7 April, 2017 Physician Joyce Chee

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

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About the Author

Physician Joyce Chee Physician Joyce Chee is a registered TCM practitioner in PULSE. In 2014, she graduated with a First-Class Honours Bachelor’s Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine from the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine and Nanyang Technological University Singapore.

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