Coping with a Stiff Neck

Ever woke up with a neck pain that restricts your neck movement for even up to a week? For some, such discomfort could even be accompanied by a headache, shoulder or arm pain.

The Cause

Stiff neck might be caused by:

  • Sleeping on an unsuitable pillow
  • Wrong sleeping posture
  • Too much stress on the neck
  • Excessive repetitive neck movement
  • Holding the neck in an abnormal position for a long period
  • Invasion of cold, wind and dampness


TCM Treatments

In TCM, blocked/deficient meridian(s) in the region could produce pain. Therefore, TCM treatment modalities such as acupuncture, scraping, cupping and medication are used to:

  • Improve ‘Qi’ and blood flow in the affected meridian channel
  • Unblock the meridian channel by dispelling wind, cold and dampness




Prevention is better than cure

To prevent neck ache from occurring, it is important to:

  • Use a pillow of suitable height (approximately the size of a fist between the neck and bed.)
  • Maintain a good posture.
  • Do neck stretching and strengthening exercises regularly.
  • Keep the neck area warm and dry.

Any other questions about TCM’s perspective on stiff necks? Let us know in the comment below!

Article by Physician Joyce Chee

Note: Information provided is not a substitute for a physician or any form of medical care. Individual symptoms differ due to different body constitutions and diagnosis. One should consult a licensed TCM practitioner for accurate diagnosis and treatment.

4 thoughts on “Coping with a Stiff Neck”

  1. Avatar photo

    I have neck & shoulder pain for 2 weeks. Still not fully recovered. Occasionally have sudden pain. Still Feeling stiff neck. Pls advise what to do.

    1. Avatar photo

      Hi Muthu,

      Acupuncture is an effective treatment for relieving and managing pain symptoms. It would be great if one of our physicians can take a look at your condition and prescribe the right treatment methods for you!

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