One of the most annoying and painful physical ailments is a “crick” in the neck. When you suffer from this common problem it’s typically hard to move your neck from side to side because of the pain and stiffness involved.
What causes neck pain?
In most cases the problem arises when the joint capsule, which is the tissue that surrounds the neck joint, becomes pinched inside the joint. There are several things that can cause this such as sleeping with your head in an unnatural position, when lifting a heavy object and due to a sudden movement of the head. Since there are a lot of very sensitive nerve endings in the joint capsules they can cause pain in the neck. If your neck moves in an unexpected and/or unnatural way the neck muscles try to protect the area by tightening up. This generally results in muscle spasms when you suffer from a crick in the neck. These spasms often add more pain to the already stiff and debilitating condition. For some lucky people the problem will go away by itself in two or three days, but others aren’t so fortunate and suffer with the painful ailment for months on end.
How to treat a crick in the neck
Like most painful conditions, it’s always best to have it diagnosed by a physician or licensed physiotherapist. These medical professionals will be able to pinpoint the problem and help you get rid of it. One of the most effective ways of alleviating the pain and stiffness is to engage in manual physical therapy exercises. These will quickly be able to help reduce the muscle spasms and joint capsule problems in the neck. You may be asked to help treat the pain by trying specific range-of-motion exercises and stretches, which can usually be done at home.
Preventing neck pain
Since we’ve already discussed what can cause a crick in the neck we should realize we can help control them by taking precautionary measures. This means we should make sure we sleep with our heads in a comfortable position and try to avoid sudden and unnatural neck movements as much as possible. A memory-foam pillow could be the answer if you have problems with your neck since the pillow is made to support both the neck and the shoulders. If a memory-pillow doesn’t work you may want to try sleeping flat on your back. Sleeping on your stomach isn’t recommended and you don’t want to use too many pillows as they will place your head in an awkward position. If you start to feel slight neck pain you can try to treat it by alternating hot and cold therapies. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication may also work or it could just mask the pain.
While a crick in the neck may seem to be a minor irritation it can often limit your mobility and cause a good deal of pain if it isn’t properly treated. The upside of neck pain such as this is that it can be treated quite quickly by manual therapy and the pain and stiffness will often be gone as fast as it came.