It's frustrating when you wake up with a stiff neck and neck pain. However, this is a common condition that might be caused by the way you sleep at night. Morning neck pain could also be caused by other reasons, so if the pain doesn't clear up or if it is accompanied by other symptoms, you may need to seek medical care to uncover the cause of the problem. Here are some ways to deal with neck pain.
Try A Warm Shower
Your neck pain might be relieved by standing under a very warm shower after you get out of bed. The heat and the massage from the pounding shower can release tension in the area and relax tight muscles that contribute to your pain. If a warm shower doesn't help, you might try ice instead since ice helps control inflammation that leads to pain.
Position Your Neck While Sleeping
Sleeping on a pillow is important for relieving neck pain and preventing it in the future. Your pillow should support your neck and keep you from sleeping in a position that strains your neck. You might also want to avoid sleeping on your stomach and find a position on your side or back that doesn't cause neck strain.
If your stiff neck doesn't clear up right away, you may need to take over-the-counter pain relievers, muscle relaxants, antidepressants, or anti-inflammatory drugs. Talk to your doctor about medications that can help your pain so you're able to work and go about your usual activities as much as possible.
See A Doctor
If you have a fever with your neck pain or have other symptoms that signal you have a medical problem, call your doctor right away. Neck pain and stiffness are sometimes symptoms of a medical condition such as meningitis rather than symptoms of neck strain and you might need immediate medical treatment.
Have Physical Therapy Treatments
Your doctor will decide if physical therapy can help your pain. Physical therapy may not be indicated for certain neck problems, but sometimes exercises and stretches can help neck pain. A physical therapist can teach you how to do exercises properly and give you an exercise routine to follow daily to help your pain and reduce the risk of further problems.
Undergo Medical Treatments
A stiff neck from sleeping in the wrong position should clear up in a matter of days. If the pain doesn't get better, call your doctor for an evaluation. Your doctor might recommend a corticosteroid shot, soft collar, traction, or even nerve decompression surgery.