5 Steps to Remedy a Stiff Neck

Neck pain treatment in Kitchener Waterloo, or a stiff neck, is a common complaint seen by chiropractors. Here I will provide you with 5 steps to remedy a stiff neck.

  1. Heat to Relieve a Stiff Neck :  One of the most common questions chiropractors and other healthcare providers get asked is should I apply ice or heat? The general rule of thumb is ice for acute injuries to decrease pain and heat for chronic injuries to improve blood flow. If you have a stiff neck, then using a damp heat (wet cloth) will increase blood flow and relax tight muscles
  2. Exercises and Stretches for a Stiff Neck:  Heat and stretching can help to increase the range of motion in individuals with a stiff neck and should be used in collaboration with exercises.
      • Stretches for a Stiff Neck:  Once you have applied heat for approximately 10 minutes, the muscles will begin to relax and you should be able to move your neck more (increased range of motion – ROM). This is when you want to stretch your stiff neck. The goal is to use 1 stretch per muscle group and to hold the stretch for approximately 30 seconds. Each stretch should then be repeated 3-4 times per day. Please see the video below for examples of stretches for a stiff neck.

      • Exercises for a Stiff Neck: Every large scale study that investigates neck pain recommends exercises. It is recommended that ROM exercises be taught by healthcare providers. They should be performed, resistance free, 10-15 repetitions and 2-3 times per day (sets). Please see the video below for examples of stretches for a stiff neck.

  3. Chiropractic Adjustments for a Stiff Neck:
    Sometimes stretches and exercises are not enough to relieve a stiff neck. That is why every recent large scale study (NICE, Neck Pain Task Force, OPTIMa) recommends chiropractic adjustments to relieve neck pain. Researchers usually recommend 6-10 sessions over an eight-week period.
  4. Acupuncture for a Stiff Neck:
    In addition to chiropractic adjustments for neck pain treatment in Kitchener Waterloo, acupuncture has been shown to alleviate neck pain and relax stiff muscles in the shoulder and the neck. Acupuncture works by causing a micro-inflammatory response. Similar to the application of heat, acupuncture increases local blood flow by dilating adjacent vessels.In addition, Contemporary medical acupuncture incorporates electricity to promote the release of endorphins and enkephalins, which help to decrease pain.
  5. Soft Tissue Therapy for a Stiff Neck:
    Finally, soft tissue therapy (A.R.T) is a mixture of a massage and a stretch. For this therapy, patients performed a slow and controlled stretch while the chiropractor applies tension to a muscle. Soft tissue therapy differs from a massage as it is specific to individual muscles. Soft tissue therapy can reduce stiffness in the neck, break-up adhesions (scar tissue) and promote blood flow.

For neck pain treatment in the Kitchener Waterloo region, be sure to contact us at Sports Rehab and Wellness to book an appointment with Dr. Joel Dixon today.