10 Effective Treatments For A Stiff Neck

, Monday, 24 February 2020

You just know the sensation. You jump out of bed, put your slippers on, turn your head for a second – and boom! The excruciating pain begins to shoot from your neck down to your back.

Looking for a relief from this god-awful neck pain, and twist & turn your head all you want? Well, because we’re here to help you out! In this article, we break down 7 Incredibly Effective Treatments For A Stiff Neck.



Sports Massage

First of all sports Massage is considered one of the most effective treatments for restoring balance to the musculo-skeletal system, and releasing muscle tension. The main goal with sports therapy is to restore full functionality to neck muscles and other soft tissues.

Furthermore this will ease the tension that has built up in your neck and shoulders during long hours at work. As result it will also help to quicken recovery and restore maximum performance of other muscle groups in your body.

  • Reduces recovery time of damaged or overworked muscle or tissue.

  • Improves lymph and blood circulation.

  • De-stress tense postural muscles and improve spinal alignment.

  • Helps improve the flexibility of muscles and joints.

  • Enables muscles and joints to heal faster following an injury.

Thai Massage

If you ever happen to visit Thailand, one of the things you are not likely to miss is getting a life changing Thai massage! The Thai massage is a well-known therapy for stiff neck. Fortunately, it is also easy to find a place to get this massage from.

This is a Thai traditional healing practice that combines assisted yoga postures, Indian Ayurvedic principles, and acupressure. The Thai massage will help you relax and heal you from any tension that’s built up in your neck.

  • Reduce swelling by clearing out waste products and toxins.

  • Break down adhesions within muscles improving suppleness and mobility.

  • Help prevent injury by treating any muscle weakness or problem area.

Cold/Hot Therapy

Cold/Hot Therapy is often recommended to people with a stiff neck. It helps relieve aching neck pain that results from muscle or joint damage. For cold therapy, a water bottle usually filled with cold water, a pad cooled in the freezer, or cool water can be used. The heat therapy, or thermotherapy, involves using a heated water bottle, pads that can be heated in a microwave, and a warm bath.

  • Cold treatment reduces inflammation by decreasing blood flow.
  • Alternating cold and heat therapies may help decrease exercise-induced muscle pain in your neck. 

  • Heat treatment promotes blood flow and helps muscles relax. It can be used for chronic pain in your shoulders and neck. 

Craniosacral Therapy

What is a craniosacral sacral therapy? Craniosacral Therapy, or CST, is a non-invasive therapy that enhances your body’s inherent healing abilities. This is an alternative treatment typically used by massage therapists, osteopaths, and chiropractors. It aims to use a gentle touch to heal the joints in the cranium or skull, spine, and even parts of the pelvis. It is used for a range of issues apart from a stiff neck.

  • De-stresses tense mucles
  • Helps improve the flexibility of muscles and joints.

  • Enables muscles and joints to heal faster following an injury.

  • A study on CST and fibromyalgia demonstrated that it may reduce anxiety and improve the quality of life in those with the condition.

Chiropractic Treatment

Chiropractor is an increasingly popular treatment that manipulates the joints and spine to alleviate neck and back pain. It’s a common therapy that does not involve any kind of medication. Also this makes it a very useful treatment for people who are looking to stay away from medicinal cures.

For stiff neck in particular, chiropractic treatments are called cervical manipulation. Most importantly, these help loosen up the joints of the cervical vertebrae in the neck, and hence decreases pain arising from pinched nerves and muscle spasms. How can a chiropractor help with neck pain or stiffness? Chiropractors often make use of their skillful hands to sharply twist the neck, and snap the vertebrae back into alignment!

  • Reduces recovery time of damaged or overworked muscle or tissue.

  • Help prevent injury by treating any muscle weakness or problem area.

  • Breaks down adhesions within muscles improving suppleness and mobility.

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep Tissue Massage mainly focuses on targeting muscles and fascia at a deep level. In deep tissue massage, the massage therapist will use heightened pressure and a firmer touch than is commonly used in conventional Swedish or therapeutic massages. In addition people often claim that deep tissue massage can be initially intense and uncomfortable, but the end-results are worth it!

Most importantly medical studies have also shown without any question that deep tissue massage provides patients with significant benefits, particularly those outlined below.

  • Deep Tissue Massage Alleviates Stress

  • Deep Tissue Massage Improves Your Range of Motion

  • Reduces stiffness and swelling by clearing out waste products and toxins.

  • Enables muscles and joints to heal faster following an injury.

  • Helps improve the flexibility of muscles and joints.


Acupuncture treatment can be given for most types of neck pain and stiffness. Point treated are on the small intestine, gall bladder, lung, bladder and large intestine meridians. Moxibution may also be beneficial.


Reflexology massage is given to the reflex areas relating to the neck, with rotation of the toes joints, plus massage to areas relating to the upper spine, the side of the head, the shoulders, the arms and adrenal glands.


Poor posture can often lead to pain and stiffness in the neck. Gentle manual traction an mobilisations may bring rapid relief. Some simple exercises are recommended to help mantain mobility of the neck. First, when sitting, drop the chin to the chest and then slowly stretch the head up and backwords. Second, with the head upright, turn round as far as possible to the left shoulder, then the right ear to the right shoulder. Repear all three exercise five times.

An orhodox view

X-rays  are not particularly helpful in diagnosing the cause of neck pain, because they frequently reveal cervical spondylosis in patients over the age of 25 even then thre are no symptoms of stiffness and pain. On the other hand, severe symptoms sometimes occur in peoplewhose X-rays appear to be fairly normal.

After taking a patient’s hisotry and physically examining the neck , a doctor may recommend a course of physiotherapy (often including massage) , heat treatment, traction or cervical collar. Paonkilling medicines susch as aspirin, paracetamol or ibuprofen sometimes help, but they do not releive muscle spasm.

Many neck problems can be avoided by maintaining an upright posture, lifting and carrying loads properly, and being careful not to overextend the neck, – for example, when painting ceilings or washing high windows.

Poor work conditions in which the neck is bent for a long periods – such as working at a desk , at wrong height – should should also be avoided. Car headrests reduce the risk of “whiplash” injuries to the neck.

Neck Stiffness

What are the causes of neck pain and stiffness?

Most people have neck pain and stiffness some time in their lives. The cause can be trivial or serious – and it can be difficult to tell which.

The neck is the most mobile part of the cartilage and joined by ligaments. Wear-and-tear changes in the bones and joints, known as cervical spondylosys, begin at age of about 25 may result in pain and stiffness from bony fringes, called osteophytes, growing around the jointsbetween the vertabrae (spinal bones)

Ligament sprains may occur after “whiplash” injuries to the neck caused, for example, when a car is shunted from behind. Neck pain is frequently accompanied by trapped nerves. It is also often aggravated by reflex muslce spam in the neck, with increased stiffness and restricted movement.

Tension headaches may also cause neck pain. If it occur suddenly and the patient shows signs of general illness, it can also be a symptom of meningitis – infection of the membranes surrounding the brain – or a brain haemorrhage.

Exercises to avoid neck pain and injury

Maintaining flexbility is the key to keeping your neck free of tension and pain. To achieve this, try the following daily exercises, Make sure to move only your neck and head.

Neck rolls are performed by slowly rotating your head in a clockwise direction. Breathe slowly in and and out and gently stretch the muscles at front and back of the neck.

Inhale as you bend your head back. Then exhale and bring your head forward.  Exhale as you bring your left ear to your left shoulder. Then repeat with your right ear and shoulder.

How to massage a stiff neck?

If the pain stems from the neck muscles or joints – but is not glandular or disease – related – apply firm, stroking efflueragemovements down the the back of the neck and over the shoulder area. Also give a deep frictions with the pads of the fingers along the band of muscle at each side of the vertebrae of the neck. But avoid the front of the neck and throat regions.

Bottom Line!

In conclusion neck Pain arising from Stiff Neck can range from mild aching to stabbing-sharp pain on movement. Subsequently it can be extremely painful and distressing.

Although almost all cases show improvement in 4-5 weeks – Stiff Neck can also end up being very stubborn. It is, however, a pretty common condition and can get very significant improvement using Sports Massage, and all other treatments mentioned above!

Ben has been a practical pain management trainer and a celebrated massage therapist. He believes human well-being is deeply connected to the health of mind and body both, including deep tissues. He holds numerous certifications for best of breeds massage techniques helping him on a mission for healthy London and then rest of the world. He has been an active contributor in massage technique research and on Massaggi blog.