Causes of a Stiff Neck
Most of the time, the main reason for a stiff neck is poor posture. This does not necessarily mean that you always sit wrong, just that there are some things that you do that puts unneeded pressure on the muscles of your neck. One of these is moving your head from left to right while typing. In fact, if you work in front of a computer all day there are plenty of other possible faux-pas that will cause a stiff neck. If the armrests on your chair are too high it can cause you to sit in an awkward position. If the monitor is not as the same level with your line of sight you can either look up or down at it all day in order to see properly.
If you talk a lot on the phone, avoid multitasking by holding the phone between your head and shoulder so that both your hands are free. It puts a lot of strain on the neck muscles. The world will not explode if it takes you 5 minutes longer to do what you need to do (Disclaimer: If the world actually will explode if it takes you 5 minutes longer to do what you need to do then by all means buy a hands free headset. It will be cheaper than future bills spent on ointments and therapy sessions – also less painful).
The way you sleep also impacts the way pressure is applied to your neck. Make sure to have proper pillow support. Make everything in your bed nice and fluffy and get rid of the old, worn out pillows. The new ones will look prettier anyway. Avoid nodding off while you are seated in an upright position or even when you are standing, if you can fall asleep like that (which would make you a horse). By sleeping this way your head will tilt down and put a lot of strain on the neck. After all, something has to hold your heavy head attached to the rest of your body. If your neck did not do its job your head would just roll on the floor (highly unlikely to actually happen).
Standing in a draft for long periods of time can also cause a stiff neck. Also some vigorous activities like tennis and swimming using the crawl stroke can contribute to this as well. Speaking of tennis, if you are a fan and you watch games regularly then you must know the move when the entire crowd moves its head from left to right over and over when the players hit the ball? Friendly advice: do not do that.
Finally, a last cause of a stiff neck is stress. This can come from a lot of places like work, your family, your friends, your girlfriend, your financial obligations etc.
How to Treat a Stiff Neck
Every one of the cases mentioned above has a solution that will help you get over your neck pain. If you are stressed out try to find time to take a little break every day. Just 15 or 20 minutes when you go to your happy place can relax you and ease the stress, thus relieving you of your neck pain. If you are stuck in a draft the best thing to do is to wear a scarf around your neck. This usually works out pretty good in keeping your neck safe from the cold. One fix that can actually turn out to be kind of pricy is for those with a car with bad suspensions. You probably use your car every day so if you are stuck for some time daily when your head gets jolted around from place to place then that will definitely cause you some neck pain. Getting new suspensions will be expensive but well worth it in the big picture.
Those that have a poor posture need to address this situation. Make sure that your work space and whatever other places where you spend a lot of time are all properly set up in order for you to avoid keeping your neck at awkward angles. There are plenty of exercises that only take a few minutes each day and that can be done while you are sitting at your desk or when you are at home watching television that can really improve your posture and alleviate the pain.
Other ways to treat a stiff neck include spoiling yourself a little with some pampering. Get a relaxing massage with some ointments that treat neck pain. Take frequent hot showers and use a hot compress afterwards with aromatherapy herbs and oils on your neck. Keep in mind that these methods do not have immediate results so you can complement them with over-the-counter painkillers to help you deal with the pain.
Lastly, you can consult with professionals that are adept at curing neck pain for a living. Chiropractors can look scary when they say that they want to basically break your neck. However, some of them can perform wonders. Acupuncture therapy has also shown to have some merit. Finally, you can buy a neck brace or a cervical collar from a medical supply store and use it to take some pressure off your shoulders.