Just about everyone experiences neck pain at some point in life. Whether the pain results from sleeping in an awkward position, an auto accident, participation in sports or something else, this discomfort has the potential to significantly decrease your quality of life. Below, we take a look at neck pain symptoms, the different types of neck pain and the best treatment options.
Neck Pain Symptoms
Neck pain manifests in the form of discomfort along the neck. The discomfort can move to the shoulder or even the lower portion of the skull. Neck movement will likely feel restricted. Moving your neck has the potential to worsen the pain. In some cases, neck pain will even spread along one or both arms and possibly even reach the fingers.
Certain individuals feel the “pins and needles” sensations in a part of their arm or hand. This results from nerve irritation moving to the arm from the neck’s spinal cord. If you notice any such symptoms, meet with your doctor to determine if there is ample pressure or damage to the nerve in the neck.
Types of Neck Pain
The most common type of neck pain is the nonspecific variety. This pain is sometimes referred to as mechanical or simple neck pain. The cause of nonspecific back pain is unknown. A sprained or strained ligament or muscle in the neck can cause this type of pain. Even poor posture can contribute to neck pain. Those who spend most of their workday sitting in front of a computer screen tend to suffer from nonspecific back pain more frequently than others as they are consistently bending forward.
Whiplash typically occurs in automobile accidents. This is a jolting of the neck that has the potential to cause considerable pain. It is interesting to note pain from whiplash might not be felt immediately after the accident. In some cases, it takes upwards of several days for whiplash pain to manifest.
Another type of neck pain, sudden-onset torticollis or “wry neck,” causes the head to twist to a side. This is an extremely painful condition that makes it difficult to straighten the head. The cause of this type of neck pain is often quite mysterious.
Do Not Let Pain Dominate Your Life
Some doctors are adamantly exposing the neck to cold temperatures increases the chances of wry neck. Wear and tear, also known as degeneration, of the spinal vertebrae and the discs between these vertebrae are the top cause of consistent neck pain in older individuals. Most of those who reach the age of 50 have at least a slight degree of such degeneration.
Cervical radiculopathy occurs when a nerve root is pressed and damaged as it moves out from the spinal cord in the region of the neck. This pain is likely to spur numbness and weakness in one or both arms. Cervical radiculopathy is typically caused by a prolapsed disc and cervical spondylosis. Such prolapsed discs are commonly referred to as slipped discs yet the disc does not really slip. The soft portion of the disc prolapses through the hard part of the disc and presses on the nerve as it moves out of the vertebra.
Neck Pain Treatment
Most doctors encourage patients to be active rather than idle after neck pain manifests. Do everything you can to move your neck throughout the day. Though the pain might be so extreme you need an initial day of rest, you should make a concerted effort to move your neck following this rest period. This does not mean you have to hit the gym for an intense workout session every other day. Gently exercise your neck as soon as you can.
Do not let your neck stiffen. Gradually expand the range of neck movement by moving your neck several times throughout the day, engage in your normal activities and you might find the pain lessens. When it comes to whiplash treatment, some patients have found relief from painkillers yet this is not the best solution. Medication merely temporarily numbs the pain instead of treating it. Furthermore, once the pain eventually dissipates, there is the potential for the patient to still crave the pain medication. If the neck pain becomes chronic, additional treatment will be required.
In some cases, muscle relaxants like diazepam serve as effective sports injury treatments. Others find relief from altering their posture. If your sitting position is flawed in any way, you will likely experience neck and/or back pain in due time. Sit straight and upright throughout the entirety of your workday. Some patients have obtained relief from exercises like yoga and Pilates. Even sleeping with a firm pillow can help. Meet with us to find out the most effective auto injury treatment or another type of treatment for your unique neck injury.
If you would like to learn more about Neck Pain Treatment and the various treatments we provide, call (714) 604-1599 to schedule a consultation.