If you have ever woken up with a stiff neck, you know the dread that fills your mind as you wonder how you will accomplish the tasks for the day. Fortunately, natural remedies like apple cider vinegar and castor oil packs can help reduce pain and restore your neck function in a timely manner.
A stiff neck is usually caused by a muscle injury or spasm. Another common cause of a stiff neck is sleeping the wrong way. Of this is called a “crick in the neck.” In rare cases a stiff neck is caused by meningitis. If your stiff neck is accompanied by fever, chills, malaise, vomiting or nausea, you should seek immediate medical attention.
Even with these natural remedies below, take it easy as your stiff neck loosens up to avoid re-injury.
Usually when you have a stiff neck, you don’t really have time to rest, but rest is critical if you have a stiff neck. Stressing you neck when it is already compromised can make it worse and healing may take longer.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Raw and organic apple cider vinegar makes a great poultice for a stiff neck. Soak a cloth with apple cider vinegar and apply it to you neck, warm or cool, depending upon what temperature is soothing to you.
3. Castor Oil
Castor oil can be used topically for pain. Massage castor oil into your neck muscles and spine.
A heating pad or warm rice sock can help to relieve the pain and stiffness. If your stiff neck was caused by tensing the neck due to cold, this will be an especially comforting remedy.
Magnesium is necessary for your muscles and helps them to relax and repair. You can take a magnesium supplement, apply magnesium oil to your neck, or take an Epsom salt bath. Any of the three will help supply the magnesium to your body. Magnesium oil, sprayed onto your neck, will get the magnesium where it needs to be in the most timely fashion.
6. Myofascial Release Stretches
Myofascial Release stretches are one of the most effective ways to bring relief to a stiff neck. Myofascial Release is a hands-on technique that involves applying light sustained pressure into the myofascial connective tissue.
These Earth Clinic videos featuring Erica Reid, a Myofascial Release Therapist from Los Angeles, will help you get started at home.
Preventing a Stiff Neck in the Future
If you are prone to a stiff neck, you may need to evaluate your sleeping situation. You may need to adjust the position in which you sleep or try a different type of pillow.
If cold weather is linked to your stiff neck, you may need to take up wearing scarves or tutlenecks. Keeping the neck warm will help you not to tense the neck mucles due to cold and reduce your risk of neck stiffness.
If you do not sleep deeply, your muscles may be tense while you sleep, putting you at higher risk for a stiff neck.
If this is the case for you, try one of the following:
- A cup of chamomile tea before bed to relax you.
- A tablespoon of blackstrap molasses in the evening. Blackstrap molasses has magnesium for your muscles and other important nutrients.
- See our Insomnia Page to get more ideas to improve your sleep.
Be Careful with Pain Medication
While it may be your first inclination to take medication to relieve your pain, taking pain medication can mask the pain and make you more likely to overuse your neck and make your injury worse. If you take pain medication, be sure that you do not overdo activity because “you feel better.” That feeling may not last once the pain medication has worn off, and in fact, may be worse.
Do you have a natural remedy for a stiff neck? We would love to hear about it!
Additional Pages of Interest:
Neck Pain Remedies