A stiff neck accompanied by a severe Headache, Nausea and Vomiting, intolerance of light, abnormal sleepiness or drowsiness, or Confusion, may be Meningitis or a subarachnoid haemorrhage; immediate action is required, so contact Emergency Medical Services and give Arnica 30c every 5 minutes until help arrives.
‘Whiplash' neck injuries (where the neck is flung violently backwards or forwards) are common in motor accidents. A Prolapsed Disc in the neck makes any movement to straighten the neck extremely painful, sends shooting pains into shoulders and arms whenever you move your head, and may even cause hands and arms to feel tingly; if you suspect a disc injury, consult your doctor if there is no improvement in 12 hours; your medical doctor will probably recommend that you wear a support collar for a while. Strained neck muscles and ligaments (see Sprains) cause rapid stiffening and pain; if rest and appropriate homeopathic remedies do not relieve stiffness within 7 days, see your medical doctor.
At worst, whiplash may cause Spinal Cord Injury and some loss of sensation and movement below the neck; immediate help is vital, so contact Emergency Medical Services and if possible give Arnica 30c every 5 minutes until help arrives, and then Hypericum 30c every 8 hours for up to 5 days if possible.
Slow onset of pain and stiffness in the neck, with tingling in the hands, may denote Cervical Spondylosis. More prosaically, a stiff neck can be the result of sitting in a draught or lying in an awkward position; if the stiffness is not relieved within 24 hours by 3 doses of Aconite 30c taken at 2-hourly internals, see your medical doctor.
For other homeopathic remedies, see conditions mentioned above; if none seems particularly suitable, select a remedy from the list below. The author strongly recommends physiotherapy, osteopathy, and chiropractic as complementary treatments for neck problems.
Specific remedies to be taken 4-hourly for up to 3 days
- Neck stiff, with chin fixed in raised position, whole cervical and upper thoracic spine very sensitive Cimicifuga 30c
- Pain down right side of neck, with pain in upper arm and elbow, made worse by movement, more perspiration than usual Lachnanthes 30c
- Pain at top of nape of neck, as if from lying in awkward position, alleviated by heat, aggravated by becoming chilled in hot weather Dulcamara 30c
- Pain worse for slightest touch or movement Bryonia 30c
- Dull pain at top of nape of neck, with stiffness between shoulder blades, ache less insistent in wet weather Causticum 30c
Self-help: Local heat can help to relax tense muscles. Use a firm, low pillow so that you lie with your neck as straight as possible.