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SergeantQueen's avatar

When you have a stiff neck, the kind where it hurts to move it to one side, what happens if you force your neck to move anyways?

Asked by SergeantQueen (11639points) June 5th, 2021
17 responses
“Great Question” (0points)

When you wake up and it hurts to turn your head to one side, what would happen if you forcibly turned your head? Can you break your neck doing that?

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Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Pain means there’s some kind of damage. Do not exacerbate the pain by attempting to create more of it. Rest your neck. Apply a salve like menthol. It may take a day, but it will get back to normal. If the pain persists, see a doctor.

janbb's avatar

I would probably ease it gently to the side and see if I could release it.

SergeantQueen's avatar

Thanks. I do not have this pain in my neck, I was just curious what would happen because it’s a random thought that came into my head. I have had that type of pain before and I’ve never forced my neck to move. I never would. It was just a random hypothetical that came into my head.

Zaku's avatar

I think if you force it, most likely you’re liable to hurt yourself more and have a worse stiff neck that’ll take longer to heal.

The opposite can be helpful: gently exploring what it feels like to move your head and the rest of your body very very slowly, without causing any pain.

I’d see a Feldenkrais practitioner about it, and/or if it were really bad, a physical therapist, or a doctor.

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JLeslie's avatar

I’m not a doctor. I have to state that while no one else here does.

I think it depends. I have had a stiff neck from sleeping the wrong way, and had to drive, and wound up having to turn my head for safety and nothing dire happened, but it makes sense to me that something bad could happen. I think it’s best to support the neck with a rolled up towel while lying down and let it heal. Taking some ibuprofen can help relax the area, but remember to not lie down immediately after taking ibuprofen and best to take with some food and a glass of water to help prevent ulcers.

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seawulf575's avatar

I’m with @JLeslie in not being a doctor. But pain can be brought on by a variety of things. If you sleep in a bad position, maybe it is just muscle issues. In a case like that I have found that gently stretching it…yes forcing it to move how it doesn’t want to…can help. Maybe a little heat to get the blood circulation going again. If it is a skeletal issue the treatment may be something different.
I once had an issue where I couldn’t physically move my head. It wasn’t just pain…I just couldn’t move it. Went to the doctor and after much evaluation it was determined that my top vertebrae…the Atlas…was slightly out of position. Physical therapy did the trick on fixing it. But even then, the physical therapy consisted mainly of physical manipulation of the head/neck to work things back into position. I think the difference between the treatment for something like that and the normal stiff neck is who does the manipulation.

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KNOWITALL's avatar

I gently roll and stretch my neck muscles, take a hot shower, and take a BC powder.
For me its often just cramped muscles from sleeping on my side but it happens often.

crazyguy's avatar

Almost every morning I have a stiff neck, even though we use the best pillows on the market. It must be my preferred sleeping position.

My morning exercise routine includes neck turns. I stand up straight, and turn my neck slowly through 360 degrees. I used to do this 10 times on each side. Recently I have changed it to 5, then 3, and finally two on each side. I do feel the pain during the turns and it does not completely go away afterwards. BUT, as far as I can tell, it is not making the pain worse.

jca2's avatar

I’ve been seeing a chiropractor for my neck, for a few months now. I’ve never been to a chiropractor before this and I asked a lot of people in real life and here, too, if they’d ever been to one and if it was helpful. I was hesitant because i didn’t want to spend the time of the visits if it wasn’t going to help.

In addition to the treatment, which has been totally miraculous, he told me not to sleep on my stomach, because it means you’re turning your neck totally to the side. Sleep on your back or side. Also, he told me to lay on the bed and hang my head over the edge of the bed a few times a day. I never did that one. I did change my sleeping position to the side or back.

I am not suggesting you go to a chiropractor, because I realize not everyone has the health insurance or the time, but the lifestyle suggestion of the different sleep position might help somewhat.

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