Causes of a stiff neck include a twisted neck, wear and tear, whiplash, and a pinched nerve, according to NHS Choices. Other causes include sleeping in an uncomfortable position, bending over the desk for a prolonged period and poor posture while watching the television.
Also known as neck pain, a stiff neck is a discomfort that usually clears up on its own over time, notes NHS Choices. Taking over-the-counter painkillers, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, helps relieve the pain. Taking regular breaks from a work desk helps prevent stiffness. If the condition persists, it is necessary to visit a doctor as it could be a symptom of spine infection, cervical arthritis, spinal stenosis or cancer that affects the spine.