Many people have experienced pain in the neck at least once in life and have probably recovered spontaneously or with a little help of some painkillers. It’s not always benign, but if diagnosed properly, neck pain is curable, not something you should adapt to.
Is neck pain something you got used to?
Neck pain and strained muscles are a common issue many people complain about. Fortunately, the most frequent causes are the benign ones, but occasionally neck pain can be the first manifestation of several quite serious conditions. Usually, it is all about your wrong posture while sitting and working, sedentary life style, sleeping in an uncomfortable bed or mild viral infection. Among elder people, osteoarthritis is also a common underlying cause. The trick is to distinguish whether it’s just a sign of wrongly stretched neck tissue or it’s something to worry about.
The typical presentation
In most cases, the symptoms are just unpleasant sensations in the form of tightness, muscle spasms and limited movement of otherwise flexible tissue. Typically, the pain worsens when you hold your head in the same position for a little longer, especially if you lean over the working space or computer. Chronic pain in the neck often leads to chronic headaches, sometimes an even problem with vision. If it persists and bothers the person significantly, it can cause problems with sleeping and concentration. On the other hand, in some dangerous situations, depending on the underlying cause, the pain in the neck can present as acute, sharp and severe, followed by other symptoms, such as numbness of arms and hands, pain radiating into the shoulder, jaw or down the spine. These symptoms require immediate medical treatment.
What’s hurting your neck?
Many tissues crossest in the region of neck enabling it to be at the same time flexible enough so the head can move in all directions, but firm enough to hold the position of the head and withstand the pressure. Several big blood vessels and crucial segment of a spine lie here, as well as the portions of airways and some significant nerves. It all makes neck quite vulnerable, and every pain should be considered seriously till it proves otherwise. Most common causes are overuse of muscles leaving them strained, and the same goes for joints. Osteoarthritis degenerates the bone tissue of vertebra in the neck provoking chronic pain. These degenerative diseases often lead to nerve compression, and this leads to sharp pain. The neck is the critical area when it comes to injuries, because it frequently gets damaged in car accidents, falls or sports. Serious injuries of the neck may end up in paralyzes or mass bleeding. Also, some serious systemic diseases can present as neck pain, such as cancers, meningitis or some autoimmune illnesses.
Should you call for doctor’s help?
In most cases, neck pain can be treated successfully at home with mild painkillers or adequate exercises. However, if the pain persists, if it’s sharp and severe, if it radiates to other areas or goes with some other symptoms, you certainly should check it up.
How to treat or volume down these unpleasant sensations?
There are many medications useful when dealing with neck pain. Some are OTC, others your doctors can prescribe, such as muscle relaxants or antidepressants. Physical therapy, especially stimulation with special electrodes or even short immobilization showed great results. Severe pain can be treated with steroid injections and finally, there are always surgical procedures as the last option.