Stiff Neck Pain

By Sally Ann Quirke, Chartered Physiotherapist | Filed under: Neck Pain


Neck - Pain or Stiffness?

Stiff pain in neck treatment

So often, I ask my neck patients where their pain is, and they reply: “I don’’t really have pain but more of a stiffness”. They tell me how difficult it is to look over their shoulder in the car, or to talk to a person sitting beside them without feeling neck pain and stiffness.

Right - what is “stiff neck pain” - usually just called Neck Stiffness?

Stiff neck pain is very common. Often, the stiffness precedes the pain - and with our busy lifestyles we do nothing to correct it until pain eventually arises, then off we trot to our Doctor or physiotherapist. The situation is similar to having a tight pair of jeans, but wearing them regardless - resulting in an eventual tear in the jeans or a button popping out!!

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Does this sound familiar to you?

The first thing I would say is that if you have a stiff neck for no apparent reason, then it’s best to seek advice from a Chartered Physiotherapist what may be causing it and learn specific neck pain exercises that loosen it. In taking this approach, you will prevent injury (and the pain associated with injury) from occurring in your neck. If your neck is not fully mobile and pain free within 72 hours then seek medical help.

Other times I see patients with pain in their necks which later results in stiffness in their neck movement. As with all muscular injuries to your spine, movement of your neck is important from the outset.

Move your neck in all ways that do not hurt. If you neglect an injury and do not get a full resolution from neck pain and stiffness in the early weeks, it usually comes back to haunt you at another stage, often requiring a further treatment - as the stiffness is established and takes more work to resolve.

Again, my advice is that early intervention - seek advice from a medical practitioner or physiotherapist - who will help you identify what is causing the stiff neck, and then you are on the path towards the long term resolution and management of your neck pain.


If you would like to learn more about may be the cause of your neck pain, then these articles may be of interest to you.

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While the content and materials contained in the articles on this website have been written & researched by Sally Ann Quirke, a professional, practising & fully qualified Chartered Physiotherapist (Physical Therapist) based in Ireland, they are provided for general information and educational purposes only. They do not constitute medical advice on any particular individual situation. Please see your Chartered Physiotherapist or other medical practitioner for full and individual consultation.

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