Almost every adult who has crossed the 30 knows this: the neck hurts, the head can hardly be moved, the back and shoulder muscles hurt unbearably. The first impulse is: back to bed, spare, do not move. However, this is completely wrong. Exercise and warmth are the two most important immediate measures for tension.
Muscle tension and cramps
As severe as the pain may be, in the vast majority of cases the "stiff neck" is muscle tension and cramping caused by incorrect sitting or lying down. For example, anyone sitting at the computer for several hours without taking breaks and doing relaxation exercises will sooner or later suffer from pain.
Causes of a stiff neck
The nonspecific neck and back pain, doctors suspect, due to degenerative (ie, wear-related) processes in the spine and in the intervertebral discs - a consequence of wrong or too little movement. Almost always the muscles are underdeveloped in patients with such complaints.
Cold and drafts are very often the trigger for pain attacks that usually disappear after one or two days. Mental problems, as well as wrong sitting or lying down can lead to muscle tension. Muscular strains are rarer when you suddenly put a lot of stress on an untrained, "cold" muscle.
Movement benefits - movement protects
Tension in the neck area often affects people who sit a lot. But movement is so important. In addition to an upright posture, protection against drafts and relaxation exercises, it is above all the movement that helps. Because exercise increases the stability of the bones and strengthens the muscles. Even with stronger pain, for example, lying only makes the spasm more intense. Movement, however, increases the stability of the bones and strengthens the muscles. Even with stronger pain you should not spend a long time in bed.
Recent research has shown that regular physical training can reduce the pain, so that in the ideal case, it eventually disappears completely. Untrained people should walk for five to 20 minutes daily, cycling or swimming. If you do not have time for this, you should at least take the stairs instead of the elevator or more often do without the car and walk. If the pain persists for more than three months, it is called chronic symptoms. In rare cases, these alarms can be for a serious condition such as osteoporosis, herniated discs or rheumatism.
If the neck or back pain occurs after an accident, you should go to the doctor immediately. Neck pain that gets worse when you try to put your chin to your chest is a symptom of meningitis. Mostly, however, there are other symptoms, especially severe headache, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, confusion, fever and photosensitivity. Again, a visit to a doctor is inevitable.
Treat a stiff neck
About every third sick note in Germany is due to neck, shoulder or back pain. About 70 million absentee days are the sad economic record of the back diseases.
Thermal envelopes are a possible measure of heat treatment. These thermal envelopes contain iron powder that warms to about 40 degrees under the action of air and holds that temperature for eight hours. The overlay is pliable and does not get too hot, so it can be worn under clothing during work. Under the influence of heat, the muscle relaxes, the pain decreases significantly.
Home remedies and "hot role"
Easier and cheaper, especially for neck pain, is the "hot roll": A regular terry towel (50 x 100 centimeters) is folded lengthwise and rolled up tightly. Slowly pour hot water into the roll - not too much so that no hot water drips out. The heat should penetrate from the center to the outside. The neck and back are best covered with another towel. Now lie down on your back with your neck on the roll and stay for about half an hour.
An old home remedy is the St. John's Wort oil stain: A piece of pressed cotton wool is drizzled with St. John's wort oil and placed on the painful area. The cotton wool is covered with foil and a thick cloth. A heated hay flower sack, a hotpack or a warm spelled pillow will look even more intense.