Kevin M. Moran, MD

I have a crick in my neck!

Aug 03, 2023
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What is a crick in your neck?

A "crick in the neck" is a colloquial term used to describe sudden and temporary neck pain and stiffness, often accompanied by limited range of motion. It typically occurs due to muscle strain or sprain in the neck area, which can happen from sleeping in an awkward position, making a sudden movement, or holding the neck in an uncomfortable position for an extended period.

The term "crick" is thought to be derived from the sound that may be heard when moving the neck, which can be similar to a slight cracking or popping noise.

Symptoms of a crick in the neck may include:

  1. Neck Pain: Pain is usually localized to the neck region, often on one side.

  2. Stiffness: The neck may feel stiff, making it challenging to turn or tilt the head.

  3. Limited Range of Motion: The ability to move the neck through its full range of motion may be restricted.

  4. Muscle Tenderness: The affected muscles in the neck may feel tender to the touch.

A crick in the neck is usually a minor and self-limiting condition, and symptoms tend to improve within a few days with proper self-care. Some strategies to manage a crick in the neck include:

  1. Rest: Avoid activities that worsen the pain and strain on the neck muscles.

  2. Ice or Heat Therapy: Applying ice packs or warm compresses to the affected area can help reduce inflammation and soothe the muscles.

  3. Gentle Stretching: Slow and gentle neck stretches may help improve flexibility and alleviate stiffness.

  4. Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can provide temporary pain relief and reduce inflammation.

  5. Massage: Gentle massage of the neck muscles can help relax tension and promote healing.

  6. Good Posture: Maintaining proper posture can help prevent additional strain on the neck.

While a crick in the neck is usually not a cause for concern, if the pain is severe, persists for an extended period, or is accompanied by other symptoms like numbness, tingling, or weakness, make an appointment with Dr. Kevin Moran, a board certified orthopedic surgeon who is fellowship trained in spine surgery. These symptoms could indicate a more serious underlying condition like a herniated disc in your neck, and Dr. Kevin Moran can provide an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.