What is Neck Pain?Conditions
Neck pain is a common complaint and refers to any discomfort felt in the structures that make up your neck. There are different types of neck pain, which can range from mild to severe and can be acute or chronic.
If you’re tired of suffering from the debilitating effects of chronic neck pain, Back Pain Centers of America is here for you. Call [sc name=”patient_phone_number_dash”] now to speak with us so we can connect you with a board-certified orthopedist who can provide the individualized care you need.
Your neck consists of the upper portion of your spine to the skull and is made up of bones (vertebrae), ligaments and muscles that support your head and allow you the flexibility you need to move. The discs between each vertebra act as cushions that absorb shock during movement or trauma. Neck pain can result from issues with any one of these things and may be accompanied by stiffness, which is another common neck pain symptom.
Neck Pain Causes and Risk Factors
Given that your neck supports the weight of your head, it’s no surprise that most people experience neck pain throughout their lives.
The following are common causes of neck pain:
- Overuse – Being hunched over a computer for long periods, holding your phone under your chin and other common daily activities can cause neck pain. Straining the muscles in your neck can also happen from something as simple as poor posture when standing, sitting or lying down or from improper heavy lifting.
- Degenerative changes – Aging and everyday wear and tear can cause the discs between the vertebrae in your neck to deteriorate, leading to narrowing of the disc space or bone spurs. Herniated cervical discs can also put pressure on the spinal cord or surrounding nerves, causing neck pain.
- Injury – An injury such as a fall or car accident can cause whiplash or even fractures.
Poor posture and medical conditions, such as osteoarthritis, increase your risk of developing neck pain. Jobs that require heavy lifting, sitting for long periods or holding your head/neck in the same position for extended periods can also increase your risk of neck pain.
Neck Pain Symptoms
Symptoms of neck pain can vary depending on the cause of the pain. For most people, neck pain is temporary and resolves on its own within a few days, but for some, the pain can be chronic and require treatment.
The signs and symptoms of neck pain may include:
- Muscle stiffness
- Muscle spasms
- Restricted flexibility
Neck pain can also be accompanied by headaches, shoulder pain and back pain.
Some types of neck pain may indicate a serious medical problem, especially when accompanied by weakness, numbness or tingling, or pain that radiates down the arms or legs. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, contact us so we can get you matched with the right doctor today.
Neck Pain Treatment Options
Most types of neck pain can be treated using self-care methods and home within a week or two. Some things that you can do to treat mild to moderate neck pain include:
- Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers – Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and acetaminophen may provide short-term relief of neck pain.
- Gentle stretching – Simple exercises, such as neck and shoulder rolls and slowly tilting your neck to the front and sides may help relieve stiffness and pain.
- Heat and cold – Using hot and cold packs or a warm shower may help loosen tense muscles and improve stiffness and pain.
Your doctor may recommend one of the following neck pain treatment options if your pain isn’t relieved using self-care methods:
- Prescription medication – A doctor may recommend prescription-strength medications, such as pain relievers and muscle relaxants.
- Physical therapy – A physical therapist will work with you using heat and ice, strengthening exercises and electrical stimulation. You will be taught proper posture and strengthening exercises to help prevent neck pain. Traction, which uses a special apparatus to gently extend your neck, may be used to alleviate pressure on cervical discs and improve pain.
- Injections – Corticosteroid injections and sometimes a numbing agent are injected into the cervical spine to provide pain relief.
- Immobilization – You may be given a soft neck collar to wear for a few hours a day or while you sleep. Immobilization for longer periods may worsen stiffness and pain, so it’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions.
- Surgery – Surgery may be recommended if your pain is severe and hasn’t responded to other neck pain treatment methods or to aid in the following:
- Stabilize the cervical spine
- Decompress the spinal cord
- Remove damaged discs
If you’ve lost your active lifestyle because of neck pain, Back Pain Centers of America is ready to help put your life back into your hands. Don’t delay relief any longer. Take the next step on the road to recovery. Call us today at [sc name=”patient_phone_number_dash”].
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