All of these things can help alleviate a crick in the neck: getting chiropractic care, getting a chiropractic massage, adjusting your sleep position and/or pillow, and doing certain stretches and exercises.
We’ll touch on each of these, in turn, below.
Can You Pop a Crick in Your Neck?
Although it may be possible to pop a crick in your neck to provide some short-term relief, it is NOT recommended for lay people. When it comes to manipulating the neck in any way, that’s a task that should only be performed by a qualified chiropractor.
Chiropractors are experts in the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. They have a formidable arsenal of techniques and technologies that they can use to effectively treat a “crick in the neck,” or almost any other neck issue.
This arsenal includes the following:
- Cervical Adjustments (also known as neck adjustments)
- Cervical Mobilization
- The Cervical Drop Technique
- Cervical Manual Traction
- Cold Laser Therapy
- A Tens Device (a way to electrically stimulate muscles)
- And providing access to a wealth of knowledge about diet, exercise, and other methods of combating such pain.
Any or all of these techniques can be used to get rid of a crick in the neck. But, let’s just quickly look at some of the science behind adjustments and mobilizations – the first two techniques listed.
First, check out this 2012 study in The Annals of Internal Medicine. It found that spinal manipulation therapy (SMT) “was more effective than medication in both the short and long term.” (1)
Another study, this one from 2004 and published in the Spine Journal on ScienceDirect found that “recommendations can be made with some confidence regarding the use of SMT (spinal manipulative therapy) and/or MOB (mobilization) as a viable option for the treatment of both low back pain and NP (neck pain).” (2)
Finally, there is this 2019 study in the National Library of Medicine that found that “various types of manipulation and/or mobilization will reduce pain and improve function for chronic nonspecific neck pain compared to other interventions.” (3)
As you can see, there is a growing body of evidence supporting chiropractic care for neck issues including the infamous “crick in the neck.” I have also written a blog post about what to do after an adjustment to get the most out of it.
Can You Use Massage for a Crick in the Neck?
One way to help treat a crick in the neck or to fix a stiff neck is with chiropractic massage. The difference between a chiropractic massage and a regular massage is that a chiropractic massage is directed by a chiropractor.
This allows the chiropractor to direct the massage therapist to problem areas that need extra attention and to avoid those areas which could make an issue worse. Further, the chiropractor will be able to recommend the best types of massage for the therapist to use on any particular patient.
Generally speaking, massage therapy is well-known to provide relief from stress, improve blood flow, and relax muscles. All of these are helpful in combating a typical case of a “crick in the neck.”
What Do You Do If You Get A Crick in Your Neck After Sleeping?
Waking up with a crick in the neck after sleeping is a common occurrence among many people. Fortunately, there are things you can do to prevent such from happening or, at least, reduce the severity of the pain and tightness that might result.
First, mind your sleeping position. There are really only three types of sleeping positions:
- Sleeping on your back
- Sleeping on your side
- And sleeping on your front
Of these, the worst choice is sleeping on your front. There is no way to do such without putting your cervical spine out of alignment as you sleep. And that alone might be the source of your neck discomfort. As for the best way to sleep, it’s really a toss-up between on your back and on your side.
Additionally, using the correct pillow while you sleep can also help alleviate your neck problems. Basically, you want a pillow that helps preserve your spinal alignment: a thinner pillow, if you sleep on your back; and a slightly thicker pillow, if you sleep on your side.
Of all the pillows out there, the best one to use to deal with neck issues is the cervical support pillow. These types of pillows are designed with neck issues in mind.
Stretches for a Crick in the Neck
If you have a crick in the neck, there are a number of stretches that you can do that will help loosen up your muscles and, hopefully, relieve some of your pain. These stretches include, but are not limited to:
- Chin Tucks
- The Clasp
- The Cross Body Shoulder Stretch
- And the Side Tilt
Of course, if any of these cause pain instead of relief, you should stop immediately and contact a medical professional. In addition to the above, there are a number of yoga stretches that are good, as well as a number of other physical therapy exercises that will work wonders, too.
A qualified chiropractor should be able to recommend the best stretches and exercises to handle anything from relieving a crick in the neck to even restoring the natural curve of the neck in more serious conditions.
What To Do If Crick In Neck Won’t Go Away?
Most people who find they have a crick in the neck usually either try to wait it out or implement a variety of home remedies like heat & ice therapy, essential oils, or what-have-you. However, if, in spite of such efforts, your “crick in the neck” does not go away or even gets worse, you should take action immediately. Your first step should be to contact a qualified medical professional.
Specifically, I would recommend making an appointment with a chiropractor, a physical therapist, or, perhaps, your primary care physician. Such individuals should be able to diagnose your condition and start you on whatever treatment plan your condition requires.
A Crick in the Neck: How Long Does It Last?
Most of the time, a crick in the neck will heal naturally within three days or so. If it does not resolve in such an amount of time, you should begin looking for professional medical help. Of course, if you have a crick in the neck that is getting progressively worse, you don’t necessarily have to wait three days like it’s a magic number or something. If, after twenty-four hours, you find the pain getting worse or is already unbearable, get professional medical help. A chiropractor is a solid first choice.
Most of the time, a crick in the neck will fade and go away on its own. However, if it’s getting worse or it’s just not going away, you should contact a chiropractor or other medical professional – and implement some kind of strategy to get yourself back in shape and out of pain.