Stiff neck

Does anyone else experience stiff necks - I find it hard to turn my neck sometimes or tilting neck side to side. If you experience this, what do you do to relieve this - is it a part of ataxia?

Hi Faye, have you tried anything over the counter like Arnica Gel or cream? It helps with stiffness so you could move more. Once you are relieved of the stiffness doing Yoga stretches help prevent them in the future. Watch this video maybe it will help you out some! :-)

Hi Faye

I have suffered from the same thing for years, when I first noticed it I consulted my doctor who eventually sent me for a neck x-ray. He then diagnosed 'fused vertebrae' which he explained as an untreatable genetic condition inherited by a small proportion of the population.

So in my case there is no way of relieving the reduced movement, it is inherited but not related to ataxia.

Regards John

My neck is always stiff because I have trunk ataxia and postural instability. I am constantly fighting gravity to avoid toppling over. I take an adapted yoga class (wheelchair yoga) and this helps tremendously, plus neck exercises. Heat at times, but seems like something that needs daily attention.

Yes, I have a stiff neck most days, and also the sensation that there is something heavy hanging around my neck at the top of the spinal column. I use gentle side to side motions to loosen up a bit. (Never loll the head backwards, according to my chorus director.)

Also standing in the shower for a few minutes with hot water directly on this area helps. Oh, and two Advil in the AM.

I think it is connected to ataxia and worry that something is starting to affect my spine.

I have found a great massage therapist! I visit every other week for an hour. It's expensive because insurance won't cover it, but it certainly helps my neck and shoulders!


Sometimes, something as simple as changing your pillow will help. Also, as most of you mentioned, exercices, heat, massage can help. I have had a stiff neck for many years, (pre ataxia too), so in my case, it is not ataxia related.

for the neck musclesDear Faye Mays, My neck is extremely stiff and sore. My theory is it's related to having ataxia, as I have to hold my muscles so rigid to keep my balance, etc. so I won't fall. Also, I tend to lift my shoulders, which can't be good for the neck muscles. I also spend a lot of time looking at my feet (bending my head forward) when walking. Therefore, I'm constantly reminding myself to relax, not to lift shoulders or look at feet. A pt once told me to hold my stomach muscles in (easy for her...,ha!) as this will strengthen core and take the strain of other muscles. I find stretching muscles gently each day helps..., ;o)


I have Cervical Dystonia (as well as Ataxia). Your description sounds like it could be the same thing, but you would need to see your neurologist to know. It's a simple diagnosis in the doctors office.

It's a neurological condition; a movement disorder just like ataxia is a movement disorder. The doctors believe that the basal ganglia part of the brain is sending false signals to the muscles to contract.

Let me know if your neurologist thinks you have this. I'd like to offer you support!

Take care!

You might want to try a near-distant infra-red heat lamp. Very relaxing and I use it on all the parts of my body. I use Baylock brand. It is the closest thing to a sauna. Also, a portable sauna is good if you can afford it. Or a jacuzzi with epsom salts.

I have limited use of the neck I can turn my head a couple of inches to the left, rt. and up and down lifting is the most limited and it makes it hard drinking water and emptying the glass, I have to lean back if I want to drink it all up. Turning my head causes me to some of the times to start spasms that sometimes I cannot stop by repositioning my head. These spasms used to be very painful but not so bad anymore. I have had neck surgery for cancer and it affects me from my ear to my shoulder and right side of chest. Jerry

Mhn I've always had stiffness in neck even as a Kid I remember those sudden clicks as i call it and falling with the pain of the muscle spasm I still get them to this day but I've learnt if I relax shoulders and do a few head tilting movements it eases the stiffness and those neck spasms but once in a while i'll get one that has me jumping going oweeeeee and usually dropping water over myself. I've tried sooooooooo many different pillows, mattress strengths sitting differently all sorts. I now just say to heck with it I associate it with controlling my muscle movements and trying not to jerk or fall. I remember a masseuse saying once it was the way I slept so brought different pillows per the advice a firm pillow to accommodate the way I sleep on my side guess what It made absalutely NO difference. I also tried memory foam pillow to support my head and neck and I felt worse upon waking that I ended up giving it to the dogs to nap on I find for me if massage that shoulder and right side of neck it helps. I would give for a good massage I havn't had one in years but how I felt after last one left me able to move my neck and shoulder far better than i'd had in a long time he did have to really work on my shoulder and neck and said I had at the time alot of knots n that area even as he was doing that mny neck and shoulder was clicking and clunking away. I am starting to wonder if it's something more as in the last year or so if I tilt my neck in certain way I get shock feeling though my body sometimes unnerving but who knows I dread to say anything to my husband or he will worry even more.

Emmy, I do yoga everyday and practice what I learned when I began lessons with someone who knew about my fractured 5th lumbar. There are specialized, trained teachers out there that can come to you and give you some help.

funny you bring this up , one of my symptoms de jour , is my stiff neck has returned . not your average stiff neck , but a spastic neck , all the muscles are so tight that it is blocking my airway and pain .....well .

Rubbing it intensely helps all the way down into the top of my shoulders