Although they sound like the same thing, they are very different.
Often not caused by the neck at all
Will feel like it is coming from the muscles
Is hard to pin point and refers to a broad ranging area of the upper back and neck.
Can be made worse by continuous postures like working on the computer or using the iPad.
Can vary in intensity from dull intermittent ache to a strong constant stiffness
Often associated with tension headaches or occasionally migraines.
Often a more specific type of pain
Accompanied by sharp pain on certain movement, especially rotation of the neck
Can sometimes cause discomfort while laying in bed
Bad cases will have pins and needles or numbness referring down one or both arms
Can be very painful
Is usually as result of long term poor postural positions
Can be due to awkward lifting, usually with the arms out stretched far from your body
Vertebral misalignment in the mid to upper thoracic is the cause in the majority of cases. Most people are unaware they have a misalignment in this region. Usually the misalignment is found between T1-T8 (Thoracic spine)
These misalignments cause a change in spinal posture (neck forwards compensation), which in turn causes the neck muscles to pull backwards… constantly. This causes the neck stiffness
Usually a result of a trauma, injury or fall; such as a car accident, skiing or snowboarding accident, or hit to the head
This causes one of the neck vertebra to become misaligned pinching the nerve
Stretching or moving the neck can achieve temporary relief, but this is very short lived
Changing your work station can often be a solution, but symptoms persist you will need to sort help
More relief is usually achieved by massage, but if the benefit gained is for only one week or less you will need further help from a trained chiropractor
Systematic ‘hands on’ examination of the spine with the help of x-ray analysis will lead our specially trained chiropractors to the exact cause of your neck stiffness, remembering the cause may be down between the shoulder blades and not the neck
Pain killers may relieve this pain, but this is not a good solution for more than a week
If pain persists after a week of the injury you will need to seek professional help from a well trained chiropractor
This kind of problem will be difficult to find without the correct analysis and x-rays
If left untreated the neck muscles will get tighter and might go into a very painful spasms known as torticollis
This is where you wake up one morning and you can hardly move your neck one degree in all directions of movement. We have seen grown men cry with this condition and we see this condition in our practice several times per day in new patients
At the very least the stiffness episodes will become more regular and last longer
Left untreated this will eventually cause pain referring down one or both arms in the form of pins and needles or numbness
Wear and tear starts to set in as the misaligned vertebra places uneven stress on the vertebra above and below the misalignment
This in turn may lead to needing neck surgery due to the discs in the neck becoming protruded or prolapsed.