Neck Crick? These Stretches Can Help!


neck-crick

Posted by Dr. Scott Wilson | 01-Apr-2023

  • A neck crick can be a painful and uncomfortable condition that can result from poor posture, repetitive movements, or other factors.
  • Safe and regular stretching exercises, such as chin tucks, side neck stretches, and shoulder rolls, can help alleviate neck cricks by releasing the tension, improving blood flow, and increasing flexibility in the neck muscles.
  • Other lifestyle changes, such as maintaining good posture, taking breaks from sitting and screen time, using ergonomic tools or furniture, and sleeping on a supportive pillow and mattress, can also help prevent or minimize neck cricks. Remember to listen to your body and seek professional help if your neck crick persists or worsens.

If you’ve ever experienced a “neck crick,” you know just how uncomfortable and painful it can be. This term is often used to describe sudden pain, stiffness, or soreness in the neck that may be accompanied by difficulty moving or turning your head. Neck cricks can be caused by a variety of factors, such as poor posture, overuse or strain of the neck muscles, sudden movements or jerks, sleeping in an awkward position, or stress.

If you’re experiencing a neck crick, an effective way to alleviate the condition is with stretching. Stretching can help release tension, improve circulation, and increase flexibility in your neck muscles. Not only can stretching be an effective way to reduce neck cricks, but it can also be a preventative measure that helps to keep your neck healthy and pain-free.

Before reviewing some of the best stretches to help alleviate neck cricks, let’s first discuss the anatomy of the neck and the importance of proper alignment. Then, we’ll identify some common triggers of neck cricks and explain how stretching can be beneficial for neck pain relief.

What Exactly is a Neck Crick?

The neck, also known as the cervical spine, is composed of seven vertebrae that begin at the base of the skull and extend down to the thoracic spine. The vertebrae are separated by intervertebral discs that act as shock absorbers and facilitate movement.

A neck crick is a common condition characterized by sudden, sharp pain and stiffness in the neck. The term “crick” refers to a muscle spasm that occurs when your neck is twisted or turned into an awkward position, causing the muscles to contract and become painful.

As mentioned above, it can be caused by a variety of factors, including poor posture, repetitive strain, sudden movements, sleeping in an awkward position, or underlying medical conditions like arthritis or degenerative disc disease.

Neck Crick Symptoms

When experiencing a neck crick, you may feel a sudden, sharp pain and stiffness in your neck. You may find that your neck is painful on one side or that the pain radiates to your shoulders and upper back. And you may also experience difficulty turning your head and a limited range of motion, which can make it challenging to perform everyday activities.

To treat neck cricks, you may need to rest, use ice or heat therapy, take pain medications or muscle relaxants, and do gentle stretching exercises. You may also benefit from physiotherapy or chiropractic treatment to help alleviate pain and improve your range of motion. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to correct underlying structural problems. 

Alleviating Neck Cricks with Effective Stretching 

Neck stretches can be very effective in alleviating neck cricks. When done properly and regularly, stretching can help release tension, improve blood flow, and increase flexibility in your neck muscles. This can reduce your level of discomfort and pain. Stretching can also help to improve your posture, which can also help prevent future neck cricks. Here are some stretches that may help alleviate neck cricks: 

  1. Chin Tucks: Stand or sit with your back straight and your shoulders relaxed. Slowly and gently tuck your chin towards your chest, as if making a double chin. Hold for a few seconds, then release.
  2. Neck Rotations: Stand or sit with your back straight and your shoulders relaxed. Slowly and gently turn your head to the left, as far as is comfortable. Hold for a few seconds, then turn your head to the right and hold for a few seconds. Repeat several times.
  3. Shoulder Rolls: Stand or sit with your back straight and your shoulders relaxed. Shrug your shoulders up towards your ears, then roll them backwards in a circular motion. Repeat several times, then reverse the direction of the circle.
  4. Upper Trapezius Stretch: Stand or sit with your back straight and your shoulders relaxed. Reach your right arm up and over your head, placing your right hand on the left side of your head. Gently pull your head to the right, feeling a stretch in the left side of your neck. Hold for a few seconds, then release and repeat on the other side.
  5. Levator Scapulae Stretch: Stand or sit with your back straight and your shoulders relaxed. Reach your right arm behind your back and grasp your left wrist. Gently pull your left arm downwards, feeling a stretch in the right side of your neck. Hold for a few seconds, then release and repeat on the other side.

It’s important to note that the effectiveness of neck stretches may depend on the underlying cause of your neck crick. In some cases, stretches alone may not be enough to fully alleviate your condition. It’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional if you are experiencing persistent or severe neck discomfort.

Preventing Neck Cricks: Seven Tips for Good Neck Health

Taking care of your neck is essential to prevent neck cricks, which can cause sudden and sharp pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion. Here are seven tips to help maintain good neck health:

  1. Practice Good Posture: Maintaining good posture throughout the day can help reduce strain on your neck muscles. When sitting, make sure your feet are flat on the ground and your back is straight. When standing, distribute your weight evenly on both feet.
  2. Take Breaks: If you spend a lot of time sitting at a desk or using electronic devices, take frequent breaks to stretch and move around. This can help prevent muscle tension and stiffness in your neck.
  3. Use A Supportive Pillow: A supportive pillow can help keep your neck in a neutral position while you sleep, reducing strain on your neck muscles.
  4. Stay Active: Regular exercise can help improve your overall posture and reduce tension in your neck muscles. Choose low-impact activities that don’t place too much strain on your neck, such as walking, swimming, or yoga.
  5. Stretch Regularly: Stretching your neck and shoulder muscles regularly can help prevent muscle tension and reduce the risk of neck cricks. Focus on gentle stretches that don’t cause pain or discomfort.
  6. Avoid Carrying Heavy Bags: Carrying heavy bags on one shoulder can place strain on your neck and shoulder muscles. Use a backpack or a bag with a cross-body strap instead.
  7. Manage Stress: Stress can cause muscle tension and increase your risk of neck cricks. Practice stress-reducing techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga.

FAQs on Neck Cricks

Q1: Does stretching help neck cricks?

Yes, stretching is indeed an effective remedy for neck cricks. As discussed, neck cricks are often caused by a muscle spasm on stiffness in the muscles surrounding your neck. This is mostly caused by poor posture, muscle strain, or injury. Stretching exercises can help to relieve the tension and stiffness in the affected muscles, which in turn can reduce pain and improve range of motion. Of course, it’s important to note that stretching should be complemented with other self-care measures such as applying heat or ice to the affected area, taking over-the-counter pain relievers, and avoiding activities that aggravate the pain. 

Q2: How do you relieve a crick in your neck?

To relieve a crick in your neck, you can try a few things. One of the most effective ways is to gently stretch the neck muscles with exercises like neck tilts, neck rotations, and shoulder shrugs. Applying heat or cold to the affected area can also help. You can use a heating pad or a warm towel to increase blood flow and relax the muscles, or an ice pack to reduce inflammation and numb the area.

Q3: Is a neck crick a serious condition?

In most cases, neck cricks are not serious, but they can get really uncomfortable and can affect your daily activities. However, in some rare cases, a neck crick can be a symptom of a more serious underlying condition. These conditions include cervical herniated disc, spinal stenosis, or a pinched nerve. If you experience symptoms like severe pain, weakness, or numbness in the arms, hands, or legs you should seek medical attention.

You Don’t Have to Live with Neck Pain

Neck cricks can be a painful and uncomfortable condition, but they can often be alleviated through safe stretching exercises and other lifestyle changes. Incorporating simple stretches into your daily routine can help release tension, improve blood flow, and increase flexibility in the neck muscles, all of which can contribute to a healthier, happier neck.

Additionally, taking steps to maintain good posture, take breaks from sitting and screen time, and sleep on a supportive pillow and mattress can help prevent future neck cricks from developing.

Remember to listen to your body and seek medical attention if your neck crick persists or worsens. With these tips, you can keep your neck feeling its best and prevent discomfort from interfering with your daily life.

If you or someone you know is struggling with neck pain, contact us today and let our team of highly skilled Physiotherapists and Chiropractors show you why, at Physiomed, Healthier Starts Here.


Dr. Scott Wilson

Dr. Scott Wilson is the Founder & Chairman of Physiomed; one of Canada’s largest franchised networks of inter-disciplinary healthcare clinics. A graduate of Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, Dr. Wilson founded Physiomed in 1994 and has since grown Physiomed to over 30 clinics in Southern Ontario and British Columbia. With hundreds of practitioners from over a dozen disciplines, Dr. Wilson and Physiomed have helped over 100,000 Canadians with physiotherapy, chiropractic, massage therapy, orthotic therapy, compression therapy and clinical conditioning as part of a program of rehabilitation and health optimization. In addition to helping patients improve their physical and mental well-being, Dr. Wilson has also mentored hundreds of practitioners to provide better care while enjoying more fulfilling careers. He is also a keynote speaker on many health related topics including how physiotherapy, chiropractic and health & wellness treatment can help with stress, weight loss, and unlocking the true potential within to achieve lasting physical well-being.

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