How many times have you woken up unable to move your neck? What is it that we are doing while we sleep that makes us feel as though we slept pushed up against a rock or with our head on backwards?
Although occasionally headstand adventures happen whilst we sleep, “locked neck” or “rigid neck” is usually the result of a bad pillow, or a previous injury.
Here are a few tricks that you can use to loosen that stiff neck and move on with your day as much as possible:
1) First and foremost, it is important to remember the huge role that applying heat has in relaxing muscles. In between using ice packs to numb the pain and reduce inflammation, use heat to bring fresh healing blood to the area and make your pain dissipate more quickly. (This is a good opportunity to refreeze that bag of peas too - unless this happens a lot in which case you are probably fully stocked with frozen peas, sweet corn and, dare I say, frozen carrots!)
2) If you have been subjected to a cold or damp environment prior to your neck injury, you may want to try sipping cinnamon and turmeric in warm water to release the muscle contraction and bring down inflammation.
3) St Johns Wort, valerian root or vervain tea can be used to reduce pain. The cooked herbs can then be prepared as a warm compress and used on the muscle (or just wrap the wet herbs in an old pillow case and press on your muscle). In a bind, try using chamomile tea bags.
4) Try applying fresh horse radish or mustard oil to the muscle to relieve stiffness, but only leave on for a few minutes at a time to prevent numbness and burning.
5) Arnica as a homeopathic remedy or a cream can really help heal the area quickly. Keep some stocked in your first aid kit as it is good for all kinds of aches and pains!
6) Blending up celery and drinking the juice helps repair nerve damage (this is surprisingly great for stress relief and pre menstrual irritability too).
7) And finally, let’s not forget using the shower or bathtub with some essential oils such as rosemary, juniper, lavender, pine or nutmeg!
Muscles love to be warm, and they don't like being kept stationary. Keep trying to move your neck, take deep breaths, and use heat pads, warm compresses and the bath tub as much as possible!