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The muscle most widely thought to be associated with the development of a stiff neck is the levator scapula muscle. Pain and stiffness in the neck is thus felt to be going down to the shoulder blades. Pain may often be associated with a headache.

Stress and poor posture are the two common factors for stiff neck and shoulders. Sleeping on unsuitable beds and mattresses, long hours on the computer, long phone calls without headsets, sitting in a chair with too high armrests and unsupported car seats – all of these factors may contribute to the development of stiff neck. It is advised to take short breaks and walk around for a while to take a break from the pressures of work and family commitments. It helps your body release muscular tension that gets built up during the day.

Right mattress and pillow

Human beings spend one third of their lives in bed therefore it is important to make sure that you sleep on the right mattress and pillow. The recent advancement in mattress technology has been the invention of memory foam. It is known to give appropriate support to the body at the right places and is of immense help in releasing the tension that we carry along with ourselves through the day.

Also, it is important to make sure that the pillow provides full support to your neck. For this, it is ideal to check that your head doesn’t tilt back while you sleep on your back, or is not below the spine level while you sleep on your side. The best pillow for preventing a stiff neck is the one with medium firmness and plump stuffing that has some bounce to it.


Massage by a massage therapist is an effective and fast relief method for stiff neck. You may even try gentle self massage with anti-inflammatory creams and balms that are available over the counter. While massaging, it is advised to be careful to not to strain while reaching back.

Heat therapy

Heat therapy provides relief from neck muscles stiffness and soreness associated with arthritis and poorly healed neck injuries. Moist heat permeates through the painful neck and shoulder tissues, and increases the blood circulation in the affected area. This relieves inflammation and provides relief from pain. Various methods of applying heat include neck wraps, hot water baths, hot water bottles, and electric heating pads. Putting a hot water bottle or a heating pad on your neck for 30 minutes three or four times each day provides relief to neck pain and stiffness.

Consulting a chiropractor for neck pain   

According to a chiropractor, misalignment in your spine or misplacement of joints puts extra pressure on the cervical nerves which innervate the muscles of the cervical spine. To correct any such misalignments, a chiropractor makes short thrusting actions to put the misplaced vertebrae in place. There may be a temporary bruised feeling at the end of this therapy and a number of sitting may be required to consolidate this adjustment.

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