How To Treat A Stiff Neck In 60 Seconds

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How To Treat A Stiff Neck In 60 Seconds
Because nobody has time to deal with neck cramps. – It’s 7 am. Time to start your day! You go in for a big stretch whenyeowch! Neck pain! A knot in any muscle is a nuisance, but it’s especially frustrating when the offender is lodged in your neck or upper back. (Turning your head should not induce searing pain) And while getting a massage can work out the kink, chances are you don’t have time on your way to work.

Relax (well, figuratively speaking): You can actually knead away the cramp yourself with this quick routine, courtesy of wellness physical therapist Allyn Kakuk. Here’s how: Step 1: Find the sore spot. If it’s on the right side of your neck or upper back, place your right hand on the area. If it’s on the left side, use your left hand.

Step 2: Push into the knot with your fingers, using firm pressure. Beware: This may smart. “But it should be a good hurt that you can tolerate, not a sharp pain,” says Kakuk. If you can’t quite reach it, a tennis ball or other prop can do the work for you—just lean against a wall for leverage.

  • Step 3: Turn your head slightly in the direction opposite the cramp, and bend it diagonally, as if you were trying to touch your armpit with your chin.
  • Activating the cramped muscle, when partnered with pressure, can help relax the kink.
  • Step 4: Repeat steps 1 through 3 about 20 times in a row.
  • Afterward, give your neck and upper back a nice, long, just-got-out-of-bed style stretch.

Complete the series throughout the day to keep your muscle relaxed. Sourced from Prevention,

Exercise Right Week Exercise Right Week is an annual campaign in Australia that aims to promote the importance of safe and effective exercise. Read more

Can a stiff neck heal overnight?

Remedies for a Stiff Neck After Waking Up – Some remedies for a stiff neck in the morning include:

Ice or heat therapy. Applying ice shortly after a neck strain may help limit the swelling. Ice applications tend to be best for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Heat therapy, such as taking a warm shower or using a heating pad, helps loosen and relax the muscles, which may also reduce pain and improve range of motion. See Heat Therapy Cold Therapy Over-the-counter pain medication. If the pain and stiffness are bad enough to significantly limit movement in one or more directions, taking an over-the-counter medication may be advised. Some examples could include ibuprofen, naproxen, or acetaminophen. See Medications for Back Pain and Neck Pain Gentle stretching or self-massage. After finding some initial pain relief, further loosening of the muscles and ligaments may be achieved with some stretching and/or massage. Some stretches cannot fully be completed due to the neck’s pain and stiffness, which is OK. The goal is to gradually increase the flexibility without causing more pain. Similarly, the hand and fingers can be used to massage the neck’s sore area so long as it does not increase pain. See 4 Easy Stretches for a Stiff Neck Pain assessment and activity modification. After being awake for a while and applying these stiff neck remedies, an assessment can be made as to whether the pain and stiffness are improving. If neck stiffness still prevents significant amounts of movement in one or more directions, or is still exhibiting sharp or burning pain, it is advised to avoid any strenuous activities for the day and limit movements that increase pain. Walking and moving around are still encouraged, because full bed rest may cause the stiff neck and pain to last longer.

Watch: 3 Evening Tips for Sleeping with Neck Pain Video Sometimes a stiff neck might start to improve shortly after applying treatments, but other times it might take a day or two before noticeable pain relief is achieved. A stiff neck typically resolves within a week’s time.

How long does it take to loosen a stiff neck?

Neck pain caused by muscle tension or strain usually goes away on its own within a few days. Neck pain that continues longer than several weeks often responds to exercise, stretching, physical therapy and massage. Sometimes, you may need steroid injections or even surgery to relieve neck pain. To help relieve discomfort, try these self-care tips:

  • Ice or heat. Apply cold, such as an ice pack or ice wrapped in a towel, for up to 15 minutes several times a day during the first 48 hours. After that, use heat. Try taking a warm shower or using a heating pad on the low setting.
  • Stretching. Stretch your neck muscles by turning your neck gently from side to side and up and down.
  • Massage. During a massage, a trained practitioner kneads the muscles in the neck. Massage might help people with chronic neck pain from tightened muscles.
  • Good posture. Practice good posture, especially if you sit at a computer all day. Keep your back supported, and make sure that your computer monitor is at eye level. When using cell phones, tablets and other small screens, keep your head up and hold the device straight out rather than bending your neck to look down at the device.

Why is stiff neck so painful?

Stiffness and pain in the neck usually result from overuse, injury, or sleeping in an unusual position. Stretching, using warm or cold packs, and over-the-counter medication can often relieve it. But, sometimes there is a more serious cause, such as meningitis.

The neck contains muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones. These work together to support the head and allow it to move in many directions. A stiff neck often occurs when one of the muscles becomes strained or tense. Stiffness can also develop if one or more of the vertebrae is injured. A stiff neck may become painful when a person tries to move their neck or head.

Usually, a stiff neck results from a minor injury or incident. People can often relieve the stiffness at home. In rare cases, however, it can be a sign of a serious illness that requires medical treatment. Stiffness usually occurs when the neck muscles are overused, stretched too far, or strained.

What are the red flags for neck pain?

Symptom or finding Clinical significance
Shock-like paresthesia (Lhermitte’s phenomenon) with neck flexion Suggestive of cervical cord compression or multiple sclerosis
Fever or chills Suggestive of infection
History of injection drug use Raises concern for cervical spine or disc infection

When you can’t turn your neck?

Wry neck – not a cause for a wry smile – The medical term for this is ‘torticollis ‘, when the neck gets stuck with your head twisted to one side. It may be due to strain of the muscles or ligaments of the neck, making the muscles go into spasm. Sleeping in a draught or an uncomfortable position may bring it on.

Can you massage a stiff neck away?

5 stiff neck remedies you can do at home – There are several ways you can treat and manage your stiff neck symptoms. You can try the following techniques to regain mobility and healing quickly:

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Massage — Massaging your neck and its surrounding tissue can help reduce the tension in your muscles that may be making your neck stiff. It can also improve blood flow to your neck, which can also relieve tension. You can try applying massages yourself, ask a partner to massage your neck, or visit a professional physical therapy clinic for help. Someone like a physical therapist can locate problem areas that would be difficult to reach on your own and apply, Ice and heat — can help reduce the inflammation in your neck that may be causing stiffness and pain. You can apply ice a few times a day for a couple of days to help keep the inflammation at bay. After a few days of icing, you can alternate cooling and heating the area. Heat can help soothe your sore muscles and reduce pain. Stretch — Since a stiff neck is often caused by strained muscles, you can help encourage your muscle strain to heal and prevent further injury by doing some simple neck stretches once or twice a day. To start, you can try slowly rolling your head in a clockwise direction 10 times, switching directions for 10 more rolls. Combining this stretch with other stretches and exercises can strengthen your muscles, improve their flexibility, and reduce pain. Physical therapy exercises — It may be beneficial to see a physical therapist to establish an at-home exercise routine for your stiff neck. Physical therapy exercises can be especially helpful if you have been living with neck stiffness over a long period of time. Most importantly, at-home exercises can help you keep up with your neck stiffness and make sure that it doesn’t get worse over time or between PT sessions. Determine the root cause — There are many root causes that may be behind your neck stiffness and pain. It could be rooted in how your neck is positioned while you’re sleeping. How good (or bad) your posture is when sitting at your computer could dictate how stiff and painful your neck is. And these are just two common sources of neck stiffness and discomfort. Paying attention to when your neck feels stiff or painful can help you determine the root cause of your symptoms. However, if you just can’t figure out the source of your symptoms, a physical therapist can help you.

Does ibuprofen help a stiff neck?

Over-the-counter medications – Minor neck strains may get better after a day or so of over-the-counter pain-relieving medication. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen help reduce inflammation and decrease discomfort. Acetaminophen and naproxen are other over-the-counter medicines that can effectively relieve pain.

What’s the longest a stiff neck can last?

Skip to content A stiff neck is a common condition that can last for a few days or even weeks. It is caused by the muscles in the neck becoming tight and sore due to tension, stress, or an injury. Symptoms of a stiff neck include pain when moving the head, difficulty turning the head from side to side, and tenderness in the neck muscles.

Treatment for this condition includes rest, heat therapy, over-the-counter medications, physical therapy exercises, and massage. In some cases, a stiff neck can be relieved within a few days with proper treatment and rest. A stiff neck is caused by a number of factors. It can be associated with injury to the cervical vertebrae, such as whiplash or car crash injuries.

It can also result from a sudden rise in blood pressure, which has been linked to many conditions, including migraine headaches and cardiovascular disease. Stiff neck is a condition that causes pain and discomfort in the neck area. It can be caused by several factors such as muscle tension, poor posture, stress, physical injury, or even sleeping in an uncomfortable position.

  1. In some instances, it may also be caused by underlying medical conditions such as arthritis or fibromyalgia.
  2. It is important to identify and address the underlying cause of stiff neck in order to reduce the pain and discomfort associated with it.
  3. Identifying the triggers that lead to this condition can help you take preventive measures to avoid them and reduce your risk of developing stiff neck in the future.

Here are some of the most common triggers that can lead to stiff neck: Posture Poor posture often leads to a condition called cervical spinal stenosis. This is when the cervical vertebrae in your spine become restricted to narrow, causing pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots.

Over time, this can cause abnormal bone growth and deformity, which may interfere with proper range of motion in your neck. Stress Stress causes people to tense up their muscles and tighten their jaw for hours at a time. This tightness in particular can be particularly damaging for neck muscles and joints because it puts pressure on them, compressing the soft tissue and damaging the underlying bone.

Repetitive Activities Repetitive activities that involve holding your head in a particular position for extended periods of time, such as playing video games or driving a vehicle, can cause stress to accumulate and lead to neck pain. Injury Injuries to the cervical spine can happen from everyday wear-and-tear, such as car accidents or sports injuries.

Pain in the arm or hand that worsens with use of the fingers Pain experienced when carrying something heavy in one arm for too long Pain in the neck, arm, or foot that is worsened while raising the arm or leg Pain in feet and toes that worsens when standing on tiptoes

During a physical examination, your doctor may ask questions about how long you have had your symptoms for and what activities make them worse. If there is evidence of nerve damage, a doctor may order imaging tests such as an MRI or CT scan to look for potential damage.

How should I sleep if my neck hurts?

What is the best sleeping position for neck pain? – Two sleeping positions are easiest on the neck: on your side or on your back. If you sleep on your back, choose a rounded to support the natural curve of your neck, with a flatter pillow cushioning your head.

Try using a feather pillow, which easily conforms to the shape of the neck. Feather pillows will collapse over time, however, and should be replaced every year or so. Another option is a traditionally shaped pillow with “memory foam” that conforms to the contour of your head and neck. Some cervical pillows are also made with memory foam. Manufacturers of memory-foam pillows claim they help foster proper spinal alignment. Avoid using too high or stiff a pillow, which keeps the neck flexed overnight and can result in morning pain and stiffness. If you sleep on your side, keep your spine straight by using a pillow that is higher under your neck than your head. When you are riding in a plane, train, or car, or even just reclining to watch TV, a horseshoe-shaped pillow can support your neck and prevent your head from dropping to one side if you doze. If the pillow is too large behind the neck, however, it will force your head forward.

Sleeping on your stomach is tough on your spine, because the back is arched and your neck is turned to the side. Preferred sleeping positions are often set early in life and can be tough to change, not to mention that we don’t often wake up in the same position in which we fell asleep. Still, it’s worth trying to start the night sleeping on your back or side in a well-supported, healthy position.

Why has my neck been stiff for 3 days?

Causes – Because the neck supports the weight of the head, it can be at risk of injuries and conditions that cause pain and restrict motion. Neck pain causes include:

Muscle strains. Overuse, such as too many hours hunched over a computer or a smartphone, often triggers muscle strains. Even minor things, such as reading in bed, can strain neck muscles. Worn joints. As with other joints in the body, neck joints tend to wear with age. In response to this wear and tear, the body often forms bone spurs that can affect joint motion and cause pain. Nerve compression. Herniated disks or bone spurs in the vertebrae of the neck can press on the nerves branching out from the spinal cord. Injuries. Rear-end auto collisions often result in whiplash injury. This occurs when the head jerks backward and then forward, straining the soft tissues of the neck. Diseases. Certain diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis or cancer, can cause neck pain.

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How do you know if neck pain is serious?

Neck pain is pain that starts in the neck and can be associated with radiating pain down one or both of the arms. Neck pain can come from a number of disorders or diseases that involve any of the tissues in the neck, nerves, bones, joints, ligaments or muscles.

  • The neck region of the spinal column, the cervical spine, consists of seven bones (C1-C7 vertebrae ), which are separated from one another by intervertebral discs.
  • These discs allow the spine to move freely and act as shock absorbers during activity.
  • Each vertebral bone has an opening forming a continuous hollow longitudinal space, which runs the whole length of the back.

This space, called the spinal canal, is the area through which the spinal cord and nerve bundles pass. The spinal cord is bathed in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and surrounded by a protective layer called the dura, a leathery sac. At each vertebral level, a pair of spinal nerves exit through small openings called foramina (one to the left and one to the right).

These nerves supply the muscles, skin and tissues of the body and thus provide sensation and movement to all parts of the body. The delicate spinal cord and nerves are protected by suspension in the spinal fluid in the dural sac, then further by the bony vertebrae. The bony vertebrae are further supported by strong ligaments and muscles that bind them and allow for safe movement.

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Neck pain may be caused by arthritis, disc degeneration, narrowing of the spinal canal, muscle inflammation, strain or trauma. In rare cases, it may be a sign of cancer or meningitis. For serious neck problems, a primary care physician and often a specialist, such as a neurosurgeon, should be consulted to make an accurate diagnosis and prescribe treatment.

Age, injury, poor posture or diseases such as arthritis can lead to degeneration of the bones or joints of the cervical spine, causing disc herniation or bone spurs to form. Sudden severe injury to the neck may also contribute to disc herniation, whiplash, blood vessel destruction, vertebral injury and in extreme cases may result in permanent paralysis.

Herniated discs or bone spurs may cause a narrowing of the spinal canal, or the small openings through which spinal nerve roots exit, putting pressure on spinal cord or the nerves. Pressure on the spinal cord in the cervical region can be a serious problem, because virtually all of the nerves to the rest of the body have to pass through the neck to reach their final destination (arms, chest, abdomen, legs).

This can potentially compromise the function of many important organs. Pressure on a nerve can result in numbness, pain or weakness to the area in the arm the nerve supplies. Cervical stenosis occurs when the spinal canal narrows and compresses the spinal cord and is most frequently caused by degeneration associated with aging.

(See also: AANS Cervical Spine Patient Page ). The discs in the spine that separate and cushion vertebrae may dry out. As a result, the space between the vertebrae shrinks and the discs lose their ability to act as shock absorbers. At the same time, the bones and ligaments that make up the spine become less pliable and thicken.

These changes result in a narrowing of the spinal canal. In addition, the degenerative changes associated with cervical stenosis can affect the vertebrae by contributing to the growth of bone spurs that compress the nerve roots. Mild stenosis can be treated conservatively for extended periods of time as long as the symptoms are restricted to neck pain.

Severe stenosis may impinge the spinal cord causing injury and requires referral to a neurosurgeon. Neck injury symptoms include neck stiffness, shoulder or arm pain, headache, facial pain and dizziness. Pain from a motor vehicle injury may be caused by tears in muscles or injuries to the joints between vertebrae.

Pain in the arm Numbness or weakness in the arm or forearm Tingling in the fingers or hand Difficulty with balance and walking Weakness in the arms or legs

Those with neck pain may be referred to a neurosurgeon because of pain in the neck, shoulder or tingling and numbness in the arms or weakness. Neurosurgeons should be consulted for neck pain if:

It occurs after an injury or blow to the head Fever or headache accompanies the neck pain Stiff neck prevents the patient from touching chin to chest Pain shoots down one arm There is tingling, numbness or weakness in the arms or hands Neck symptoms associated with leg weakness or loss of coordination in arms or legs The pain does not respond to over-the-counter pain medication Pain does not improve after a week

Diagnosis is made by a neurosurgeon based on patient history, symptoms, a physical examination and results of diagnostic studies, if necessary. Some patients may be treated conservatively and then undergo imaging studies if medication and physical therapy are ineffective. These tests may include:

Computed Tomography Scan (CT or CAT scan) Discography Electromyography (EMG) Nerve Conduction Studies (NCS) Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Myelogram Selective Nerve Root Block X-rays

Most causes of neck pain are not life threatening and resolve with time and conservative medical treatment. Determining a treatment strategy depends mainly on identifying the location and cause of the pain. Although neck pain can be quite debilitating and painful, nonsurgical management can alleviate many symptoms.

  • The doctor may prescribe medications to reduce the pain or inflammation and muscle relaxants to allow time for healing to occur.
  • Reducing physical activities or wearing a cervical collar may help provide support for the spine, reduce mobility and decrease pain and irritation.
  • Trigger point injection, including corticosteroids, can temporarily relieve pain.

Occasionally, epidural steroids may be recommended. Conservative treatment options may continue for six to eight weeks. If the patient is experiencing any weakness or numbness in the arms or legs, seek medical attention immediately. If the patient has had any trauma and is now experiencing neck pain with weakness or numbness, urgent consultation with a neurosurgeon is recommended.

Conservative therapy is not helping The patient experiences a decrease in function due to persistent pain The patient experiences progressive neurological symptoms involving the arms and legs The patient experiences difficulty with balance or walking The patient is in otherwise good health

There are several different surgical procedures which can be utilized, the choice is influenced by the specifics of each case. Also, there are options for approaches from the front of the neck or the back of the neck. In many cases, spinal fusion is performed, though in some cases, simple decompression or artificial disc replacement may be employed.

  1. Spinal fusion is an operation that creates a solid union between two or more vertebrae.
  2. Various devices (like screws or plates) may be used to enhance fusion and support unstable areas of the cervical spine.
  3. This procedure may assist in strengthening and stabilizing the spine and may thereby help to alleviate severe and chronic neck pain.

Factors that help determine the type of surgical treatment include the specifics of the disc disease and the presence or absence of pressure on the spinal cord or spinal nerve roots. Other factors include age, how long the patient has had the disorder, other medical conditions and if there has been previous cervical spine surgery.

If the patient smokes, he or she should try to quit. Smoking damages the structures and architecture of the spine and slows down the healing process. If overweight, the patient should try to lose weight. Both smoking and obesity have been shown to have a negative impact on spinal fusion surgery outcome.

The benefits of surgery should always be weighed carefully against its risks. Although a large percentage of neck pain patients report significant pain relief after surgery, there is no guarantee that surgery will help every individual. If neck pain resolves with non-surgical, conservative treatment, follow-up will likely be on an as-needed basis or if symptoms return.

If a patient undergoes surgery, follow-up is specific to each type of procedure. AANS Patient Pages are authored by neurosurgical professionals, with the goal of providing useful information to the public. Alex P. Michael, MD Important The AANS does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products or physicians referenced in these patient fact sheets.

This information provided is an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific neurosurgical advice or assistance should consult his or her neurosurgeon, or locate one in your area through the AANS’ Find a Board-certified Neurosurgeon online tool.

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When I wake up I can’t move my neck?

The obvious culprit is that you’ve slept in an awkward position. However, a number of other factors may also be at play. Underlying muscle strain or tension – perhaps from overdoing it at the gym the day before, or because you sit slumped at a desk at work – may cause things to seize up overnight.

Should you sleep on the side of your neck that hurts?

Research shows that sleeping on your back or side may ease neck pain. A medium-firm mattress and a supportive pillow can help keep your neck in a neutral position, preventing new or worsening pain.

What is the difference between neck pain and stiff neck?

When your neck is sore, you may have trouble moving it, especially to one side. Many people describe this as having a stiff neck. If neck pain involves nerves, such as a muscle spasm pinching on a nerve or a slipped disk pressing on a nerve, you may feel numbness, tingling, or weakness in your arm, hand, or elsewhere.

How long does neck pain last from sleeping wrong?

How Long Does Neck Pain Last From Sleeping Wrong? – While a stiff neck may start improving after stretching, many times it can take a day or more before you notice relief. Typically, a stiff neck will resolve itself within a week.

What is the best painkiller for neck pain?

Pain Relief Medications – Some neck pain may be due to inflammation in the discs of the spine and the surrounding nerves and joints. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) alleviate pain by reducing inflammation. NSAIDs include ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin, all of which are available over-the-counter.

Why you shouldn’t ignore neck pain?

Why you shouldn’t ignore neck pain – While neck pain can originate in your cervical spine because of injury, degeneration, and poor habits, it can also occur because of underlying medical conditions, like:

Pinched nerve Rheumatoid arthritis Heart disease Infection Cancer

Whether your neck pain starts because of an injury or an underlying condition, your symptoms can spread and impact your quality of life. For example, in addition to the discomfort, neck pain can lead to headaches, difficulty sleeping or turning your head, and weakness, numbness, or tingling in your shoulder and arm.

How many days should neck pain last?

Introduction – Acute neck pain is very common and usually nothing to worry about. Tense muscles are often to blame, for instance after working on the computer for a long time, being exposed to a cold draft, or sleeping in an awkward position. But in many cases there’s no clear cause.

Acute neck pain usually goes away within about one to two weeks. In some people it comes back again in certain situations, such as after work or intensive sports. If the symptoms last longer than three months, it’s considered to be chronic neck pain. Psychological stress is frequently a factor if the pain becomes chronic.

Some people who have neck pain avoid doing physical activities for fear of making things worse or injuring themselves. But there is no reason to worry as long as no warning signs of more serious problems arise. It’s even a good idea to stay active and carry on as usual despite the pain.

What side should I sleep on with a stiff neck?

How to sleep with a stiff neck and shoulder or back. To avoid aggravating a sore shoulder, it’s a good idea to sleep either on your opposite side or your back.

Can you massage a stiff neck away?

5 stiff neck remedies you can do at home – There are several ways you can treat and manage your stiff neck symptoms. You can try the following techniques to regain mobility and healing quickly:

Massage — Massaging your neck and its surrounding tissue can help reduce the tension in your muscles that may be making your neck stiff. It can also improve blood flow to your neck, which can also relieve tension. You can try applying massages yourself, ask a partner to massage your neck, or visit a professional physical therapy clinic for help. Someone like a physical therapist can locate problem areas that would be difficult to reach on your own and apply soft tissue mobilization techniques, Ice and heat — Applying ice can help reduce the inflammation in your neck that may be causing stiffness and pain. You can apply ice a few times a day for a couple of days to help keep the inflammation at bay. After a few days of icing, you can alternate cooling and heating the area. Heat can help soothe your sore muscles and reduce pain. Stretch — Since a stiff neck is often caused by strained muscles, you can help encourage your muscle strain to heal and prevent further injury by doing some simple neck stretches once or twice a day. To start, you can try slowly rolling your head in a clockwise direction 10 times, switching directions for 10 more rolls. Combining this stretch with other stretches and exercises can strengthen your muscles, improve their flexibility, and reduce pain. Physical therapy exercises — It may be beneficial to see a physical therapist to establish an at-home exercise routine for your stiff neck. Physical therapy exercises can be especially helpful if you have been living with neck stiffness over a long period of time. Most importantly, at-home exercises can help you keep up with your neck stiffness and make sure that it doesn’t get worse over time or between PT sessions. Determine the root cause — There are many root causes that may be behind your neck stiffness and pain. It could be rooted in how your neck is positioned while you’re sleeping. How good (or bad) your posture is when sitting at your computer could dictate how stiff and painful your neck is. And these are just two common sources of neck stiffness and discomfort. Paying attention to when your neck feels stiff or painful can help you determine the root cause of your symptoms. However, if you just can’t figure out the source of your symptoms, a physical therapist can help you.

What is the best painkiller for neck pain?

Pain Relief Medications – Some neck pain may be due to inflammation in the discs of the spine and the surrounding nerves and joints. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) alleviate pain by reducing inflammation. NSAIDs include ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin, all of which are available over-the-counter.

Why can’t I turn my neck left?

Wry neck – not a cause for a wry smile – The medical term for this is ‘torticollis ‘, when the neck gets stuck with your head twisted to one side. It may be due to strain of the muscles or ligaments of the neck, making the muscles go into spasm. Sleeping in a draught or an uncomfortable position may bring it on.