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Avoid and relieve a stiff neck

Summary Step 1: Adopt a neutral position Step 2: Avoid restraints Step 3: Mobilize your neck Step 4: Relieve your neck Step 5: Treat the neck in your pain

A stiff neck is an intense pain in the neck due to a muscular spasm that stops the person from performing most rotation and inclination movements of the head.

This contracture constitutes a hindrance, despite being benign in 85% of cases. It would therefore be useful to know how to avoid and relieve a stiff neck.



1- Adopt a neutral position


The first step to adopt in order to avoid having a stiff neck is not to adopt an extreme position:


– If you work on a computer, sit properly.

– Sit properly at your desk.

– Adapt your sitting position while driving.

– Use a hands-free kit in order to avoid squeezing your phone between your shoulder and your neck.

– Use an ergonomic memory pillow and make sure it is neither too hard nor too soft.

– Try to sleep on your side or on your back.


2- Avoid restraints


Avoid putting your neck through pronounced restraints or minimal but prolonged restraints.

The main things to avoid:

– sleeping on your stomach,

– reading in bed,

– spending a long time on your tablet, forcing you to bend your head to look at it.


Avoid being frustrated as stress facilitates muscular contractions and tensions, in general.


3- Mobilize your neck


Perform small movements of rotation, inclination, flexion/ extension of the neck to stretch your neck especially when you sit too long in the same position such as in front of a computer, at the office.


Stretch your back at the office

Move your arms too, some of the muscles around the neck fall onto the upper members of the body.


Stretch our your arms


4- Relieving a stiff neck


In the case of an acute stiff neck

Apply a pouch of ice onto your neck for five minutes, every two hours.

Be careful not to do this unless you’re experiencing a fit of neck pain; do not attempt it if you’re experiencing mild or chronic pain.


If the pain is especially sharp when you move, use a neck brace, but do not keep it for over 48 hours. You can use it when needed, while driving, for instance.


In the case of chronic neck stiffness

Apply heat onto your neck:

hair dryer

hot water: bathe in hot water, for instance.


5- Relieving a stiff neck


Many solutions are available to relieve a stiff neck, you should know however that rest is recommended.



Get very soft massages and use creams over time.

Perform neck stretching exercises as well.


Alternative medicine


Several alternative medicines present efficient solutions to a stiff neck both on the short and the long term, notably:

– osteopathy

– etiopathy

– chiropractic

– homeopathy

– acupuncture

– shiatsu


If you have to wait before seeing someone, you can use a neck brace to immobilize your neck in the mean time.