Stiffness of the neck or rigidity is a consequence caused due to aggravated Vata Dosha when lodged in cervical region (neck). Though this is observed as a complication in many neurological and orthopedic disorders, it is usually found in mumps, cerebral haemorrhage, cervical dislocation, osteoarthritis of the neck joint, acute otitis media (ear infections) etc.
Stiff neck is broadly explained as Manyastambha in Ayurveda.
Stiff neck causes:
Use of hard or a thick pillow
Keeping the arm beneath the head while sleeping
Keeping the arm beneath the pillow while sleeping,
Activities involving prolonged raised arms such as flying a kite for a hour,
Direct neck injury,
Regular day sleep,
Improper lying or sitting postures,
Lifting heavy objects in shoulder or head,
Heavy exercise to the neck and shoulder,
Constant pressure over the cervical region,
Constantly watching a far object for a long period of time
Origin of the disease:
Due to the above said factors the joints, veins and nerves get fatigued or lose their tension. Meanwhile if Vata causing food and habits are followed, the vitiated Vata gets blocked in the neck location and the stiffness is caused. As the back or nape of neck (Manya) is commonly involved, it is called as Manyasthambha. Often the disease Manyasthambha is also correlated with Torticollis (wry neck).
Clinical features of stiff neck:
Severe and persistent pain in the neck,
Inability to rotate the neck,
Difficulty to see the upper objects
Inability to bend down the neck,
Heaviness of the neck,
Rarely radiating pain to the shoulder or back,
Sleeplessness due to pain,
The causative factors are to be withdrawn immediately. The affected part always kept warm. If hospitalized, wise physician proceed with Nasya and dhumapana; it gives significant results.
Other than this, local mild massage (abhyanga) and sudation(swedana) are advised with proper medication and appropriate time duration.
Wholesome diet and habits:
Do not try to exercise neck in the initial stages. It will only make it more painful.
Hot water bath is better for this condition than cold water bath.
Apply any of the above mentioned oils and do gentle massage, 10 minutes before bath, to the entire part of neck and then take hot water bath.
Shashtika shali (Red rice)
Medicated milk prepared out of garlic, coriander etc.
Rest to neck and shoulder
Proper and systematic exercise to the neck etc.
If the stiffness is associated with pain, then applying cold ice pack brings relief.
Unwholesome diet and habits:
Intake of curd, unctuous substances etc
Fried and oily food
Heavy exercise and exertions
Two wheeler driving
Potato, sweet potato, jack fruit, yellow and red gram, peanuts etc.