Stiffness in the Neck/Upper Back

Stiffness in the neck and upper back causes difficulty to move the neck, especially a region of the upper side of the neck while trying to move the head sideways. Pain associated with head, neck, shoulder, and/or arm. An individual may turn the entire body instead of the head due to stiffness in and around the neck.

Most people with stiffness in the neck/upper back feel the pain, muscle strain, and muscle sprain that affects their daily activities. Stiffness in the neck and upper back has become common due to lifestyle, sitting posture, and longtime steadiness with any movement all day.

People often complain of movements with neck and upper back stiffness. If not diagnosing at an early stage, the pain can worsen and might even spread across to other surrounding areas with further limiting one’s activities. The pain around the neck or back can be acute or intense. The pain lasts for days, weeks, or even months.

Pain in your back or neck area can be acute that comes suddenly and intensely. Chronic pain lasts for weeks, months, or even years.


Individual activities level is counted when there is stiffness in the neck/upper back. The disorders and diseases can be as follows:

  • headache
  • meningitis
  • neck pain
  • whiplash
  • arthritis
  • stiffness on the shoulder
  • stiffness on the upper back
  • swelling on the lymph nodes

One can feel the stretching or tearing of a muscle or a tissue (tendon). Stiffness of the neck is also associated with a slipped disc. It can also lead to muscle spasm that causes various conditions including traumatic injuries.

When to consult a doctor?

A stiffness occurring with symptoms such as neck pain, headache, or inability to move should immediately consult with the doctor. Since most of the successful treatments are done using medications, therapies, and exercises, consulting with the pain management specialists for treating stiffness in the neck/upper back yield achievable results.

Treatments for a stiff neck/upper back

Relieving from the stiffness of the neck and upper back is the major goal of pain management doctors. Minor to major stiffness in the neck can be healed through non-surgical therapies. Some of the treatments conducted by reputed doctors are as follows:

  • Ice Pack Treatment: Applying ice on the neck will help in minimizing inflammation, reduces pain, and relief from strains. The ice pack can act as a healing agent for numbness. It will also relieve swelling.
  • Heat Pads Treatment: The heat therapy procedure is useful in relaxing the tense muscles. Applying heat on the affected areas will pull down discomfort and gives a soothing effect.
  • Medications: Over-the-counter medications like Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the best treatment for neck and upper back stiffness and soreness. Ibuprofen and Naproxen are the prescribed medications recommended by doctors.
  • Exercise and Stretching: Physical therapies are the natural form of easing stiffness and restore your neck. Physical therapists often provide appropriate therapies for exercises and stretch that lower the pain and increase mobility.

Consulting with the stiffness in the neck/upper back pain doctor near you helps in getting the best treatment procedures. At Alleviate Pain Clinic, you find the highly qualified pain management doctors, physical therapists, and nursing staff to give successful results without surgery.

Book an appointment today to discuss your concern.