What’s the cause of neck pain?
The neck is comprised of vertebrae, which extend from your skull all the way to your upper torso. Cervical disks absorb shocks between the bones.
The ligaments, bones, and muscles in your neck support your head and allow for motion. Any inflammation, abnormalities, or injury can cause neck pain or stiffness.
A lot of people suffer from neck pain or stiffness occasionally. It’s usually due to poor posture, overuse, or by sleeping in an unnatural position. Sometimes, neck pain is caused by injury from a fall, contact sports, or whiplash.
The majority of the time, neck pain isn’t a serious condition and can be relieved in a matter of days.
In certain instances neck pain could be a sign of serious injury or illness and requires treatment by a physician.
You should seek immediate medical attention if you experience neck pain that lasts more than one week, or is extremely severe, or accompanied by other symptoms.
Neck symptoms of pain
The symptoms of neck pain can rangeTrusted Source in the severity and length. In most cases, neck pain can be chronic and lasts just two or three days weeks. Sometimes, the pain could become persistent. The pain in your neck could be mild and not interfere significantly with your routine or everyday activities or activities, or it could be extreme and cause disability.
Neck pain can be characterized by:
- Stiff neck. People with neck discomfort often report feeling as if their neck feels “stiff” or “stuck.” Neck discomfort can lead to reduced range of motion.
- Sharp pain. Sharp pain in the neck may be described as “stabbing” or sharp pain.
- Pain while moving. Moving, twisting, and stretching your cervical spine from one side to another is often a cause of neck pain.
- Radiating pain or numbness. The pain in your neck may cause pain in your head or shoulder, as well as your trunk and arms. If your neck pain involves the compression” of the nerve. A pinched nerve may cause neck pain. It could result in a burning feeling or intense pain. The majority of the time, it starts in the neck area and progresses through the arm. If you notice this, consult a doctor.
- Headache. Pain that starts in your neck could cause a headache, which is known as a cervicogenic headache. A migraine headache may cause headaches and neck pain.
- When you feel pain, it’s known as palpation. Neck pain may increase if your cervical spine is palpated (physically examinated).
Causes of neck pain
There are many causes for neck pain and stiffness can develop.
Tension and strain in muscles
It is often due to the actions and behavior of:
- Poor posture
- A long time spent at a computer without moving around
- lying on your back with your neck in a poor position
- jerking your neck during exercise
The neck is particularly vulnerable to injury from accidents like falls and car accidents.
The spinal cord could also be affected if the neck bones ( cervical vertebrae ) are fractured. A neck injury caused by abrupt jerking of the head is typically referred to as whiplash..
The pain in the neck can be a sign of heart attack. It is often accompanied by other symptoms of a heart attack like:
If your neck hurts or you have other symptoms of heart attacks, dial 911 or visit an emergency room as soon as you can.
Meningitis refers to inflammation of the tissues that surround the brain and spinal chord. In people who have meningitis, they might experience:
- stiff neck
- sensitivity to light
Meningitis is a serious condition that can lead to death.
If you experience the signs of meningitis, you should seek medical assistance immediately.
Other causes of neck pain:
- Rheumatoidarthritis may cause swelling, pain, as well as bone spurs. They can also cause neck pain, if they occur in the neck.
- Osteoporosis weakens bones and can lead to small fractures. It is most common in the hands and knees however it can be an issue for necks too.
- Fibromyalgia causes muscular pain throughout the body, with a particular focus on the shoulder and neck region.
- The cervical discs may become more fragile as we the passage of time. This condition is called Spondylosis or osteoarthritis. This can narrow the space between the vertebrae. This can also cause stress on your joints.
- A disc protrudes due to injuries or trauma can place tension on the spinal cord or nerve roots. This is also referred to as a cervical disc that has been herniated.
- The condition of spinal stenosis occurs as the spine narrows, which puts pressure on the spinal cord or the nerve roots as it exits the vertebrae. It could be due to long-term inflammation due to arthritis, or from other diseases.
In rare instances the neck stiffness or pain can be caused by:
- congenital abnormalities
- Spinal cancer
When should you visit your doctor
If symptoms persist for more than a week consult an expert. Consult a doctor if you are suffering from:
- No obvious reason for the extreme neck pain.
- A lump in your neck
- swollen glands
- trouble swallowing or breathing
- The sensation of numbness
- discomfort that radiates down your arms and legs
- difficulty in moving your hands or arms
- Inability to touch your chest with your chin
- bladder or bowel dysfunction
Seek medical attention immediately in the event that your neck hurts due to an accident or a fall.
How neck pain can be addressed
Your complete medical history will be reviewed and a doctor will conduct a physical exam. It is important to discuss all of the details concerning your health issues. Inform your doctor about any prescription or over-the counter medications you’ve used and any supplements.
Even even if the accident or injury doesn’t seem to be related consult your physician about any recent injuries and accidents.
The treatment of neck pain depends on the reason for the pain. In order to help your doctor determine the root of neck pain, your doctor may have to take an extensive account of your history as well as perform an examination of the body.
- blood test
- CT scan
- MRI scan
- electromyography, which allows your doctor to examine the health of your muscles and the nerves that control your muscles.
- lumbar puncture (spinal tap)
Your doctor might recommend you to a specialist according to the results. Treatment for neck pain may consist of:
- ice and heat therapy
- stretching, exercises, and physical therapy
- Pain medication
- corticosteroid injections
- muscle relaxants
- neck collar
- antibiotics in case you suffer from an infection
- medical treatment, especially if a medical condition like meningitis or heart attack are the causes
- Surgery, which is seldom required.
Alternative therapies are:
These techniques are only suitable for licensed professionals.
How can you relieve neck pain at home
These easy steps are a great way to relieve minor neck stiffness and discomfort.
- In the beginning you should apply some ice. After that you can apply heat using an heating pad, hot compress, or take bathing in hot water.
- OTC pain relievers such as acetaminophen , or ibuprofen, can be taken.
- Take a few days off from activities that may aggravate your symptoms and heavy lifting. Resume normal activities gradually when your symptoms begin to improve.
- Every day you should stretch your neck. Begin by slowly moving your head from side to side and up-and down.
- Practice your posture.
- Avoid cradling the phone between your shoulder and neck pain.
- You should change your position frequently. Don’t sit or stand in one position for too long.
- Give your neck a massage.
- Make sure you have a neck pillow that is specifically designed to rest.
- Avoid wearing a neck brace or collar without your doctor’s approval. They can make your symptoms worse when used improperly. these devices.
What is the outlook for neck pain sufferers?
Most people suffer from neck pain because of tension and poor posture. In these cases, your neck pain should go away if you practice good posture and rest your neck muscles when they’re sore.
Schedule an appointment with the doctor if neck pain doesn’t improve at home.