Pain in the neck is a common medical condition. Neck pain can be caused by a number of conditions and diseases and can affect any tissue in the neck. While most zaab is not a serious condition, some have more serious causes. You can find more information below.
Is neck pain serious?
Neck pain is a condition that many people experience from time to time. In such a case, sometimes pain and stiffness may be felt in the neck. In most cases, the cause of the pain is poor posture or overuse, and people may describe it as neck pain . Sometimes neck pain is caused by injury from a fall, contact sports, or any type of impact.
Most of the time, neck pain is not a serious condition and can go away in a few days. But in some cases, neck pain may indicate serious injury or illness and may require the care of a doctor. If you have neck pain that persists for more than a week, is severe, or is accompanied by other symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.
What causes neck pain?
Neck pain, which can also be felt as neck pain and stiffness, may occur for the following reasons:
This is usually caused by activities and behaviors such as:
- bad posture
- Working at a desk for too long without changing positions
- Sleeping in a bad position of the neck
- hurting the neck during exercise
The neck is particularly susceptible to injury from falls, car accidents, and sports, where the neck muscles and ligaments are forced out of their normal range. If the neck bones are broken, the spinal cord can also be damaged. A neck injury caused by a sudden jolt of the head is often called a whiplash injury.
Neck pain can also be a sign of a heart attack, but it often occurs along with other heart attack symptoms such as:
- Shortness of breath
- left arm pain
- jaw pain
If your neck hurts and you have other signs of a heart attack, you should call an ambulance or go to the emergency room right away.
Meningitis is inflammation of the thin tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord. People with meningitis often present with fever and headache , along with stiff neck . Meningitis can be fatal and is a medical emergency. If you have symptoms of meningitis, you should seek help right away.
Other causes include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis causes swelling of the joints, joint pain , and bony spurs. When these occur in the neck region, neck pain may occur.
- Osteoporosis weakens bones and can cause minor fractures. This condition usually happens on the hands or knees, but it can also happen in the neck.
- Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes muscle pain in the body, especially in the neck and shoulder area.
- As we age, cervical discs can degenerate. This is known as spondylosis or osteoarthritis of the neck. This can narrow the space between the vertebrae. It also adds stress to your joints.
- When the disc protrudes from trauma or injury, it can put pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots. This is called a herniated cervical disc, also known as a ruptured or slipped disc.
- Spinal stenosis occurs when the spine narrows and puts pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots as it exits the vertebrae. This may be due to long-term inflammation caused by arthritis or other conditions.
In rare cases, neck pain or stiffness (pain and stiffness in the neck) is caused by:
- congenital abnormalities
- spinal cancer
What are neck pain and possible accompanying symptoms?
Possible symptoms that may accompany neck pain include:
- Pain that usually worsens by holding your head in one place for long periods of time, such as when driving a car or working at a computer
- Muscle tension and spasms
- Decreased ability to move your head
When should you see a doctor?
Most neck pain or stiffness improves gradually with home treatment. If it doesn’t get better, you should see your doctor. If you experience severe pain in the neck as a result of an injury, such as a motor vehicle accident, diving accident, or fall, you should seek emergency help.
You should consult a doctor if you have neck pain such as:
- If severe
- persists for several days without relief
- If it spreads to the arms or legs
- If accompanied by headache, numbness, weakness or tingling
Which doctor should I go to for neck pain?
The doctor you should go to for neck pain is your family doctor or an orthopedic or neurologist . An orthopedist is a doctor who specializes in musculoskeletal conditions, including those affecting the spine. A neurologist is a doctor who specializes in diseases of the brain and nerves.
How is the cause of neck pain diagnosed?
Your doctor will take a medical history and perform a physical exam. He or she will check for tenderness, numbness, and muscle weakness and will want to see how far you can move your head forward, backward, and sideways.
To better understand the cause of your neck pain, your doctor may order imaging tests such as:
- X-rays: X -rays can reveal areas in your neck where your nerves or spinal cord may be pinched by bony spurs or other degenerative changes.
- CT scan : CT scans combine X-ray images taken from many different directions to produce detailed cross-sectional views of the internal structures of your neck.
- MRI-Emar: MRI-Emar uses radio waves and a strong magnetic field to create detailed images of bones and soft tissues, including the spinal cord and nerves coming from the spinal cord.
It is possible to have X-ray or MRI evidence of structural problems in your neck without symptoms. Imaging studies are best used in addition to a careful history and physical exam to determine the cause of your pain.
- Electromyography (EMG): If your doctor suspects that your neck pain may be related to a pinched nerve, they may recommend an EMG. This involves inserting thin needles into your skin and performing tests to measure nerve conduction velocity to determine if certain nerves are working properly.
- Blood tests: Blood tests can sometimes provide evidence of inflammatory or infectious conditions that may be causing or contributing to your neck pain.
How is neck pain treated?
The most common types of mild to moderate neck or neck pain and stiffness respond well to self-care, usually within two or three weeks. If neck pain persists, your doctor may recommend other treatments.
Your doctor may prescribe muscle relaxants and tricyclic antidepressants to relieve pain, as well as stronger pain medications than you can get over-the-counter.
Remember, your doctor will decide which medicine to take and how.
Other non-drug treatments include:
- Physical therapy: A physical therapist can teach you correct posture, alignment, and neck strengthening exercises, and may use heat, ice, electrical stimulation, and other measures to relieve your pain and prevent its recurrence.
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation: Electrodes placed on your skin near painful areas deliver small electrical impulses that can relieve pain.
- Traction: This treatment method uses weights, pulleys, or an air sac to gently stretch your neck. Under the supervision of a medical professional and physiotherapist, this therapy can provide relief for some neck pains, especially pain due to nerve root irritation.
- Short-term immobilization: A soft collar that supports your neck can help relieve pain by putting pressure on the structures in your neck. However, if used for more than three hours or more than one to two weeks at a time, it can do more harm than good.
Surgery and other procedures
Surgery and other treatment options include:
- Steroid injections: Your doctor may inject corticosteroid medications near nerve roots, small facet joints in the bones of your cervical spine, or muscles in your neck to help with pain. Numbing medications such as lidocaine can also be injected to relieve your neck pain.
- Surgery: Surgery that is rarely needed for neck pain may be an option to relieve nerve root or spinal cord compression.
What is good for neck pain?
Self-care measures you can try to relieve neck pain include:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers: You can use over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen , naproxen sodium, and acetaminophen, by consulting your pharmacist or doctor.
- Hot and cold compresses: You can reduce inflammation by applying an ice pack or ice cold for up to 20 minutes several times a day. You can also replace the cold process with heat. You can also try taking a warm shower on a low setting or using a heating pad.
- Home exercises: After the worst of your pain has passed, you can start light stretching exercises every day. Your doctor or a physical therapist can teach you the appropriate technique.
Alternative medicine for neck pain
If you are interested in trying alternative treatments for neck or neck pain and stiffness, you should talk to your doctor first. Your doctor can discuss the benefits and risks with you.
Alternative treatments include:
- Acupuncture: Acupuncture involves inserting thin needles into various points on your body. Studies have found that acupuncture can help with many types of pain. However, studies on neck pain are mixed. You may need to undergo several acupuncture sessions for best results. Acupuncture is generally considered safe when performed using sterile needles by a certified practitioner.
- Chiropractic: Chiropractic is an alternative treatment method that involves intervention in the spine, bones and muscles to regulate the nervous system. Chiropractic treatments to the neck can provide short-term pain relief and pose minimal risk for many people.
- Massage: During the massage, a trained practitioner softens the muscles in your neck with their hands. There is little scientific evidence that massage will work for people with neck pain, but when combined with treatments your doctor recommends, it can provide relief.