How to Treat a Crick in Your Neck – A heating pad and stretching are all some people need to get over a crick in the neck, says Dr. Anderson. Other times, you may benefit from physical therapy or targeted exercises. Here are common ways your healthcare provider might suggest treating a crick in your neck:
- Use a heating pad. “We’re trying to loosen up or relax stiff muscles or joints, and the heating pad is really helpful for that,” says Dr. Anderson. Use the heating pad for 20 minutes on, and 30 minutes off. “Check your skin after the first two minutes to make sure the heat is not too much,” says Dr. Anderson.
- Stretch tight muscles. “Your body tightens muscles because it’s trying to protect the area,” says Dr. Anderson. “By stretching, you’re telling your body, ‘I don’t want this muscle to be tight anymore. It’s okay to move this.'” See below for some good exercises.
- Physical therapy. This is typically the first nonsurgical treatment doctors prescribe for neck pain, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. A physical therapist will design exercises targeted to your specific issues, strengthening and stretching key areas, says Dr. Anderson. “For example, if the postural muscles in the upper back are involved, we’d start by building those up, so we have a better base of support for the neck.” You can see a physical therapist in person or use a program like Hinge Health to access a PT via telehealth/video visit.
- Massage. Research shows that massage therapy provides immediate relief to neck and shoulder pain by increasing blood flow, loosening connective tissues, and improving muscle flexibility.
- Strengthen your neck. People tend to stretch and forget about strengthening, says Dr. Anderson. “We think of our neck as this fragile thing that doesn’t need to be stronger, but isometric exercises can strengthen our neck and make it less vulnerable.” Isometric strengthening involves engaging the muscle against resistance while holding it in a steady position. Hold each move below for 5 seconds, doing 10 repetitions. When you’re ready, progress to holding each for 10 seconds. Do these daily, or at least a few times a week.
- Put your hand on the side of your head and push into it, as if bending your head toward your shoulder. Repeat on the other side.
- Put a hand on your forehead and look down while pushing into it (to improve flexion).
- Put your hand on the back of your head and look up while pushing into it (to improve extension)
- Put your hand against your temple and turn into it (to improve rotation). Repeat on the other side
- Pain medications. NSAIDs such as naproxen (Aleve), ibuprofen (Advil), and aspirin are first-line remedies for neck pain. For acute pain, your doctor may prescribe them in combination with other medications, such as acetaminophen, oral corticosteroids, or muscle relaxants.
- Modify activity. You may want to adjust your usual activities for a couple of days to give overworked muscles a break. Remember: Healing happens mostly from moving, not resting. Exercise, stretches, and daily activity are key to long-term recovery and preventing future pain.
Here are some exercises that help relieve stiff, painful neck muscles. “I encourage people to incorporate them into posture breaks during their workday, in the morning and afternoon, so they take a break from holding their posture or hunching over a computer,” says Dr.
- Anderson. The information contained in these videos is intended to be used for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice or treatment for any specific condition.
- Hinge Health is not your healthcare provider and is not responsible for any injury sustained or exacerbated by your use of or participation in these exercises.
Please consult with your healthcare provider with any questions you may have about your medical condition or treatment.
- 1 How long will a crick in the neck last?
- 2 Will a crick in the neck go away on its own?
- 3 Is it safe to pop a crick in your neck?
- 4 What is the fastest way to get rid of a crick?
- 5 How do you stretch a cricked neck?
- 6 Should I massage a crick in my neck?
How long will a crick in the neck last?
In most cases, your crick in the neck should go away in 1 to 2 weeks. The following treatment options may help you heal faster. It’s important to avoid activities that can irritate your neck. Examples include lifting, high-impact exercises, and certain sports, like tennis, golf, or contact sports.
Can you massage a crick away?
Start a Light Massage Having another person do this could be even more beneficial. You’ll want to take your fingers and do gentle circular motions over the stiff area. Don’t go too hard or too deep. You just want to try and relax the muscles.
Will a crick in the neck go away on its own?
Can I Treat Neck Stiffness and Cricks at Home? – In most cases, a crick in the neck will go away within a few days without the need to visit your doctor or chiropractor. While bothersome and sometimes painful, the home remedies listed below may help alleviate neck stiffness and that crick in the neck feeling.
Why won’t the crick in my neck go away?
A crick in the neck makes the neck feel stiff and less mobile than usual. Some people report that a crick also feels like something in the neck needs to pop into place. A crick in the neck can be temporary or chronic. It is often painless but may be connected to the chronic neck or shoulder pain. Share on Pinterest Stiffness in the neck and a feeling that the neck needs to pop are common symptoms of a crick in the neck. Many people who develop a crick in their neck also have neck pain. This is because a crick in the neck is often due to minor muscle injuries,
stiffness in the necka popping sensation or sound when a person moves their neck in a specific directiona feeling that the neck needs to popstiffness in muscles near the neck, such as the shoulders or upper chestdifficulty moving the neck in a particular directiona feeling that rotating the neck will be very painful
Common causes of a crick in the neck include:
muscle injury or tension due to sitting or sleeping in an awkward positionsitting at a computer all daypoor posturestrains, sprains, and other minor injuriespoor muscle flexibilitymuscle weaknessmuscle spasms whiplash, a typical car accident-related injury
In many cases, a sedentary lifestyle, long periods spent sitting at a computer, or inadequate exercise make minor injuries worse or may prevent a crick in the neck from healing. In about 15 percent of cases, neck stiffness and pain is caused by an underlying medical problem. These causes include:
A herniated disc, which happens when one of the discs in the spine bulges or swells.A fracture in the upper spine, which may be caused by an accident or fall.Spinal stenosis, which is a narrowing of the spinal canal, often due to osteoarthritis.Osteoarthritis, which is a type of arthritis,Spondylolisthesis, a condition that causes a bone of the spine to move over another bone.
In very rare cases, a life-threatening neurological or blood vessel issue can cause a crick in the neck. These problems cause additional symptoms and require emergency medical attention:
Is it safe to pop a crick in your neck?
Avoid forcefully turning your head to crack your neck. Instead, try gentle stretches to get a satisfying pop without the risk of injury. Cracking your neck may ease pressure in the joints and release endorphins. But if done too often or incorrectly, it can result in a pinched nerve, muscle spasms, or hypermobility.
What is the fastest way to get rid of a crick?
How to Get Rid of a Crick in Your Neck – Most of the time, a crick in the neck will go away on its own. So what’s the problem? Before it goes away, neck pain can wreak havoc on your quality of life. Some neck pains can stay with you all day so there’s never any escape and prevent you from sleeping restfully (or at all), which further compounds the misery.
And, that’s not even accounting for a neck crick that doesn’t go away on its own. What can you do about it? Quite a bit, actually. Going to a spine specialist is a good idea, but be aware that he or she will want you to try conservative, nonsurgical methods of treatment before any sort of surgery will be considered.
Again, remember that most cricks in the neck resolve on their own, so by the time surgery is scheduled most will be long gone. Instead, try these home remedies first:
Ice, heat or both : Heat can help loosen up a muscle spasm, whereas ice can ease inflammation. Try alternating if you’re not sure which will help more. Rest : Resting a sore muscle is usually a good idea, but avoid long periods of bed rest. Back pain—including neck pain—needs some measure of activity, or you risk becoming deconditioned. Over-the-counter medicines : Acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, can alleviate pain and bring down some inflammation. Lifestyle changes : Try the best sleeping position for neck pain,
If these conservative treatments fail to get rid of your neck crick, or if it hangs around longer than a few days, a visit with a spine specialist is probably warranted. A spine expert can give you access to other, possibly more effective nonoperative treatments, including:
Prescription-strength NSAIDs: Similar to over-the-counter medications, but stronger.Physical therapy: Physical therapists use various methods to control neck pain, including exercises to strengthen neck and back muscles, heat and ice therapy, electrostimulation, massage and laser therapy.Corticosteroid injections: These are powerful anti-inflammatory medications that can relieve inflammation for months.
Still in pain? It’s time for an imaging study (X-rays and magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI). This can help you healthcare provider determine what exactly is causing the crick in your neck. Armed with this knowledge, he or she may recommend one of the following procedures:
Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) : ACDF removes damaged discs and fuses vertebrae together to eliminate painful movement. Laser disc decompression : Laser disc decompression uses laser energy to change the internal pressure of a disc, causing any herniations to suck back in. Laminectomy : Laminectomy is the removal of the back portion of a vertebra, giving the spinal canal more room and alleviating any pressure on nerve roots. Microdiscectomy : Microdiscectomy removes any portion of an intervertebral disc that’s causing nerve compression. Cervical spinal fusion : Often used for spinal stenosis, spinal fusion ensures that vertebrae do not shift or move, which can put more pressure on nerves and nerve roots. Cervical disc replacement : This procedure replaces a damaged disc with an artificial one,
If you have a crick in the neck that just won’t quit despite at-home remedies, request an appointment at Edison Spine Center. We’ll make a diagnosis and come up with a treatment plan that’s right for you, your condition and your life situation.
Why did I wake up with a crick in my neck?
Causes of a stiff neck – Causes include sleeping in an awkward position (yes, this includes stomach sleeping) or tossing and turning throughout the night. Pillows are common culprits, whether you use too many or one that offers little to no support. Sometimes, though, your neck was tightening up before you hit the hay.
Stress and anxiety are big contributors, as is improper posture while seated (especially for those of us who tend to hunch over computers). Overuse or minor injuries from sports and fitness activities can shift from slight soreness to full-on spasms overnight. And any movement or accident that causes your neck to suddenly jerk can often bring on a major pain come morning.
(Although these are the most common causes, stiff necks can also be a sign of something more serious, like cervical disc issues, arthritis, or, rarely, meningitis. Be sure to consult your doctor if neck pain is accompanied by high fever, nausea or worsening pain in your neck or elsewhere.)
When you can’t turn your neck?
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.
How do you stretch a cricked neck?
Learn exercises to help with neck muscle or joint problems After any neck problem, it’s important to get movement and strength back. This supports tissue healing and will help you get moving again. You may not be able to return to your usual exercise levels immediately and improvements may be slow to start with.
- However, a gradual return to normal activities is the best way to get good short and long term results after a neck problem.
- When doing exercise you should listen to your pain levels, especially in the early stages.
- You may find that these exercises increase your symptoms slightly in the beginning.
- However, they should get easier over time and, with regular practice, can help to improve movement in the neck.
If the exercises do cause some discomfort then taking prescribed medication from your GP or pharmacist may help to keep you exercising. The exercises in these videos are suitable for most people. Please ensure you do these exercises in a safe environment.
- With your head facing forward, slowly turn your head to one side as far as is comfortable – you should feel a stretch on the opposite side of your neck.
- Hold for 2 seconds then return to where you started.
- Repeat on the other side.
You can do this exercise while sitting or lying on you back. Tilting and holding your head on each side is one repetition.
- With your head facing forward, slowly tilt your head towards one shoulder as far as is comfortable – you should feel a stretch on the opposite side of your neck.
- Hold for 2 seconds then return to where you started.
- Repeat on the other side.
You can do this movement sitting down or standing. Moving your head down and up is one repetition.
- Facing forwards, bring your chin down towards your chest.
- Slowly bring your chin back up.
You can do this exercise sitting down or standing. Moving your arms out and in again is one repetition.
- Place your arms at a right angle in front of your body. Your palms should be facing upwards.
- Keeping your upper arms still, move your palms and lower arms until they are pointing out from either side of your body. Hold for a few seconds and then bring your arms back into the starting position.
What is a kink in your neck?
KINK in my Neck | Premier Chiropractic & Natural Medicine A lot of my Monday morning patients will walk into my Highlands Ranch Chiropractic office stating that they slept wrong over the weekend and have a “kink” in their neck. What the heck does that mean and why did it happen to me? A “kink” in your neck can usually mean 1 of 2 things.
- It can be that the muscles in your neck became tight from the way you were sleeping, now they are mad and inflamed, and when you try to turn your head in the morning you feel that pinching sensation.
- You do not have full range of motion of your neck and it does not feel good.
- Usually, after your morning shower the tight muscles start to loosen up and by mid-morning it is gone and you have full flexibility and range of motion back in your neck.
In a more severe case you may have actually misaligned or subluxated one or more of your neck vertebrae. This means a bone in your neck is not in the right position and it can be putting pressure or even pinching the nerves that come out of your neck.
In this case, after your morning shower or morning walk, the pinch sticks around. Sometimes for much longer than a day and it may even cause headaches as the day goes on. When this happens you should see your Highlands Ranch chiropractor as soon as you can. A chiropractic adjustment will realign your vertebrae, calm down the muscles, and take the pinching off the nerve.
You may feel better immediately, or it may still take a day or 2 to get you relief. If you ever wake up with a kink in your neck, know that we are here to help. Regular chiropractic care will also help these morning kinks greatly diminish. With regular chiropractic adjustments, the vertebrae will be more likely to stay in alignment no matter what your activity level.
Ice and stretching will always help calm down the muscle and reduce inflammation as well. So get rid of those morning kinks and start seeing your chiropractor on a more regular basis. Our Highlands Ranch Chiropractic clinic will always get you in on the same day and we regularly accept walk-ins. So don’t wait, get out of pain today! You can get more information on neck pain on our website at and many more health articles on our blog at,
: KINK in my Neck | Premier Chiropractic & Natural Medicine
Should I massage a crick in my neck?
7. Exercises for Neck Pain – Overall, movement is extremely important to maintaining your health. Without movement, our bodies become stiff and start to degrade. Keep your body healthy by adding an exercise regimen to your routine. Multiple parts of your body help to support your neck. These include:
Spine Back Shoulders Torso
By keeping your upper body strong, you can maintain strength within your neck. The stronger your neck is, the less likely you are to encounter aches and pains. Build up the strength in your neck through light shoulder and upper back exercises. Your body needs this strength and support! Think about it your neck is required to hold up your head, which can weigh up to 11lbs,
How long does a stiff neck last from sleeping wrong?
What if I’m in severe pain and can’t move? – Waking up with a very painful, stiff neck can feel awful. Thankfully, most of the time, it will get better within a few days – but be careful not to aggravate the problem further. This might mean avoiding sudden movements, strenuous exercise and carrying heavy bags.
Over-the-counter painkillers, heat patches and muscle gels can be helpful – your pharmacist can advise on treatments you could try. If you have recently injured your neck, head or upper body however, seek professional advice as soon as possible – it may be that the injury has simply taken time to present symptoms and it’s best to get it checked out.
If the problem keeps happening or doesn’t get better with self-management, then it’s a good idea to seek advice.