Using home remedies for a stiff neck is a simple and natural way to get pain relief, release muscle tightness and enable mobility of the neck and surrounding muscles. While the stiff neck is nothing to worry about, it can hinder your daily activities and make it difficult to move from one side to the other. Below, learn how to use home remedies to treat stiff neck and shoulder pain.
Most people experience neck stiffness at one time in their lifetime. Neck stiffness is characterized by sore muscles and the inability to move your head either side. The pain may spread to the shoulders, upper back or arms. It may also cause a headache and difficulty in swallowing. The most common cause of neck pain is muscle strain or tension. Daily activities that can cause neck pain include:
- A stiff neck is usually nothing to worry about, in rare cases, it can be a sign of something serious. Medical conditions which may cause neck stiffness include: Bending forward at the desk for long
- Poor posture while reading or watching TV
- Sleeping in an uncomfortable position with a pillow that is too high or too flat
- Straining muscles while exercising the upper body muscles
- Raptured disk
- Osteoporosis causing small fractures to the spine
- Spinal stenosis
- Infections of the spine-osteomyelitis, abscess
- Cancer that involves the spine
Best Home Remedies for Stiff Neck
If not treated promptly, neck stiffness may cause a lot of discomfort besides the pain. Try these home remedies for the stiff neck to relax sore muscles and relieve pain fast.
Epsom Salt Treatment
Epsom salt is a good pain reliever that works by relaxing muscles and relieving soreness from strains and exertion. Epsom salt contains high magnesium content that promotes the release of lactic acid from the muscles.
- Buy Epsom salt from your local pharmacy
- Add 2-4 cups of Epsom salt into a full bath with warm water
- Swirl with your hand to mix
- Soak in this bath for 15-20 minutes or at least until the water cools off
- If you having trouble reaching to your neck, soak a towel in the Epsom salt bath and apply it directly to the neck until it cools off
Soaking your body in Epsom salt bath can help relax sore muscles all over your body. Wash your skin as usual and rinse off with clean water. Recommendation– keep a glass of water or fresh juice nearby to refresh and replace fluid as you take your Epsom salt bath.
Caution: Avoid Epsom salt baths if you have high blood pressure or diabetes.
Apple Cider Vinegar
ACV is a strong anti-inflammatory and one of the simplest and most effective home remedies for stiff neck. It relieves pain that comes with stiff neck fast.
- Soak a washcloth in apple cider vinegar
- Apply it directly to your neck and let it sit 15 minutes
- Do this twice daily until the pain is all gone
- Alternatively, add 2 cups of ACV in a warm bath and soak in it for 20 minutes
Apple cider is so effective that it provides relief with one treatment.
Turmeric Cure for Stiff Neck
Turmeric is a popular kitchen ingredient that is used in curries for its taste and color. It is also used as a natural medicine to relieve pain and inflammation. Turmeric is known for its strong anti-inflammatory properties. The active ingredient curcumin can suppress COX1 and COX2 pain receptors.
- Make a turmeric drink by adding one teaspoon of turmeric powder in a glass of milk
- Heat it on low heat for 5 minutes
- Add a little honey and allow it to cool
- Drink this twice daily until the neck stiffness and pain is gone
Add turmeric into your cooking in place of salt and pepper for added benefits. Turmeric is generally safe but can cause indigestion. Avoid taking turmeric if you have gall bladder diseases.
Cayenne Pepper Remedy
Cayenne pepper has capsaicin– a powerful pain reliever. It can be used topically to relieve pain and muscle soreness in a stiff neck. This is a good remedy if you have severe pain that is radiating to the head shoulders and upper back.
- Get a capsaicin cream and rub it gently on the neck to release tight neck muscle and relieve pain
- Mix one teaspoon of cayenne pepper with two teaspoons of olive oil. Mix it well and gently apply it to the neck are twice daily
Ginger to Relieve Sore Neck Pain from Sleeping
Ginger has natural anti-inflammatory properties- it also improves blood flow to the affected area helping to reduce pain from sleeping poorly and relax muscles.
- Add half a teaspoon of ginger powder to a glass of water and drink it three times daily till there is a relief
- Make ginger tea, by adding small pieces of ginger to boiling water, steep for ten minutes and strain. Add honey and lemon to the taster. Drink this tea three times daily to relieve neck stiffness
- Alternatively, wrap three teaspoons of freshly grated ginger in a piece of cheesecloth. Place it in hot water, allow it to cool and place it on the neck for 15 minutes. Do this several times in the day till there is a relief
The recommended dose of ginger is 500-1000 milligrams per day.
Castor oil can be used topically in massages to relieve neck pain. It helps to ease up tense neck muscles and improve mobility of the neck muscles.
- Take a hot relaxing shower
- Take 2 tablespoons of castor oil and slather it on your neck to build up heat
- Apply a warm towel or gently massage in circular motions
- Repeat this daily until there is a relief
You can add coconut oil or olive oil for better results. DO NOT consume castor oil.
Homeopathic Remedies for Stiff Neck
Homeopathic remedies are great and effective treatments for neck stiffness and pain. Arnica Montana is the best homeopathic medicine for neck stiffness. Other homeopathic medicines include Bryonia, Gelesemium, Causticum and Calcarea phosphoricum.
Natural Remedies for Stiff Neck
Neck pain usually gets better in a few days and is rarely a sign of a serious problem but you do not have to spend your entire day making stiff robotic gestures due to neck stiffness. If you are looking for what to do for a stiff neck, these natural remedies can help you relax those neck muscles and get rid of pain making your day easier.
Rest to Get Rid of Stiff Neck Naturally
Rest is the simplest yet effective home remedies for stiff neck. Physical and emotional stress can cause neck stiffness. Finding a quiet place to relax and lie down off work and other strenuous activities will give your neck muscles time to recover.
This is the fastest and easy natural cure for stiff neck. Heat relaxes muscles and relieves discomfort by improving the blood circulation to the neck area. Apply heat compresses, use a hot shower or bath to get relief from a stiff neck.
Alternatively, you can use a heating pad, hot water bottle, heat wrap for direct heat application.
Heat Application Using Rice Sock
Rice sock is an easy DIY warmer made with rice or corn and places on the neck to relieve aches and stiffness.
- Pour rice or corn into a tube sock to knee length and tie off the end
- Heat it in the microwave for a minute- do not overheat
- Take it out and hold it on to your neck until it loses heat
Rice socks are very effective and offer soothing pain relief in the neck area. You can keep this sock and use it whenever you have muscle pain and soreness. Rice socks start to change color and give off odor after heating several times. Change as required.
Cold treatment is one of the most effective home remedies for stiff neck. Cold temperatures help to numb the pain and reduce inflammation.
- Take 5-6 ice cubes and wrap them in a clean soft cloth.
- Use this to wrap around the neck area for 10-15 minutes.
- Repeat this as many times as needed making sure to space applications at least one hour apart.
- Do not place ice wraps on one area for more than 15 minutes at a time to avoid skin injuries
You can also use a bag of frozen peas in the same way.
Massage Sore Neck
Neck massage can help relieve pain and regain flexibility in the neck region by increasing the flow of blood to the area. You can simply massage your neck with lavender or coconut oil for 15-20 minutes to relieve stress and tension. Use grasping, kneading and deep digging massage techniques and cover all the parts of your neck.
You can alternatively get a professional to give you a therapeutic neck massage.
Over the counter, pain-relieving ointments can be used in neck massage to improve blood circulation to the neck area. Lemon and tiger balms are just some of the topical applications that can provide safe and effective topical pain relief for sore muscle in a stiff neck.
You can also take OTC non-prescription pain relievers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen to relieve severe pain.
Simple stretching exercises may help to reduce tension if your neck muscles feel tight and knotted. Gently tilt your head to both sides at a time, then forward until the chin gets into contact with your chest. Do this regularly throughout the day to release tension in your neck muscles.
Work at Eye Level and Good Posture
If your neck discomfort comes on toward the end of the workday, chances are good that your workstation or your work habits are causing the problem. People often get neck stiffness from looking down for long periods or from reaching up to work. If possible, always keep your work at eye level. Change the height of your chair, desk, or computer screen; use an upright stand to hold reading material; and use a raised platform instead of reaching up.
Hydrotherapy means alternating between hot and cold water treatments to relieve pain. It is an easy and effective method to relieve tension from the neck region. Start with one to two minutes hot rinse—then gradually turn the temperature down for 30 seconds, back to the hot for one to 20 minutes, cool rinse for 30 seconds, alternating up to 3 times. As your body develops more tolerance and more familiarity with the treatment, you can start changing the temperature more quickly and to colder temperatures.
Hydrotherapy also includes exercises done in water. Water serves as a gentle resistance to movement and is used to gently strengthen the muscles of the neck.
Home Remedies for Stiff Neck Pain Relief
Neck pain can give you a dull or sharp pain in the neck, shoulders, and arms and nearby muscles. This may radiate to cause headaches and swelling in the neck region. Most times neck pain is not a serious condition and can be effectively treated using simple home remedies for stiff neck pain. As you may have realized neck stiffness will most times come with a sore neck, pain, and inability to move the neck muscles. Home remedies for stiff neck have a component of anti-inflammation and muscle relaxation.
Tips to prevent stiff neck
- Practice good posture, try to maintain head and spine balance in relation to gravity
- If you are getting a stiff neck from sleeping, try sleeping on a firm mattress to provide adequate support to your neck and back. It will allow you to sleep better
- Always get a comfortable sleeping position which does not hurt your neck. Try lying down without a pillow to give your neck muscles a break
- Use the right pillow- not too high or too flat that supports your neck at the right angle
- If you sit at the desk or work with a computer for long hours, take 10 minutes to break every one hour
- Balance stress as it can trigger muscle tension
- Manage weight as this might being overweight puts pressure on the muscles especially the neck region
- Practice relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, and abdominal breathing
If after using these home remedies for stiff neck and the stiffness does not go away after a few days of lingers for up to a week, you should consult your doctor. He may be able to examine you, give a strong pain reliever or refer you to a physiotherapist.