such as swimming.
Cervical Spine Issues
Many of the cervical spine disorders can lead to stiff neck problems, such as having herniated disc, degenerative disc disorder, or cervical osteoarthritis. Spinal stenosis, as well as other degenerative issues and anatomical changes such as bone spurs can also have adverse effects on the neck and shoulder muscles, gradually leading to neck stiffness.
Meningitis or Infections
Though it is not that common for causing a stiff neck, infection was seen to be the potential reason in many cases. If you are experiencing sleep deprivation, high fever, headache, and nausea or vomiting, along with stiff neck, this can be a symptom of meningitis. This infection leads to the inflammation of the proactive membranes of the brain and the spinal cord. Other spine related infections such as meningococcal disease can also cause stiff neck.
Treating Stiff Neck in Time
Some stiff neck symptoms last for a couple of days or a week only, but even so, it is important to seek medical advice and treat the issue in due time. Neck stretching and muscle strengthening exercises can help a lot in easing neck stiffness. Improved posture and ergonomics would also help in preventing future stiff neck issues.