A stiff neck can be a mere annoyance or a seriously problematic condition. Patients might experience stiffness and tightness in their necks from a vast variety of possible causes. Usually, stiffness is associated with muscular pain or overexertion.
However, neck stiffness can also be an indicator of a far more serious health condition. Make sure to contact your doctor if you are experiencing severe or chronic neck pain.
This discussion assists patients in better understanding the mechanisms that can cause neck muscle stiffness.
Stiffness is described as tightness, tension and immobility in the cervical spinal region. This tight feeling might be a perception or an actual limitation on mobility in the cervical joints. The most common causes for a stiff feeling in the neck are:
Neck muscle pain caused by injury or overexertion. Tired or damaged muscles become tight and tense as a protective mechanism. This is completely normal and usually harmless. Muscle pain usually does not require any special medical treatment, although home based remedies might make the condition more comfortable. Most muscle pain resolves within a matter of hours or days.
Spinal arthritis conditions can contribute to stiffness in the neck. Spinal osteoarthritis and facet joint syndrome are very common conditions which are usually mostly asymptomatic. Serious cases have been known to exist and stiffness is a normal symptom for either of these spinal conditions.
Ischemia can cause pain and stiffness in the cervical region. Many oxygen deprivation complaints are related to a psychosomatic back pain syndrome and are therefore not structurally-motivated, but instead driven by a psychoemotional imperative.
Serious health concerns, such as tumors or cancers, can also cause stiffness in the neck region. Make sure to get examined by a qualified physician if you are experiencing chronic pain or other symptomatic condition in the neck or any area of the spine. It can mean the difference between life and death.
Muscle tension and stiffness is frequently the direct result of either conscious emotional stress or repressed subconscious issues. Both of these conditions can cause horrible pain and related symptoms anywhere in the body. The neck is especially prone to numerous psychosomatic symptoms.
Headaches often accompany stiffness in the neck and can be caused by conscious or subconscious emotions.
Do not discount the power of the mind to wreak havoc in the physical body. Pain syndromes are the most powerful defense mechanism used by the subconscious mind to defend the individual’s consciousness from painful psychological issues.
One of the recommended treatments for virtually any psychogenic pain condition is always knowledge therapy. To learn more about a potential psychogenic cause or perpetuation of a chronic pain condition, consider consulting with a mindbody physician.
If you have already ruled out the possibility of some serious health condition causing your cervical stiffness, you can usually relax. The most likely explanation for sudden acute stiffness is a muscular condition. Most of these muscle issues will heal on their own, in no time at all.
Statistics clearly show that stiffness is mostly a soft
tissue concern, especially in patients without serious cervical spinal
diagnoses in place. These symptoms can come about from overworked
muscles, staying in a particular position too long, sleeping "wrong" or
many other sources.
Chronic neck pain which has caused continual suffering and has defied successful diagnosis and treatment may be an indicator of a psychological pain syndrome. Make sure to consider this possibility, even if you do not really understand the reason why the pain might exist at this point. At least, you will have somewhere to begin your research efforts.