What causes stiff neck?
Stiff neck and shoulder pain can be caused by several different conditions. It can be due to sitting down too long in front of the computer, scrolling on social feeds in the same position for hours (guilty as charged!) or looking down often while working.
Our head can weigh up to 5 kg.
If you tilt your head down, the strain on your neck will go up to 27kg! (* horror emoji)
Other factors include traumas such as whiplash or bone fracture that can injure the muscle, nerves, discs and cervical spine.
Some conditions related to neck pain include fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, spinal stenosis, infection, herniated cervical disc, or spine-related cancer.
4 types of stiff neck according to TCM
From a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, neck and shoulder pain can be categorized into these 4 main types.
Major symptoms are listed here, check which type you belong to.
Desk bound job
Sit in the same position for a long time
Worsens in cold weather
Wandering shoulder pain
Aversion to cold
Runny nose / cough
2） Qi stagnation Type
Distending or numb sensation
Aggravated by stress or emotional upset
3） Blood stagnation Type
Stabbing sensation at fixed location
History of traumatic injury to the shoulder joint
Swelling of the shoulder joint
Pain is worse at night
Irregular / painful menses
Cold hands and feet
4） Damp-Phlegm Type
Shoulder and body feels heavy
Muscles feel tight and swollen
Aggravated on cold rainy days
Easily get puffy eyes
Have diarrhea often
How to treat stiff neck?
Local: LI15 Jianyu,GB20 Fengchi, SI9 Jianzhen and SIIl Tianzong
Distal: BL66 Tonggu, Bl60 Kunlun, SI3 Houxi
Herbal medication for stiff neck
Ge Gen Tang
Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang
Juan Bi Tang
Dang Gui Die Tong Tang
Fang Ji Huang Qi Tang
Lifestyle changes for stiff neck
If your neck is very painful,reduce physical activity for 1 – 2 days.
Practice correct and proper sitting, standing, and sleeping posture.
Avoid activities that cause stiff neck such as placing your phone between your ear and neck, falling asleep in a chair, or shampooing your hair in the sink.
When lifting heavy objects, proper techniques should be used to prevent injury.
Nod your head up and down. Bring by your chin to your chest and then look up towards the ceiling.
Nod your head from side to side.
Turn your head slowly from left side to right side and vice versa for few minutes.
*STOP if the exercise is causing more pain*
If it is due to cold, heat packs can be applied. Or use hair dryer (warm air) to blow the affected areas.
Make sure that the cold air-con is not blowing directly on your back.
Try orange peel essential oils for massage or find a hobby that you love as a method of self care.
These food help to increase blood circulation. In TCM, they say “When circulation is stagnant, there will be pain”.
Say bye to stagnation and pain!
Onion, ginger, garlic, turmeric and spices.
Black beans and vinegar.
Thank you for reading and please share with those who are suffering from stiff neck 🙂