Stiff neck

Stiff neck is often characterized by difficulty moving the neck and soreness especially when attempting to side bend or turn the hide to the side. It can also occur due to a headache, shoulder pain, arm pain or neck pain.

During stiff neck, an individual may need to turn the entire body to look sideways or over the shoulder.

The most common cause is soft tissue sprain or muscle strain. Levator Scapulae muscle plays an essential role in the stiff neck due to its susceptibility to injury. Levator Scapular muscles connected Cervical spine with shoulder and innervated by C3 and C4.

Common Causes:

  • Sleeping in an awkward neck position
  • Holding the neck in an abnormalsituation for an extended period
  • Slouching while using a computer or looking downward for a prolongedperiod
  • Sudden impact or falling that pushes the head to one side
  • Excessive anxiety, depression, or stress

Uncommon causes:

  • Underlying disorder of the cervical spine
  • Cervical disc herniation
  • Cervical Tuberculosis
  • Cervical degenerative disc disease
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Kyphosis
  • Scoliosis
  • Torticollis
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Epilepsy
  • Parkinson Disease
  • Stroke


There are no particular symptoms associated witha stiff neck. Severe neck pain can observe with increasing ranging anywhere from extremely painful to annoying discomfort, limiting, sharp or throbbing. Side bending or turning head sideways may eventually result in increasing pain thus stopping the motion in that plane.

Reduction in neck motion mainlyaffects individual’s activity levels. For instance, driving, cooking, washing, watching tv or even working on the computer. When the neckis turned in one direction, the pain may excruciate. Thus pain radiating activities must be avoided until the condition is improved.

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