According to research, neck pain ranks as one of the top 5 disorders affecting Americans. It typically occurs in people with weakened neck muscles, which may be a result of looking at a screen for several hours a day with the wrong posture or even overuse. If you’ve got a stiff neck and you’re looking for a quick fix in 60 seconds or less, we’ve got answers to some of your questions.
Is there a way to “cure” a stiff neck in 60 seconds?
We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but unfortunately, there is no “cure” for a stiff neck in just 60 seconds. Long-term pain relief from a stiff neck requires professional treatment from a physical therapist or another medical specialist. While there may be a few different short-term relief options, it’s ultimately better to get to the root of your problem and come up with a long-term treatment plan. These long-term treatment plans can be created and carried out most effectively with the help of a professional physical therapist.
How long does neck stiffness last?
How long your neck pain or stiffness might last can depend on a number of factors. This includes the type of injury to the neck, the source of the injury and how you decide to treat it. If your stiffness is the result of a serious injury from sports, for example, it may take a little while longer to resolve itself, especially if left untreated. However, if your muscle stiffness or pain is induced because of some habits, it may take as long as it takes for you to break those habits.
It’s important to emphasize that the duration of neck stiffness can significantly vary, but if you take proactive steps to treat your pain at the root, you’re more likely to experience stiff neck relief more quickly. Just probably not in 60 seconds.
How can I achieve short-term pain relief for a stiff neck?
Despite there being no “cure” that can treat a stiff neck in around 60 seconds, there are several short-term pain relief options that you can do from the comfort of your own home:
- Gentle stretching — Engaging in gentle stretches is a good way to achieve short-term pain relief. Stretching exercises are a great way to not only reduce tension but increase strength and flexibility, limiting stiff neck pain.
- Regular movement — Make sure that you make a conscious effort to keep your neck mobile. This may seem counterintuitive if you’re experiencing stiffness, but it’s one way to loosen tense muscles and even prevent future stiff neck occurrences.
- Soft tissue manipulation — Performing a version of soft tissue manipulation on yourself can provide significant short-term relief. This involves using your fingers or an instrument to knead out the tension in your neck muscles. It may be painful at first but can sometimes help reduce pain from stiffness or spasming muscles. It won’t likely work in 60 seconds or less, but with repeated use, you’re likely to benefit.
If there’s no 60-second treatment for a stiff neck, can I find long-term relief?
One of the best options for those with a stiff neck is to seek the care of a physical therapist. Physical therapy is great for many reasons, and especially for the following:
- Soft tissue manipulation — Physical therapy is a great place to receive a form of treatment for stiff necks called soft tissue manipulation. Soft tissue manipulation is used for a variety of different conditions and, as mentioned above, generally loosens soft tissue to reduce muscle tension.
- Guided and regular movement — Physical therapists are great for providing encouraging and intentional instruction on what kinds of exercises you should be doing to strengthen your stiff neck muscles. They can also hold you accountable for performing them.
- Instruction on stretching to target the neck muscles — Therapists can also help you learn the right kinds of stretching exercises to reduce tension in your neck. They have extensive training on the ways that you can stretch to target muscle groups in your neck and any areas that may be aggravating your neck. For more related information, check out our blog post on factors that can cause muscle tension and how physical therapy can help.
- Guided physical rehabilitation — If you have an injury that is creating a recurring stiff neck situation, therapy can be a great way for you to start healing through a guided recovery program.
- Instruction on proper posture — Physical therapy can be especially great for those who have poor posture. Therapists can instruct you on the best posture techniques to improve your neck alignment and strengthen your neck muscles. They see lots of patients who may be suffering from a stiff neck due to working at a desk or looking at devices for several hours a day in a hunched position, and they know how to suggest improvements. Not only can they improve your daytime posture, but they can also provide suggestions for your sleep posture, which could be to blame for your stiff neck.
Alliance PTP is ready to help you find top-notch PT if you’re looking for stiff neck treatment
At Alliance Physical Therapy Partners, we’re proudly bringing together physical therapy practices across the country to help people get the high-quality PT they need. Want to see a physical therapist in person? Although there are no quick 60-second fixes for stiff neck pain, we can put you in touch with an Alliance PTP partner that’s close to you and that can help you treat the cause of your stiff neck.
Not keen on in-person PT sessions or not close to an Alliance PTP partner? No worries. We also offer effective and affordable virtual physical therapy through our Agile Virtual Physical Therapy platform.
Contact our team today so we can help you find the most effective physical therapy services for your injury or condition