Locked neck is the common problem which may not be a serious medical condition, but it can significantly disturb you. While it can affect your daily physical activities, it can also hamper your quality of sleep because of the associated pain. Let us see what causes a locked neck and some natural remedies to get rid of it.
What Causes a Locked Neck?
There are many people who frequently complain about neck stiffness, particularly due to a locked neck. They often experience neck pain due to various reasons ranging from poor sleeping posture or injuries to other underlying medical conditions. Some of the common causes of a locked neck include strained neck muscles, lifting heavy weights, anxiety and stress that create tension in neck and back muscles or trauma affecting the neck and some diseases like arthritis, meningitis and cancer.
Poor position or improper sleeping posture is one of the main factor that often causes a locked neck. Injury in neck muscles is also one of the important causes of locked neck. However, the neck muscle injury is microscopic and the muscles of the upper back are susceptible to injury which can cause a locked neck.
Some of the other common reasons that cause a locked neck include:
- Muscle Strain or Sprain – Soft tissue sprain or muscle strain is the main reason for experiencing stiff neck. Levator Scapula muscle is located at the side and back of the neck and it is susceptible to injury. If this muscle is injured due to poor sleeping or sitting posture, it is likely to cause a locked neck with severe neck pain. The Levator scapula muscle can be strained during sleeping, sport injuries or any activities that involve turning of head and neck rapidly or poor posture while sitting in front of computer for prolonged period of time.
- Cervical Spine Disorders – Some of the diseases or complications with the cervical spine may also cause a locked neck. Some of the common cervical disorders that can cause a locked neck are degenerative cervical disc diseases (cervical spondylosis), cervical herniated disc, cervical osteoarthritis and bone spurs.
- Meningitis or Infection – A locked neck in combination with headache, high fever, vomiting, nausea, sleepiness and other signs is a positive sign of meningitis. Meningitis is a bacterial infection which may cause inflammation to the spinal cord and protective membrane of brain. This may cause a locked neck with severe pain. Some of the other infections that may cause a locked neck include meningococcal diseases, tuberculosis, etc.
Some of the other possible causes of locked neck, which often need medical treatment include
Natural Remedies to Get Rid of a Locked Neck
Locked neck is not a chronic disorder and the condition mostly improves in few days. It can be treated with natural remedies without medical intervention and serious medical treatments. However, it is best to seek medical opinion to understand the cause of your locked neck and plan the treatment accordingly.
Here are some of the Natural Remedies to Get Rid of Locked Neck:
- Cold compresses can alleviate neck soreness and ease the locked neck. Cold pack application can numb pain, reduce swelling and alleviate inflammation. You can also try alternate warm and cold packs. This is one of the best natural remedies to get rid of a locked neck. Apply warm packs after applying the cold packs. This will help boost the circulation of blood in muscles and will alleviate muscle soreness.
- For instant relief from muscle soreness and locked neck naturally, you can use pain relieving balm or gel that contains menthol like peppermint, beeswax, coconut oil and eucalyptus oil. This is the best and natural analgesic that can soothe and ease the muscles. This is one of the popular natural remedies used to get rid of a locked neck.
- You can also prepare a peppermint oil mixture containing peppermint oil, coconut oil, olive oil or other carrier oil and apply it directly on your stiffed neck. This mixture of oil will soothe the stiffed neck muscles and as it comprises analgesic properties which will reduce pain significantly. This is an excellent natural remedy to get rid of locked neck but must be applied over the tensed neck carefully.
- With tension releasing exercises you can immediately alleviate the soreness and locked neck. There are isometric exercises that you can perform without moving your head and neck. Repeat the exercise for few minutes until the condition improves. These are great natural remedies to relieve locked neck, but are best done with an expert's guidance.
- Stretching exercises and physiotherapy is also considered quite helpful and one of the best natural remedies for locked neck. It can help you alleviate muscle soreness in the neck and alleviate the pain associated with neck stiffness.
- Acupressure is another best natural remedy that can reduce pain and spasm caused due to a locked neck. The treatment involves applying pressure on certain points of body to alleviate pain and should preferably be done by a trained expert after medical advice.
- Sleeping in good posture without using pillow is one of the common natural remedies to get rid of a locked neck. This will significantly reduce strain on the affected muscles of your neck.
In most cases, these natural remedies are quite beneficial, however, it they do not show much improvement or if the neck pain worsens it is always better to seek medical assistance immediately.