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Causes of Developing a Stiff Neck

A stiff neck develops from a wide variety of causes. Although the specific stiff neck causes will vary between individual situations, some common reasons occur in many cases. By understanding the possible causes, it is easier to treat the situation and reduce the discomfort. 

Strains from Poor Posture:

  • Poor posture can cause strains and pulls in the neck, which in turn cause a feeling of stiffness, pain and discomfort. The stiff neck causes that are related to poor posture often develop throughout the day and worsen as the day lengthens. Poor sleeping posture also causes strains and tension in the neck.
  • The strains from poor posture are usually minor and will require better posture to help recover. By taking measures to improve posture, the neck is properly supported and the risk of developing a strain will reduce.


  • Infections are potential stiff neck causes that are usually accompanied by other symptoms. In many cases, the stiff neck is only one symptom of the illness and it is usually easy to determine that the discomfort is associated with the sickness.
  • Other symptoms that come with an infection include headaches, fevers and chills. The stiff neck is most commonly associated with infections near the spinal cord or brain, but can come from any type of infection that causes pain and discomfort.


  • Stiff neck causes are often related to injuries. Although the stiff neck might be a secondary discomfort when an injury occurs, it still requires treatment to ensure the neck can fully heal. Whiplash is a particularly uncomfortable and painful injury that might occur during an accident that needs time to heal.


  • The stress hormone can cause tension in the neck and shoulders, which in turn causes a stiff neck. Although some stress is part of a balanced life, it can easily get out of control. The hormone causes the muscles to tense up and ultimately leads to discomfort and pain throughout the neck and shoulder region.
  • Although stress causes a stiff neck, it is possible to control. By taking measures to reduce stress each day, the amount of hormones in the body will reduce and the discomfort and stiffness will reduce over time.


  • Developing any form of arthritis can result in stiffness and discomfort throughout the body. In some cases, the pain in the bones from the arthritis can result in muscle pain and tension that causes stiffness throughout the neck. Arthritis requires appropriate treatment measures as recommended by a doctor to handle the pain and reduce potential damage.

Developing a stiff neck is potentially painful and uncomfortable. Despite the discomfort, it is possible to reduce pain by taking appropriate measures. Finding the cause of a stiff neck is the first step of healing the muscles.


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