Rear view of a young man holding her neck in pain, isolated on white background, monochrome photo with red as a symbol for the hardening
Neck pain affects the cervical part of the spine. The ache may persist for a day or more and fade away on its own.
What causes neck pain
One of the most popular causes of neck pain is sleeping in a position that strains the cervical spine, which supports the head. Constant neck pain also affects people who spend hours on the computer typing away in the same position. Stress is another reason for this unexplained ache.
This problem also crops up after an injury. For example whiplash and sprains are major culprits. The muscles around the neck can also become sensitive from viral infections such as the flu, and lead to untold aches. The older generation sometimes gets constant neck pain due to degeneration of the cervical bones. Chronic neck pain can also result from medical conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis, though this is quite rare.
Neck Pain Symptoms
The pain may extend to the thoracic spine and the arms. The ache can also cause a stiff neck and lead to pain spasms when you move. In other cases, neck pain causes severe headaches. If the injury has extended to the spinal nerve roots and the spinal cord, your limbs may go numb, and you may lose control of your bladder. The pressure on the system also leads to sensitivity of the arms.
Neck pain may not be a serious problem, but a few things should raise the red flag. See a doctor if
The pain causes numbness
The pain becomes severe
If you have an underlying condition like cancer
If the pain comes with other symptoms like a fever or sensitivity of the cervical spine
Neck Pain Diagnosis
The doctor will analyse your medical history and conduct a physical examination of your neck. If there is need to rule out an infection or other medical condition, the doctor may perform a blood test. If the problem persists, you will need an X-ray to look for nerve damage or for the doctor to confirm the cause of neck pain. Other tests are MRI scan, CT scan and Myelogram.
Neck Pain Treatment
Try neck pain remedy at home, to handle a stiff neck. Most importantly, go on with daily chores so you can improve circulation and mobility. Take pain relievers like Paracetamol and ibuprofen to ease the discomfort. Alternatively, rub ibuprofen gel on the affected area. The choice of drugs and dosage depends on your prescription. You can also massage your neck muscles with a hot water bottle and look for a good pillow to improve your sleeping style.
Other proven neck pain relief methods are
Change your posture
Do not wear a neck collar
Do not drive until your stiff neck improves
Find great neck pain exercises
Neck Pain Exercises
Exercises for neck pain include manual therapy like physiotherapy, chiropractic and osteopathy. You also need to improve your posture through fitness workouts that focus on this area. Acupuncture can also come in handy since it has proved that it works.
How to Prevent Neck Pain
Neck pain in children or adults is avoidable to a large percentage. You can do this through
Regular neck exercises
Good sleeping habits
Do not slouch or sit for a long period