Ask anyone on the street if they have ever experienced neck pain, and the majority will say yes. Neck pain happens to all of us at one time or another. Sometimes the cause can be minor, such as sleeping in an uncomfortable position, or from overexertion in an activity. There are also conditions, both acute and chronic, that can cause neck pain that is sometimes severe. Here are some conditions that cause neck pain, and treatment strategies to provide relief.
Poor Sleeping Habits
This is a common cause behind neck pain. Old or sub-quality pillows, falling asleep in a recliner in front of the television or even sleeping on your side can exacerbate the problem, causing recurring cricks in your neck. One solution is to sleep with a pillow under your knees to help create better alignment. Try new pillows that offer the right amount of support for your neck, and try to avoid sleeping anywhere other than your bed. Try sleeping flat on your back for the best spinal alignment.
Age-Related Wear and Tear
As we age, the cartilage in our spinal column begins to break down, which can lead to neck pain. This wear and tear is most felt among those who perform manual labor, or those who have desk jobs that require hours of sitting. Poor posture can also contribute to this breakdown. All of this wear and tear can lead to osteoarthritis or degenerative disk disease.
Possible treatments for this type of condition include chiropractic care, physical therapy, massage therapy and stretching exercises. Alternating hot and cold packs on the neck can bring some comfort. Oral medications designed to reduce swelling and inflammation can also help. Some sufferers use glucosamine and chondroitin, turmeric or other natural remedies to reduce pain. In extreme cases, surgical intervention may be required to alleviate the pain.
Whiplash is a common reason behind neck pain. Whiplash occurs when the head is jolted or rocked quickly, and can be caused by auto accidents, amusement park rides or sports such as football. When you suffer from whiplash, the muscles and tendons of your neck and shoulders can become torn, leading to pain. Oral medications can help alleviate pain while the muscles and tendons heal.
In severe cases, disability can occur, and even in milder cases, sufferers report chronic pain and stiffness. Whiplash can occur in even minor fender benders when the car is travelling at a low rate of speed. Some symptoms of whiplash include headaches that start at the base of the skull, the sensation of losing control of the neck muscles, tingling in hands or arms caused by inflammation and dizziness.
We store stress in our bodies by tensing our muscles. This is due to the body producing adrenaline to combat the stressful situation. If you are under constant amounts of stress, the body tends to tense out of habit, leading to pain in the neck, shoulders and back. Reducing stress is the best treatment for this type of pain. Calming routines such as practicing yoga, going for a healing walk and receiving regular massages can help alleviate stress-induced neck pain.
The medical term for a pinched nerve is cervical radiculopathy, and it can occur when a nerve in your neck is compressed. This can be caused by the regular wear and tear of arthritis, or can be brought on by an injury. A herniated disk can result from lifting heavy objects, twisting movements or bending too sharply. There are instances where the cause is not easily discerned. Pinched nerve treatments include rest, physical therapy and oral medications. Sometimes steroid injections can be used to reduce inflammation.
If you are suffering from neck pain, contact the team at DOCS Heath today to schedule a consultation.