I'm sure you've experienced these kinds of stiff necks before. You know the kind that usually only happens on one side and you might contribute it to you "sleeping wrong" last night.
Of course I'm no doctor and if its really bad or its a result of some kind of accident you should go to a doctor. But if its a common stiff neck pain then these are the things I've found helpful.
Think of this guide like you would a leg cramp. We tend to want to bend our leg but the best thing to do is straighten our leg and try to point our toes toward your knees.
What most contribute to "sleeping wrong" is often the opposite. The cause usually comes from before going to bed. Maybe an activity that caused you to use your neck and shoulder muscles differently.
Then the rest of those muscles while sleeping is what causes them to stiffen up. This isn't always the case. You can indeed "sleep wrong". But it's usually the result of an activity before sleep.
The first thing I do is take a hot shower and aim the stream on the muscles of the back of my neck on the side that's hurting (its usually one side). Just let the water massage your neck muscles.
Or use a hot compress or hot towel. Your aim is to help relax the neck and shoulder muscles.
A very light massage could help loosen the "kinks" but be very careful. If you've ever had this kind of stiff neck you'll know the lightest touch in the wrong spot could be very painful.
These next few steps are going to be the hardest. Literally. Because A) It will hurt and B) it's something your mind tells you not to do. You're mind tells you to not move your head because it hurts.
But that's exactly what I'm going to suggest you do. But with some technique and caution.
Angle your head toward the side that hurts. You'll feel the point where the pain builds and you can't angle your head that direction any further without it hurting to much to bare. The pain zone.
You won't have to remember this pain zone because you will feel it. But I had to explain it for the next steps.
Very slowly rotate your head in circles. On the stiff side just bring it to the "pain zone". The point where you can't angle that way any further. Do this for a while in both directions.
After a couple minutes of this try to penetrate the pain zone. Try to angle your head as its making circles a little past the pain zone. Don't rush it. Just a little past what feels right.
Remember to rotate your head in circles in both directions. Very subtly push how far over you can go on the side that's stiff. Also try a figure 8 pattern.
You'll start to actually feel the muscle un-kink and "pop" a little. In a sense you're "getting the kinks out" of the neck muscle.
It's even better if you do this while you're under a hot shower. You're not going to relieve all the pain right away. This is a process that'll help loosen those muscles.
You'll find that you'll slowly be able to angle your head further and further without reaching that pain zone. Take your time. Do this every once in a while as you feel you can. Don't over do it.
Your goal is to HELP it loosen up. Not force it to. It's kind of like when an athlete says, "walk it off" when mildly injured.
I hope this is helpful to someone. It's worked for me many times. But please be careful. Only try this for a common stiff neck. Not an injury.
The creator of this guide has not included tools