Why is my neck stiff?

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Why is my neck stiff?

Neck stiffness typically occurs in one of two ways. Either all at once or gradually. Which do you think is more common? Which is more painful? It might surprise you that the most common type is not always the most painful, although both are often related to one another.

The least common type still might sound familiar. We wake up and think, “I slept wrong”. People wake up with their neck completely locked up and it is very painful to move. These events usually follow excessive stress, extra computer work, long drives and/or excessive alcohol. Rarely does the actual position become the source of the trauma unless you have fallen asleep on the couch. That instance does typically cause injury. These injuries usually last anywhere from three days to two weeks and may resolve on their own as the inflammation goes down. The underlying condition will still be present but may become asymptomatic. The joints of the neck and or upper back usually become “subluxated” in these scenarios. The joint moves out of proper alignment and causes 1. Stiffness, 2. Muscle Spasm/tightness, 3. Nerve Irritation/ “Pinch”. If these symptoms are ignored, it may lead to future arthritis and decreased health.

This leads us to the most common cause of stiffness in the neck: unaddressed cervical spine subluxations. These issues are not always painful. The tightness and muscle spasms commonly become thought of as “normal”. This thought allows the problem time to progress. Health problems that have been going on for a long time also take time to improve. In order for things to progress, healthy habits and actions must become part of your daily routine. Things such as exercise, stretching, functional mobility exercise, diet and visits to your chiropractor to have your spine checked for subluxations along with adjustments as needed. The most useful tool in preventing neck stiffness is the foresight to take action before it happens.

Be healthy and well,

 

Dr. Walsh

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