What Causes a Stiff Neck?

We have all woken up in the morning with a kink in our neck at least once. It’s frustrating because usually your neck bothers you all day and we have no idea why it’s happening. A stiff neck can have both many symptoms and many causes. Some causes can be severe like early osteoarthritis or some can be simple like poor neck support when sleeping the night before.

Strain the Day Before

More often than not, a kink in your neck can be caused by stress to a muscle in your neck the day before. You may not have noticed the stress while it was happening but as you sleep the stressed muscle tenses up, causing a stiff neck the next day. Unfortunately, because of this delay, it may be difficult to pinpoint the exact activity that caused the muscle strain. For example, it could have been that you were watching TV at an odd angle and had your neck twisted for too long or it could be one, or several, other things you did that day.

Sleeping Position

It’s also possible that your sleeping position the night before is the cause of your stiff neck. A poor sleeping position can mean that your neck was not properly supported. Again, this would result in stress to the neck muscles, muscle tightening, and ultimately a stiff neck in the morning. If you think this may be the cause of your stiff neck, you may want to purchase a pillow that provides greater support for your neck as you sleep.

More Serious Causes

While strain the day before and sleeping position are by far the most likely causes, a stiff neck, or neck pain in general, can also be caused as an early symptom of a variety of more serious conditions or by an injury to your neck. Osteoarthritis or a tension headache, for example, can both be tied to neck stiffness. Other possible causes include, rheumatoid arthritis, a pinched nerve, fibromyalgia, meningitis, muscle spasms, and more. The only person who can give you a proper diagnosis is a doctor.

Usually, a stiff neck will go away on it’s own after a day or two. However, if you think it may be caused by something more serious, or you are experiencing a stiff neck on a regular basis, contact a doctor right now.

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