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The pain and discomfort that results from a stiff neck is unpleasant and inconvenient. The sensation is characterized by a general soreness and limited range of motion. Turning the head can become increasingly difficult and headaches, shoulder pain, or even arm pain can accompany the general neck discomfort. But why did you wake up with a stiff neck? There are several different explanations as to why you are experiencing pain and discomfort in your neck.

5. Sports Injuries

Straining the neck while playing a sport or engaging in physical activity is a common source of a stiff neck. Participating in a contact sport can mean sudden impacts, falls, or even a jolt to the neck and head. Weight training can also lead to a stiff neck. Using heavy weights while doing shrugs or pull-ups can be cause for a stiff neck even hours later. Always be mindful of your body during workouts and ensure you have warmed up your muscles before participating in strenuous activity.

4. Poor Posture

Slouching, hunching over, or looking downward, can all contribute to a stiff neck. If you spend hours at a computer monitor, constantly look down at your mobile device, or sit for extended periods of time without proper support, you are more likely to develop a sore and stiff neck. Ergonomic back support can significantly enhance your spinal health and reduce symptoms of a sore neck.

3. Stressed Out

If you are experiencing excessive amounts of stress, a sore and stiff neck can be an accompanying symptom. Taking time to unwind, mediate, and stay physically active are positive lifestyle changes that can reduce stress levels.

2. Abnormal Neck Movements

Maintaining an unnatural neck tilt for too long can leave you aching and strained. Have you ever held your phone between your ear and your shoulder for even 5 minutes? Neck pain can happen quickly when the neck muscles feel out of place or overworked. Try to keep the neck in an upward, straight, and comfortable position to avoid unnecessary strain to your muscles.

1. Sleeping in a Poor Position

One of the most common causes of a stiff neck is maintaining an awkward placement of the head and neck while sleeping. Resting in an awkward position can strain the neck muscles, especially when this position is maintained for hours. Ensuring proper pillow support or investing in an contoured foam pillow can help promote spine and neck health while resting.

Visit our Neck and Shoulder Pain page to learn more about neck pain.

Taking Care of Your Neck and Spinal Health

Your spinal health is directly related to the health of the muscles and nerves in the surrounding area of your neck. Simply adding ergonomic back support into your daily life can significantly improve your spinal health and symptoms of neck pain. If developing a stiff neck becomes a recurrent problem you should investigate supportive pillow options and begin regularly using a neck decompression device.

Neck decompression works to stretch out the muscles in the neck and alleviate the straining weight of the head by adding further support. Neck decompression ultimately can improve your range of motion and rid you of unpleasant neck pain or stiffness.

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  1. 2016. Richard A. Staehler, MD. Spine-health. "Stiff neck causes, symptoms, and treatment." Accessed February 6, 2017.

Learn more about Neck Pain with the following resources:

Neck Pain: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Stretches to Beat "Tech Neck"

Help Prevent Neck Pain During Sleep By Adjusting These Five Things

Text Neck: Modern Day Neck Pain and How to Treat It

The 6 Most Common Causes of Neck Pain

Techniques that Help Relieve Neck Pain

How to Relieve Neck Pain in 7 Steps

The Best Alternative Therapy for Back and Neck Pain

7 Tips to Ease Chronic Neck Pain

5 Common Causes of a Stiff Neck

Everyday tips for managing your chronic neck pain

How To Relieve Neck Pain During a Long Car Trip

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