Muscle stiffness is not a serious condition, but many everyday activities become difficult and tedious, such as cleaning the house, picking up objects and climbing stairs.
Main causes of muscle stiffness
Stiffness through training
A person may feel muscle stiffness during exercise.
The stiffness comes from an accumulation of lactic acid: if the training is carried out correctly and appropriately to the condition of the athlete, there are no fears in this regard.
Posture at work or during studies
It is important to maintain a good posture at the computer or when working at a desk.
If you have problems with vision, you should wear suitable glasses at work, otherwise the head will be pushed forward (displacement of the neck forward) and muscle tension will occur.
In addition, there is rigidity of the eye muscles, which can cause headaches.
Pregnant women have an abnormal posture due to the volume and weight of the child.
The effects are general tension in the lumbar spine and neck.
minerals and vitamins A person may develop muscle spasms due to electrolyte imbalances.
Electrolytes are the salts of magnesium and potassium.
Torticollis – Causes:
Poor posture of the back and neck
Torticollis is a disorder that is often caused by poor posture during sleep.
This can happen if you sleep without a pillow or on two pillows.
Taking a nap on the couch without adequate space can lead to a torticollis.
Other causes may include:
- Keeping the neck tilted in front of a computer for hours.
- Talking on the phone for hours.
- Sitting in an inappropriate position while watching TV or reading.
Newborns may have congenital myogenic torticollis. This disorder is already evident at birth and can be caused by muscle shortening, a nerve disease or a bone malformation.
Injury or accident
A torticollis can also be caused by whiplash, which is a sudden jolt of the neck when playing intensive sports (such as swimming, tennis, football, etc.). People who suffer a car accident in which the neck is suddenly moved are at risk of torticollis.
Neck pain can occur when the muscles of the cervical spine are stiff or painful.
Arthritis occurs when the joints of the body are inflamed.
This disease often manifests itself in the elderly.
People with osteoarthritis (chronic degeneration) have stiffened joints and restricted movement in the neck and other joints.
Pain in disc hernia or herniated
disc Another cause of the stiffness of the cervical spine is pressure on a nerve.
Disc hernia and disc protrusion can cause diffuse pain in both the arms and legs.
Psychosomatic muscle stiffness There is another type of neck stiffness
that is not associated with physical problems.
Emotional stress and anxiety are the most common causes. When a person is under stress, the neck and shoulder muscles tend to tense: this provokes muscle contractures in the neck and leads to restricted movement of the joints.
Sometimes anxiety causes nuchal tension (between head and neck), tension headache and dizziness (or drowsiness).
Fasciculations can also occur, which are very fast, involuntary muscle contractions that lead to very short movements.
Some people grind their teeth at night and wake up with neck pain and pain in their jaw and head.
Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) causes nervousness and increases muscle tension.
A crooked neck can be the sign of an infectious disease such as meningitis.
If a child complains of neck pain, the first disease to look for is meningitis. This is a disease that manifests itself in inflammation of the meninges and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). This condition is very serious because the meninges protect the spinal cord and brain.
If a torticollis develops due to this disease, the symptoms are high fever, headache, vomiting, etc. The clinical diagnosis of meningitis is made by asking the patient to perform certain movements.
The flexion extension (nodding one’s head) is painful in the neck because the hard meninges (the outer skin over the spinal cord and brain) are stretched, while turning the head does not cause any discomfort.
Other nerve disorders that lead to muscle stiffness:
- Alzheimer’s disease;
- Parkinson’s disease (also causes a tremor);
- Multiple sclerosis (also causes loss of balance).
Torticollis in children
Along with meningitis, there are some serious conditions that are accompanied by neck stiffness as one of the main symptoms. The diseases are:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
One should not underestimate a neck stiffness, but consult a doctor as soon as possible.
■ Injuries or trauma to the cervical spine
The most common cause of neck stiffness is an injury or trauma to the cervical spine. This blow can also trigger other symptoms, including pain in the arms and shoulders.
■ Poor posture
Poor posture while sitting or sleeping can tighten the ligaments of the neck and lead to stiffness. The neck stiffness can result from the following postures:
Sit for a long time with your chin supported on your hands.
Sleeping on a pillow that does not support the head in an appropriate way. Keep your head tilted while lying down or working in front of the computer.
Torticollis due to poor posture while sleeping
An unsuitable mattress that does not adequately support the back and neck during sleep leads to stiffness and discomfort in the neck. Even a pillow that is too high and too soft can provoke neck stiffness.
Cold can “overcool” the neck muscles, making them hard and painful. Sleeping a whole night in a bad posture can exert severe tension on the neck, shoulders and back muscles.
This causes pain:
- The morning after waking up
- After the neck has been held in a rotated position for a longer period of time
The most common acute condition is rheumatoid arthritis, which causes deformities and inflammation in many joints, from the neck to the knees.
While sleeping, you tend to lie in one position for hours.
It is therefore appropriate to adopt a correct posture during sleep.
You may feel a morning stiffness when sleeping on two pillows or without a pillow.
The neck should be more strongly supported than the head.
It is recommended to place a second long and narrow pillow in the pillowcase to place the neck higher than the head.
Stiffness and muscle spasms on the legs
An involuntary contraction of the muscles causes spasms. You feel a sudden and intense muscle pain and hardening in the legs.
In the thigh, there are two muscle groups that can cause spasms:
- Quadriceps (anterior thigh muscle)
- Ischiocral muscles (back thigh muscles or knee flexors).
Muscle mass consists of a group of fibers whose stretching and shortening (contraction) facilitate leg movements.
If the muscles are inactive for a long time, the fibers become inflexible and tire quickly.
If you start a physical training without warming up the muscles, they injure themselves and cramps can occur.
Posture and excessive strain
Other cramps may be given by overloading the muscles during training of some heavy exercises such as leg press; or when maintaining a sitting position for a long time.
Circulatory problems, in which the blood supply to the lower limbs is disturbed, cause muscle spasms. People who suffer from peripheral arteriopathy have spasms in the lower extremities at night. Cramps can be a symptom of many conditions, including:
- spinal cord problems,
- Renal failure
Side effects of medications
Finally, spasms are triggered by drugs such as diuretics used to treat arterial hypertension (high blood pressure), as well as contraceptives and other active ingredients.
What to do? Natural remedies and home remedies
Often neck stiffness is the result of poor posture. Over time, a person gets used to an incorrect posture and to involuntarily and gradually stiffen the neck. Using high and soft pillows while sleeping is one of the main reasons why a person suffers from neck stiffness. Physical and mental stress can also stiffen the muscles of the shoulders. So here are some means to avoid this disease.
If the pain has existed for a week or longer, you should consult a doctor, because it is possible that the neck stiffness is related to another, serious disease.
Among home remedies, it is the application of heat to the affected areas that temporarily alleviates.
stress Stress causes stiffness and pain in the muscles of the neck and shoulders. Stress can be avoided by loosening the body, warming up arms and legs before exercise, and occasionally “detaching” from everyday life. One can use relaxation techniques to combat stress.
Lying on your back on the floor and bending your knees, soles of your feet on the floor and a book under your head as a starting position.
In this position, close your eyes and perform exercises for relaxation and deep breathing.
bed and pillow A mattress or bed that doesn’t provide the necessary support is a common cause of neck stiffness. Even an old and hard pillow can cause pain in the neck. You spend a third of your life in bed: it is therefore important to create an optimal environment for the body. Older people are more sensitive to cold. You should not leave the windows of the room open.
Massage therapy with essential oils is one of the best remedies that leads to quick relief. Physiotherapists know the anatomy and know which muscle to look for.
Shape: two “I” stripes.
Width: two, 5 cm. Length: 20-25 cm. Apply the strip to the side of the spine without tension, the patient’s head is bent forward.
Always apply on both sides.
A hot shower can reduce muscle tension in the throat. Hot water gently massages the muscle so that the heat relaxes the muscles.
for pain relief For neck stiffness, over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen (brufen) and acetaminophen (ben-u-ron) are effective for pain relief.
Painkillers to combat muscle stiffness
These drugs are a temporary solution to the problem. In a short time, they can quickly alleviate and drive away the symptoms. With painkillers like aspirin, one can try to reduce swelling and inflammation. However, it should be remembered that anti-inflammatories or muscle relaxants only mask the problems, but do not treat the underlying cause.
One cause of stiffness is the squeezing of a nerve. In this case, the doctor may prescribe a muscle relaxant and a strong painkiller.
Isotonic exercises strengthen the neck muscles. They reduce the possibilities of muscle injuries in this area. Neck twists and flexion exercises increase flexibility and reduce the likelihood of neck stiffness.
Melissa serves to relax body and mind. It can therefore reduce stress-related muscle tension.
People with magnesium deficiency could take a supplement, but it is better to get the minerals with a proper diet.