Crick In The Neck,Beat It!



           Photo Courtesy of Google Image.

          (He's so hot,huh?Well,I mean his neck.)

           My friend and I shared a bed in my apartment last weekend, and next morning when I woke up something undesirable happened: my neck got cramped. I almost felt that there were two stringy needles between my shoulder blades, and I had to bear with the pains when turning my neck in either direction as if those needles pinched into my skin. People describe the uneasiness with the neck in primarily two ways, a kink or a crick. At this point, I haven't found the distinction between them yet, but what really interested me is the cause and solution to the problem rather than the mere terminologies of this phenomenon.

            In resemblance to the discovery of syphilis of pharaoh in ancient Egypt, the crick in the neck also has an incredibly long history with human beings. "An Egyptian mummy in the local museum," says the Independent Press in London, "was X-rayed at the city Hospital after a curator noticed it had a twisted neck." While I am amused by this finding, what the news tells me later seems to reveal a physiological context as the doctor attributed the mummy's crick to torticollis.

            I have never heard of this symptom before, but a little research reduced to it to a simple issue. Torticollis is a stiff neck associated with muscle spasm. When I recall the circumstance prior to my neck crick, I formed a few hypotheses which may possibly explain this misfortune. Firstly, I left the window open the whole night, and the cold air crept in. My nervous system in the neck may become dysfunctional due to the enduring exposure to a low temperature and eventually constrain the conjunctive neck muscles. One of the biggest health tips from my mom goes: never sleep against an open window at night unless you want a day-off from the work, either by expecting a balloon on your face or a debilitating migraine next morning. I've seen my uncle who once despicably tested this rule and almost disabled his ability of speech. After all, I noticed that it didn't mention the potential hazard to the neck when sleeping by the window, so I decided to temporarily put aside this hypothesis. Alternatively, the fact I was sharing a regular bed with my friend implies a shrunken space for my movement. Tradition has it that during one's sleep, he constantly flips his posture. So my crick occurs probably out of the limitation of my activity range in bed that night, more descriptively, my neck was living dead that night because of the inactivity of movement.

            Not surprisingly, my first hypothesis could barely prove itself. As early as almost three decades ago, Chicago Tribune has already dabbled in this crick mystery. In response to a reader, Timothy Johnson, M.D. confessed that "I know of no scientific data to support the notion that cold air on the neck causes a "crick." But neither is there any data to disprove it." His inconclusive position sets me a dilemma, is it too early to discard the cold air hypothesis or this theory lacks scientific-based evidences after all? I knew many similar anecdotes that people got crick necks from the fan running all night. This correlation from its appearance seems to be plausible, but from the knowledge I harvested from SC200, the tentative link between wind and crick neck would fail the critical thinking process primarily by the interpolation of third-variables. The cold air could actually bothers with the head at the beginning, and the disturbance from the central nervous system subsequently passes irregular signals to the neck, which ultimately results in the neck crick. Or without charging excessive attention to the fan, the neck itself goes out of whack due to the wrong positions we coordinate it with the body, resulting the misplacement of particular muscles that contributes to the ordinary movement of neck. These confounding variables push me away from reaching a conclusion, so I shall call the end of the cold air story.


   Photo Courtesy of Google Image.

             The second hypothesis relating to the space quickly gained my favor after some researches. Our neck is composed with a highly complicated muscular system connected by delicate bones, so I don't intend to give you an anatomical view of the neck. But being the bridge between the head and the body, the neck balances many crucial movements occurred in daily physical activities. During the sleep, we lose control with the voluntary action of our neck, and instead unconsciously put the neck in jeopardy since we can no longer secure its position in regards to head and shoulder. When the neck breaks the rein, it risks a great chance of getting sprained. In my case, sharing a bed with someone restricts my room to adjust physical discomforts during the sleep, and my neck could have tucked tightly between my friend's back and the wall, or it could have stretched way too far from the center of my spinal cord, or my friend devilishly nudged my neck?(why it's not possible?)Regardless the situation, the displacement of my neck from a relaxed position has triggered the crick which extended to the next morning, and most miserably, along the course of next few days.

            Yeah, you guys surely have the same experiences before, and I have to admit that not until my last weekend's mishap that I began to look up solutions online. According to Sammy Margo, a physiotherapist, actively moving the neck to sides gently and applying some heat on the neck are two viable ways to assuage the crick. Besides suggestions by the professional authority, I want to add my own thoughts to it. My approach dealing with that crick was not dealing it at all by avoiding turns of my neck, and the cramp gradually wore off. (But I might have missed a chance to observe an UFO flying over State College?)

            In conclusion, it is always better to prevent the crick from the get-go than to rummage for remedies afterwards. But even right now, while I am writing the blog, my neck and the tip of my back start to hurt. I know this happens to white-collars all the time, but is the cramp from long-time sedative position somewhat ascribes to the same biological mechanism with the crick after the sleep? And please grant me to be an Andrewish guy this time: do you think a rational person should refuse sharing a bed with others to avoid a crick in the neck?

            Enjoy the video and have a great weekend!




Your blog is so useful. I gonna tell it to my roomates. Both of my roomates got sever neck pain for years. One of them is because of sitting too much time in front of the computer, and the other is just get it from an accident in her sports exercise. It seems that the gymnast is easy to get hurt with their neck."According to Sammy Margo, a physiotherapist, actively moving the neck to sides gently and applying some heat on the neck are two viable ways to assuage the crick." This reminds me of the strange stuff which my roomate used to heal the pain. That is just produce heat..something like that, I am not sure about that. However, I can really understand that kind of pain. Everytime my roomate get pain and uncomfortable in her neck, she looks dying. And I always do some massage on her shoulder in order to reduce the pain for her. Neck pain is a common problem, with two-thirds of the population having neck pain at some point in their lives. As I found it in an article, there are not only one reason to cause the neck pain,just as u said in your blog. Your neck pain may due to the wrong action---rotator cuff, when u sleeep. There is a study about this topic said that "shoulder and neck pain may be caused by bursitis, a pinched nerve, whiplash, tendinitis, a herniated disc or a rotator cuff injury.
Here is the suggested treatment for the pain.

this is very useful for people who experience it. I like how you made a physical contribution by testing multiple trials. what about the product ICYHot? does that not relieve the pain and sporadic muscles? also, could this permanently damage your neck if you continually experienced this?

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