When you wake up with a crick in your neck and around your shoulder blade, making it uncomfortable to turn your head or even use the impacted arm. So what’s next? “You have slept at an awkward angle” is the most popular explanation.
Difficult doing heavy work or playing sports such as tennis or golf can also trigger a crick, occasionally referred as a stiff neck. Your desk work with your head in an awkward position? Complicated with stress and worry, which can make you anxious, and the likelihood of your neck crick increasing.
Orthopedists do not have a concrete definition of “crick,” which tends to be considered a catch-all term for multiple neck ailments. Abnormally positioning your head for a long time—for instance, if you sleep on a pillow that’s larger or smaller than the one you are used to—can tighten your neck muscles, which go into contraction, forming stiffness.
A related concept: two small “facet” joints in each pair of neck vertebrae allow movement, and if you strain the ligaments encompassing these joints, they grow tender, throwing the muscles into protective contraction. This is seldom known as facet syndrome, a term employed for other kinds of neck soreness, such as whiplash injury. Keeping the neck in an awkward position can strain ligaments, too, producing inflammation. So can bending or rotating the collar suddenly.
A crick will generally leave by itself in after few days even if you do not seek medical attention. But a crick can be momentarily disabling and is painful.
How Should I treat a crick
You may want to consider an over-the-counter pain reliever, similar to naproxen (Aleve or generic) or acetaminophen (Tylenol or generic), aspirin or ibuprofen (Motrin, or Advil ).
Use a heating pad on the neck or shoulder, or other ice and heat.
Consider water therapy. Stand beneath a warm shower and perform some gentle range-of-motion neck and shoulder movements.
Give yourself self-massage, or receive a professional massage.
If your crick does not improve with self-treatment, see a physician, who may introduce you to a physical therapist. If you have more symptoms, such as weakness or tingling in your arms, be sure to find medical attention.
How to Prevent Cricks From Developing
If you’re inclined to cricks, lightly extend your neck muscles every day. Twist your head; pull it from one side to other.
Ensure your bed and pillow assist in keeping your neck in proper alignment. Avoid uncomfortable positions during sleep.
If you operate at a computer, hold your head up without slouching—maintaining good posture, not too far forward or back.
Take frequent breaks and rotate your head gently.
Pain in Neck Vs. Crick in the Neck
The term “a crick in your neck” occasionally refers to having stiffness in your muscles that encircle your shoulder blades and lower neck. This is distinct from regular or chronic neck pain, which may be produced by several things and return with some level of predictability.
A crick in your neck usually is more uncomfortable and stiff than a sharp pain, and can mostly be treated at home. At times a crick in your neck can shortly limit your range of motion.