What is your stiff neck telling you?

We've all suffered from a stiff neck at one time or another. It can come from just one bad night of sleep or a long day of work. However, there are some instances when this discomfort could indicate a bigger problem. Here are four things your stiff neck could be telling you:

1. You have poor posture
When the body is frequently contorted in a slouched position, with your head and neck falling forward, it can be a recipe for neck pain. The weight of your head can put a lot of stress on your spine, especially in the vertebrae in your lower neck, as explained by Spine-Health.com. If stiff necks are often an issue for you, it's time to work on improving your posture.

2. You're under a lot of stress
As with back pain, stress can cause or exacerbate sore or stiff necks. When you're under emotional stress, your muscles tense, leading to discomfort. If you frequently suffer from this kind of pain, it could be a sign that you need to address and better manage these emotions.

3. You're suffering from an illness
Accompanied by certain symptoms, such as fever and vomiting, a stiff neck could indicate the flu or other viral infections, according to Everyday Health. Don't ignore these feelings and visit a doctor right away.

4. You have a pinched nerve
If your neck pain radiates throughout different parts of your body, especially your shoulders and arms, that's a huge red flag for a pinched nerve, which could mean arthritis, degenerative disk disease or other conditions. Because it's hard to self-diagnose a pinched nerve, you should consult your doctor if experiencing symptoms such as spreading or worsening pain, muscle spasms and headaches.

If you're suffering from a stiff neck, schedule an appointment with a professional chiropractor today.