Neck pain is a feeling of discomfort and unpleasant feelings that arises from mechanical issue or from any injury. Neck pain is a main leading cause of disability, in most cases neck pain can be resolved by its own without any given intervention but in some cases, there may require treatment that may depends upon the root cause of neck pain. Cervical discs absorb shock between the bones in case of any disc issue the shock absorbents will not work well and there may be chance of neck injury become high. The ligaments, muscles around neck can helps you in neck movements if in case of any abnormalities, inflammation, or injury can cause neck pain or stiffness. Many of the people faces neck problem due to bad posture, overuse injury or whiplash injuries etc. Most of the time, neck pain is not a serious condition and can be relieved within a few days but if it is not getting better or symptoms getting worsen so you must visit the doctor. If you are suffering a severe neck pain for one week then seek a medical attention immediately.
Causes of Neck Pain
Neck pain, spasm and stiffness can be caused by many of the reasons such as muscle tension and strain. It can be caused by variety of reasons like:
- Poor posture
- Working at work in a same position for a prolonged period
- Sleeping in a bad posture
- Jerking your neck during exercise
Particularly in cases where the neck muscular and ligament are forced to move outside their normal range, neck is vulnerable to injury, especially in falling, car accident or sports. If neck is seriously injured this may also affects the spinal cord.
Neck pain also be a symptom of heart issue or heart attack with some of the sign and symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Vomiting or nausea
- Arm or jaw pain
This can be alarming you would go to doctor for early examination or If your neck hurts and you have other symptoms of heart attack, call an ambulance, or go to the emergency room immediately.
Meningitis can be a cause of neck pain. It is the inflammation of the brain and spinal cord tissues. If you are having the symptoms of meningitis, seeking medical help immediately is necessary. Other causes include the following:
- Rheumatoid arthritis may cause severe pain, joint inflammation and bony spurs. When these occur in the neck area, neck pain can result, you need to go for x-rays and proper medication.
- Bones weakened and can cause minor fractures by osteoporosis. This disorder also occurs in hands or knees, but, because of nutritional imbalances, it is more common in women than men.
- Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes muscle pain throughout the body, especially in the neck and shoulder region, you feel tenderness and swelling around area.
- Just like your age, cervical disc degenerates with time. This is known as spondylosis, or osteoarthritis of the neck. This can narrow the space between the vertebrae. It also adds stress to your joints. It sometimes the age-related issue due to old age.
- The disk may add pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots, as it recovers from a trauma or damage. This is called a cervical disc herniation, also known as a ruptured or slipped disk, it may be due to degenerative disc problems or hormonal imbalance.
- Spinal stenosis can be cause of neck pain in which spinal column is narrow.
Neck pain or stiffness can cause by congenital issues, but it may be rare:
- congenital abnormalities
- cancer of the spine
You should also see a doctor if you have severe neck pain without apparent cause, lump in your neck, fever, headache, nausea, weakness in limbs, numbness, tingling sensations, pain in arms or legs, pain that radiates down your arms or legs, inability to move your arms or hands, bladder, or bowel dysfunction. If you have been in an accident or fall and your neck hurts, seek medical care immediately it might be life threatening sometimes.
Treatment of The Neck Pain
Your doctor may assess your complete physical health and ask your complete medical and family history. Tell every details of your symptoms to the doctor. You should also let them know about all prescription and supplements you have been taking give thoroughly history. You should also let your doctor know about any recent injuries or accidents you have had. Treatment for neck pain depends on the diagnosis. In addition to a thorough history and physical exam by your doctor, the medical imaging should be performed, it includes blood tests, CT scan, MRI, electromyography to check the health of your muscles and the nerves that control your muscles, and lumbar puncture test. Depending upon the condition of your problem, test, and diagnosis your doctor will plan out the treatments. Heat therapy, stretching, exercises and physical therapy, intramuscular injections, muscle relaxants, neck bands and collars, antibiotic injections, traction, hospital treatment if a condition such as meningitis or heart attack is the cause, surgery which is rarely necessary. Alternative therapies include:
- Acupuncture therapy
- chiropractic treatment
- Massage therapy
- TENS therapy
How to Ease Neck Pain at Home?
Follow several steps to relieve your minor neck pain or stiffness:
- Apply ice for the first few days. After that, apply heat with a heating pad, hot compress, or by taking a hot shower taking 30 min of warm bath can help in pain resolve.
- Take muscle relaxant or pain killers
- Avoid activities that is aggravating your symptoms such as sports heavy lifting. Getting back to your normal routine should be initiated slowly as your symptom’s relief.
- Exercise your neck every day. Perform head stretching in sideways and up down motions. Do physical activities with neck as much as you can.
- Maintain a good posture.
- Avoid cradling the phone between your neck and shoulder, sit with a good posture and use mobile in correct position.
- Change your position often.
- Get a gentle neck massage do not apply it vigorously.
- Use a good soft neck pillow while sleeping and change it in every 2nd week.
- Do not use a neck brace or collar without your doctor’s approval. If you do not use them properly, they can make your symptoms worse.