Have you ever had a crick in neck?

An acute stiff neck especially one that is spasmodic is often called a crick in neck, torticollis or wryneck and this condition can occur with little or no warning. You may have an unguarded moment when you suddenly twist your neck and the episode will bring on a sudden stiffness to your neck, which may include neck pain. It can occur while doing normal things that you do everyday such as when you twist your head around to see as you back the car out of a parking lot or when you tip your head backwards while laughing or have a sudden sneeze that brings your head in a rapid forward movement. Before you realize what has happened your neck muscles have seemed to lockup and become stiff. You may experience a crick in the neck as a result of aggravation of neck arthritis, or due to a bulging or tearing of disc tissue in the neck region or as a result of excessive movement or a slight slippage of a cervical bone that pinches a nerve. Once you experience it you won’t soon forget the feeling. It can prevent you from doing daily tasks because of the inability to move your neck. You want relief fast and being able to get it with a minimal of time and expense would sure be of benefit.

Crick in neck treatment

The first few hours are critical when treating this neck condition because the longer the condition lasts the more severe the pain will become. It is therefore important not to ignore the symptoms of a crick in the neck but to treat it as soon as possible. You will experience reduced neck mobility the longer your neck muscles stay tightened. Your body is actually trying to prevent further damage by keeping your head immobilized.

Apply ice and heat alternatively starting with an ice pack applied to the affected area. Heat will dilate the blood vessels and relax the neck muscles. Ice relieves pain and reduces swelling.

Without forcing it, do gentle neck stretches side to side. Move the neck carefully and slowly in all directions. Massage your own neck muscles gently or have someone else massage your neck for you.

It is important to rest the neck muscles so no sports events for a few days while the neck heals. Rest on your back with a folded towel under the nape of the neck to support the curve of the neck. It is important to rest for two to three 30-minute rest periods each day.

Non-prescription pain medication is beneficial for the first day or two. NSAIDs will not only relieve pain but also can help to reduce inflammation at the location of the pinched nerve.

Remember to treat:

  • Immediately
  • Apply first ice and then alternate between ice and heat
  • Do gentle neck stretches and neck massages.
  • Rest your neck for 30 minutes at a time, two to three times each day for several days
  • Use non-prescription over-the-counter pain medication.

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