A stiff neck can make you miss things you often take for granted, like the ability to smoothly turn your head to, say, watch an adorable puppy bound past. With a stiff neck, you’re stuck doing a rigid full-body swivel, like an alien who can almost act human, but not quite, and is on earth to study the canine species.
The good news is that having a stiff neck usually isn’t a big deal. Sometimes, though, it’s a sign you should head to a doctor for evaluation. Here’s what you need to know.
The human head weighs around 10 to 12 pounds. That’s heavier than most newborns, FYI, and it’s up to your neck to support that weight. “It’s almost like a bowling ball sitting on top of a bowling pin,” Alan S. Hilibrand, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon with the Rothman Institute who specializes in spine issues, tells SELF.