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    stiff neck
    An_256588 posted:
    I have been having a stiff neck in the back for the past 2 months. It hurts to turn my head from left to right. What could be the cause and what can I do to fix or relieve the symptoms?
    An_256632 responded:
    It could be arthritis, degenerative disk disease, stress, the wrong sleeping position. Get an X-ray, have it diagnosed.
    maryann_wilmarth responded:
    The first thing that I would ask is if you have been doing anything different the past few months as far as your activities that might have aggravated your neck. Then I would ask about your sleeping position - have you changed this recently? What position do you sleep in? Is your neck in a neutral position? Your neck should be supported completely in all positions. Sometimes a small towel roll can help in a pillowcase when you are on your back and side. Sleeping on your stomach can be very stressful for your neck and I would not recommend it at this time.

    The second place to look would be the low back. Now, that may seem strange, but when you are sitting it is very important to keep your neck in a neutral position as well. If you are in a slouched position, then your neck is forward and it can make it more difficult to turn from side to side. Try putting support in your low back (in the curve by your waist) - you can roll up a towel for that as well - and use it when sitting. As soon as you put the support there your upper back and neck will be in a more neutral position with less stress on the joints and muscles.

    After checking activities that you have done and positions and adding support for your neck and low back, then you can try some simple stretches and range of motion. Try gentle shoulder circles backwards and then shoulder blade squeezes while keeping your neck in a neutral position.

    Once you have done the above-mentioned, then the neck motion should ease up and improve. You can also try warm showers to loosen tight muscles. If you have any more localized soreness, then ice can be more helpful.

    If this is not helpful within a couple of days, then you should follow up with a physical therapist or your primary care physician.

    You can find a physical therapist under Find a PT at:

    Best, Dr. Wilmarth
    mattron replied to maryann_wilmarth's response:
    Thank you Dr. Wilmarth for your reply to my situation. I think that sitting in my easy chair brings on the worst of the symptoms. That is when I notice it most, especially turning my neck from side to side. I have never had this until about 2 months ago. I sleep mostly on my left and right side and on my back. Never on my stomach. Haven't done that since my younger days. I sometimes sleep on one pillow and sometimes on 2 pillows that are made of foam rubber. Warm showers and a pulsating stream of water on my neck and shoulders provide temporary relief.
    mattron replied to An_256632's response:
    Thanks for your advice.

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