Neck pain start anywhere in the neck, from the bottom of the head and can spread up to the shoulders. The pain from the neck can also radiate to the arms and upper back. The pain may restrict the movements of the head and neck.
What are the causes of neck pain?
Neck pain is a chief complaint of office-based employees who stay long in front of the computers. However, staying in computer may not the only culprit behind; other health factors may cause neck pain.
- Worn out joints
All the joints in the body experience wear and tear as you age. The worn out joints may cause osteoarthritis in the neck.
- Muscle strain
Certain activities can result to muscle strain. Activities like driving for long, playing video games and wrong sleeping habits may strain the muscles in neck area.
Stress may result to muscle tension. Tension can tighten the muscles in the shoulders, head and neck thus resulting to neck pain when the muscles are move.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis commonly affects the joints in the hands then the joints in the neck. This may give chronic neck pain if the rheumatoid arthritis is not managed well.
Injury to the spinal cord may result to neck pain. Do not move the patient if you suspect severe spinal cord injury.
Meningitis affects the lining of the spinal cord and the brain. One common symptoms of this disease is muscle stiffness and neck pain.
Neck pain can be a serious symptom of cancer growing in the spinal area.
What are the neck pain symptoms?
Neck pain symptoms vary and the severity of pain differs depending on the underlying cause.
- Generally, a shooting pain starts on the bottom of the head down to the shoulder blades. This may also spread to back and the arms.
- Neck area is stiff and sore.
- Pain worsens every time neck or head is move.
- Restricted head and neck movements because of neck stiffness
- Pain can be accompanied with headache
Managing neck pain
Neck pain can bring discomfort for a couple of days up to weeks. There are several cases that it is chronic and may last longer depending on factors like work and lifestyle.
- Have a good posture.Â Do not slouch while standing or sitting.
- Adjust your work area. If computer is part of your work, keep your monitor at eye level so as not to strain your neck and back.
- Do not lift heavy objects on just one side of your shoulder.
- In driving, adjust the car seat in a balanced and comfortable position. Do not strain your legs, head and neck.
- Do not sleep on your stomach. This may strain your neck and head.
- Avoid sports and strenuous activities that may aggravate neck pain.
What are the neck pain treatments?
Rest will normally treat pain and stiffness in the neck. If discomfort persists, your doctor may advise you the following neck pain treatments.
1. Physical Therapy
Physical therapy uses massage and some exercises are effective in treating soreness and swelling of the neck area. This reduces the stiffness and allows mobility in the patient. This should only be done by licensed and trusted physical therapist.
2. Heating Pad
Heating pad can help in decreasing the stiffness and tenderness of the neck. Place a heating pad for 20 minutes at least 3 to 4 times a day in the affected area.
3.Â Neck Exercises
Gentle neck exercises and stretching may improve blood circulation, strengthening muscle function and improve your posture. However, not all exercises are acceptable, strenuous exercises are not ideal for neck pain. Ask your doctor which neck exercises are recommended for your condition.
Stress is a big factor in straining the muscles of the body. Too much tension can result to muscle stiffness and pain. Stress is generally part of life but you can find ways to manage it. One way to deal with stress is yoga. Yoga improves breathing, muscle mobility and reduces stress in general.
5. Cervical Neck Collar
Your doctor may advise you to have cervical neck collar to support the neck while moving. This is usually used for only short period until the neck can move without straining itself.
6. Quit smoking
Smoking is bad not just in the lungs but it also affects the proper circulation of oxygen in the body. Quitting smoking will improve oxygen circulation and lessen muscle spasm.
Here are some effective neck pain treatments. If pain persists longer or if mobility is badly affected, you may consult your doctor for added treatments.