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Q. How can stiff neck be managed?

Answered by
Dr. Upendra K Shah
and medically reviewed by Dr. Divya Banu M
This is a premium question & answer published on May 10, 2020

Hello doctor,

I have noticed some worrying symptoms lately. I am a 24-year-old male with no other known condition. I have noticed that the back of my neck feels very stiff and rigid when I sit at my desk with my head bent forward to read or look at the monitor, to the point that I feel the need have to stand or lie down to alleviate the feeling of discomfort. I have noticed that the rigidity disappears when I stand, walk or lie down. I have been feeling stiff since I have started studying again some days ago. I have spent the last two months without doing much (no physical activity or studying/working) due to the lockdown.

I also have widespread twitching in my thighs, calves and feet (both legs), on my back, on my chest, on my shoulders, in my arms, in my hands and in my tongue. I have felt twitching almost everywhere for a couple of years now. I also noticed that I am unable to put the heel of my left foot down when I stand or walk. I have had this issue for years and I was told it was due to tight calf muscles, although it feels more accentuated now. I would greatly appreciate any input you can give.



Welcome to

Neck pain seems to be due to strain in the neck muscles when you remained in one position for long duration, I would suggest you to take simple steps to avoid this, take rest for 2 minutes in every 15 to 20 minutes and move your neck side wise and rotate it to right and left. In that way strain in neck muscles can be avoided. additionally in between isometric neck excercise can be done. Avoid Using thick pillows. If this does not work we can start some remedies.

Now regarding twitching. Do you have weakness anywhere in the body? Did you lose your muscles mass anywhere in the body? Do you have any sensory issues? Do you take any stimulants such as excessive coffee or something else, if yes how much? Do you feel often cramping of muscles?

Regarding foot problem. Is it always or sometimes? Can you walk on forefoot? Can you walk on heels? (just try walking) Is it like foot drop? lastly why antihistaminic medicines? Please tell in more and elaborated detail.

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Thank you doctor,

Regarding the twitching:

I do not feel weakness in my body and I do not have troubles with activities involving my legs and feet like walking, standing, getting up or climbing stairs. I do not think that I have lost muscle mass anywhere as far as I can tell. I do not have sensory issues. I drink, on average, two cups of coffee per day. I do not feel any cramps.

Regarding the foot problem: I can always feel my foot resting on my toes. I am unable to stand on my left heel unless I force it down (it does not come as easy as with my right foot). It feels blocked in that position. I usually walk and stand on my tip toes because of this problem. I can walk on my heels with my right foot but hardly with my left foot. I do not think so, I can raise my let foot easily but not as much as my right foot. I take antihistaminic medicines for my allergies.



Welcome back to

Your twitching seems to be benign in nature, the most common cause is normal physiological twitching, only two coffees per day is not excessive use however you may try avoiding coffee and and see if any improvement is there. Also avoid cola drinks and chocolates( if taking them), they also contain caffeine, they may be hidden source of caffeine. If it continues you may need consultation and get checked up for routine blood examination such as sugar, thyroid, electrolytes.

I am worried about foot problem with difficulty in heel walking and tiptoe kind of thing. Reason I do not know at this point, it is not urgent since it is for long duration but physical neurological examination is required to see if it is really problem or not. For this reason you may consult to neurologist locally after lockdown. I would love to know the reason of foot problem after local consultation.

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