Neck Pain: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, and Exercise
March 21, 2022
Neck pain is the sensation of discomfort and stiffness in the neck area. It can result from disorders of any of the structures in the neck, including the cervical vertebrae and intervertebral discs, nerves, muscles, blood vessels, oesophagus, larynx, trachea, lymphatic organs, thyroid gland, or parathyroid glands.
Neck pain is a common complaint among people. Neck pain can arise due to various reasons like bad posture, it’s from poor posture or overuse, or sleeping in an awkward position. Sometimes, neck pain is caused by injury from a fall, contact sports(boxing, ice hockey, football) or whiplash (neck injury).
Neck pain sometimes is not serious and one can get relief from that within a few days. However, in some cases, neck pain can indicate a serious condition and require the ortho doctor’s assistance.
Neck Pain Symptoms
Neck pain can vary. Sometimes it will be acute and can be cured within a few days and sometimes it can be chronic. The neck pain may be mild and not interfere much with the activities of daily living, or it may be severe and cause disability.
People with neck pain often describe the pain as though their neck is stiff or stuck. Heaviness in the neck. Neck pain can sometimes cause a decreased range of motion.
Sharp or stabbing pain
Neck pain may feel like sharp or “stabbing” pain that is restricted to one area.
Pain during movement
Neck pain is aggravated by moving, twisting, or extending the cervical spine, either from side to side or up and down.
Radiating pain or numbness
The neck pain may radiate to your head, trunk, shoulder, and arms. If your neck pain involves the compression of a nerve, you may feel numbness, tingling, or weakness in either of your arms or hands
Pain that starts in your neck may also produce a headache called a cervicogenic headache. Neck pain with a headache may also be a symptom of a migraine headache.
Neck Pain Causes
Many reasons can hurt the neck. The common causes of neck pain include
This occurs usually from activities and behaviours such as poor posture, working at a desk for too long without changing position, sleeping with your neck in a bad position and jerking your neck during exercise.
The neck is particularly vulnerable to injury, especially in falls, car accidents, and sports, where the muscles and ligaments of the neck are forced to move outside of their normal range. If the neck bones (cervical vertebrae) are fractured, the spinal cord may also be damaged. Neck injury from sudden jerking of the head is commonly called whiplash.
Herniated disks or bone spurs in the vertebrae of your neck can press on the nerves branching out from the spinal cord.
Certain diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis can cause neck pain.
Other common causes of neck pain include
- Poor posture
- Repetitive motion
- Bad sleep habits
- Gritting your teeth
- Carrying a heavy shoulder bag or purse
- Pinched nerves
- Sports injuries or other injuries
- A fractured or collapsed vertebra- related to osteoporosis
- A slipped or herniated disk
- Narrowed spaces within your spine
Neck Pain – Treatment
The treatment for neck pain varies from person to person and it entirely depends on the causes of the neck pain. The doctors after a thorough examination and diagnosis will suggest a treatment.
Before diagnosing, one of the below-mentioned tests should be taken to arrive at the correct treatment.
- Blood test
- CT scan
- MRI scan
- Electromyography, which allows your doctor to check the health of your muscles and the nerves that control your muscles
- Lumbar puncture
A physical therapist can teach you correct posture, alignment and neck-strengthening exercises, and can use heat, ice, electrical stimulation and other measures to help ease your pain and prevent a recurrence.
Traction uses weights, pulleys or an air bladder to gently stretch your neck. This treatment, under the oversight of a clinical expert, may give some relief to the neck pain, particularly the pain related to nerve root irritation.
A delicate collar that upholds your neck might assist with soothing pain by easing the heat off the structures in your neck. In any case, if used three hours all at once or for more than one to two weeks, a collar could cause more damage.
Neck Pain Exercise
If you are enduring neck pain, exercising regularly and stretching will help in giving relief. Exercises like,
- Forward and backward tilt
- Seated twists
- Shoulder rolls
- Forward bend
- Backward bend
How can I relieve my neck pain?
- Apply ice
- Take OTC pain killers
- Take from break from sports or exercises
- Give exercise to necky
- Practice good posture
How do you know if neck pain is serious?
Neck pain is serious if you are suffering of :
- Stiff neck
- Sharp or stabbing pain
- Pain during movement
- Radiating pain or numbness
What is the fastest way to relieve neck pain?
- Physical therapy
- Short-term immobilization
What causes neck pain?
- Muscle strain
- Nerve compression