How To Stop And Cure Neck Pain
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Neck Pain Relief
What are the causes of Stiff Neck and Neck Pain
The text neck syndrome is one of the common causes of chronic back and neck pain in modern time. This chart explains the weight your cervical spine is bearing at different angles of your head.
Frequently Asked Questions (Q&A)
Chronic neck pain and stiff neck may be simply just a minor irritant to some people but this health problem can actually evolve into a crippling agonizingly painful condition for others. Perhaps this is where the phrase "pain in the neck" came from. It is also rather often that people suffering from neck pain will eventually be afflicted with back pain as well largely due to the spinal deterioration as they age.
Although women are more susceptible to this irritating and painful condition, it is quite a common syndrome affecting both genders. Most people will also experience the non-chronic condition at some point in their lifetime. So it is very important to nip it at the bud to prevent the neck pain and stiffness from developing into a more severe and chronic health issue. If you are reading this article, then you are very likely a victim of the neck pain syndrome too, aren't you?
There are many reasons that can cause neck pain (cervical spine pain). The pain can be developed as an aftermath of injuries or trauma to the neck, slipped discs, spine curvature (scoliosis), bone cancer, constant poor posture, certain types infection, sleeping in awkward positions, prolonged use of the computer keyboard or simply looking down at the mobile phone too often (text neck syndrome), orthopedic mechanical disorder, pinched nerves, bulging discs and various forms of arthritis such as cervical stenosis and spondylosis. Strangely, for some people who are suffering from neck pain, no medical reasons can be traced to diagnose their pain and discomfort.
If the pain comes on suddenly and is rather intense, this will usually be caused by some acute forms of muscular rheumatism, torticollis (also can be known as twisted or wry neck), facet joint syndrome (osteoarthritis) or an injury. If your cervical spine pain continues for more than three months, then it can be categorized as chronic neck pain.
For most of the time, the pain is usually felt as a stiffness to the neck bone area and sometimes the pain may radiate away to the surrounding muscle tissues. The pain can at times shoots to the shoulder and to the back causing inflammation to areas affected. Ocassionally, the pain can also shoots out to the arms and the head causing pins and needles like sensations in the hands and getting headaches.
Sometimes neck pain is a symptom of meningitis (an inflammation of the membranes around the brain and the spinal cord) and if meningitis is suspected, urgent immediate medical attention must be sought after because if left untreated, meningitis may lead to permanent disability, coma and eventual fatality.
Don't let your neck pain or stiff neck disrupt your daily life and activities. Go on and do things as you normally would do and stay active when bed rest is not prescribed by your medical professional. You will just need to take some simple precautionary measures if your neck is stiff and when flexibility and functionality of your head movements are affected. When this happens, avoid driving, crossing the road or working with heavy machinery to avoid unnecessary accidents.
If your neck pain condition hurts you badly enough, just apply some topical muscle relaxant or apply pain relief patches which will usually give you some pain relief. Just remember that most neck pain issues are not serious medical conditions and that most people will be out of pain in a week or so or even less unless your condition is chronic in nature.
If the pain persists for more than a week, then you may want to pay a visit to your doctor's office. Your medical practitioner will diagnose the causes of your pain and will put you on some medications or refer you to an orthopedic specialist (bone specialist), a neurologist (if your nerves are affected), a physiotherapist or a chiropractor for further follow up treatments. Your medical doctor will usually prescribe some painkillers, anti-inflammation drugs and some muscle relaxants as well to suppress the symptoms of your condition.
He or she may also send you for some blood tests, X-rays, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and other scans for a more accurate diagnosis and to look more deeply at the severity of your neck pain condition. Surgery will be the last option as all surgeries come with inherent risks and they are also not a guaranteed cure.
You may also want to try out some alternative methods for pain relief such as acupuncture and acupressure. Your physiotherapist or chiropractor will also advise you on exercises and stretches to relief the stiffness as well as strengthening the muscles around the neck. Your chiropractor may also do some spinal adjustments to correct some imbalances of the spine. For most people, the pain relief and muscle strengthening exercises when done correctly and regularly will go a long way to ease your pain in the neck.
There are also home use tools and gadgets which you can buy to adjust, alleviate and treat neck pains such as the cervical Denneroll, the neck posture regainer and home use neck traction gadgets and devices, just to name a two of them.
1) What is Cervical Spondylosis? - Cervical spondylosis is an aging bone degeneration condition that affects the joints and discs in your neck bone or what is known as the cervical spine. It is as a result of wear and tear of the cartilage tissues and the vertebrae through the years and that is why this problem is usually found in older people although not exclusively so. The condition can also develop through other factors such as injuries to the cervical spine, prolonged bad body postures, smoking, obesity or simply because of genetic factors.
It is estimated that more than 80% of people over the age of 60 suffer from cervical spondylosis although not everyone of them will experience the manifestation of the symptoms of the disease. For the unfortunate ones that do, it can manifest as neck stiffness, chronic and even severe pain. These symptoms usually develop gradually but can also occur suddenly out of the blue from nowhere.
You may be suffering from cervical spondylosis if you are experiencing pain, stiffness or discomfort in your neck albeit it is not limited to only the areas of the neck only as it can also be pain or numbness around the shoulder blade, fingers and even the legs. Sometimes, muscle weakness can also be felt when the patients find it difficult to lift their arms or grasp objects tightly. This is where your physical functionality may be compromised.
If you are experiencing the less common symptoms like loss of balance or loss of bladder or bowel control, then medical attention should be sought after immediately.
2) Can neck pain be a symptom of other medical conditions? - It is rare that neck pain may be a symptom of other medical conditions. However, do consult your doctor if the pain comes along with numbness of the limbs, loss of strength, shooting pain felt in the limbs or shoulders, muscle spasms or loss of balance. On the other hand, other medical conditions may cause neck pain are meningitis, certain types of cancers and rheumatoid arthritis.
3) What are Cervical Spurs? - Cervical spurs are growths of excess bone in the neck bone that can be caused by injuries to the cervical spine or by osteoarthritis in the aging process. These spurs are also known as osteophytes and may not always be painful enough to be in need of medical help although the condition can lead to nerve compression because of the narrowing of the nerve pathways in the cervical spine.
When nerve compression occurs, the patient may experience numbness in the limbs or pain in several other parts of the body commonly known as "referred pain". This can be so bad that the patients daily activities are affected because of the pain. Physical flexibility, functionality and mobility may also be compromised.
Common treatments include taking anti-inflammatory and pain relief medications, applying hot compresses to relax the surrounding muscles, chiropractic manipulation, acupuncture, massage and physiotherapy. The aims of these treatments are to improve flexibility, mobility, provide pain relief, to increase strength, to increase the range of motions in the affected areas. If these treatments do not provide relief or improvements, then the surgical option may well be considered.
4) My doctor said that my neck pain may be as a result of pinched nerves, what is a pinched nerve? - Pinched nerve in the neck, or otherwise known as Cervical Radiculopathy happens when a nerve in the neck is compressed or irritated and as such moves away from your spinal cord. This may cause neck pain and sometimes the pain and numbness may radiate into your shoulders and limbs and may also cause muscle weaknesses.
Again, this syndrome is often caused by the aging process although not exclusively so. In younger people, it is usually caused by a neck injury contributing to a herniated disc or a bulging disc instead of the normal "wear and tear" of the neck skeletal mechanism because of aging.
In most cases of pinched nerves in the neck, the pain may begin in the neck area and then resonates downwards into your arms and into the areas are connected by the compressed nerves. Any movement of the neck may also exacerbate the pain further. Other pinched nerves symptoms are the feelings of tingling pins and needles sensations in the hands and the fingers. There may also be a noticeable loss of strength or a loss of feelings in hands and the back.
Fortunately, most people with cervical radiculopathy do get better or even recover from it over a period of time although it is also rather common for the symptoms that has improved or gone to recur again now and then.
There are various non-surgical methods to treat and alleviate the problem such as wearing a cervical collar around the neck to support the neck muscles and to limit the motion of the cervical spine thereby letting the muscles around the area to rest. You can also use neck traction devices to help you to decompress your cervical spine. However, the neck collar should only be worn for a short period of time as longer term usage may weaken the strength of the muscles around the neck since some of the muscles were supported by the collar and seldom in for a period of time, they thus lost their strength.
Sometimes, steroids may be injected near the affected nerve to reduce swelling and inflammations. The use of legal narcotics may also be used for patients with severe pain that is not relieved by other treatment methods failing which, the surgical method may then be the next option of treatment.
5) After examining my X ray, my doctor told me that my neck pain is probably caused by cervical spinal stenosis. What is stenosis? - Spinal stenosis is a rather common cause of chronic neck and back pain. This condition is caused by the gradual unrelenting narrowing of nerve pathways in the spine and in your neck pain situation, your cervical spine. It is the degeneration of your vertebrae and usually affects middle aged people although as usual, there are exceptions to it.
If you have neck stenosis, then besides experiencing aches and pain in the area, and if your nerve is affected, then you will also experienced some tingling, numbness and pins and needles sensations in your hands and fingers. You may also have difficulties in turning your head or looking upwards and downwards affecting your neck functionality and mobility.
You see, as we age through the years, our spine suffers from the ongoing process of deterioration through normal wear and tear, lack of hydration and proper nutrition. The stenosis can also be caused by bone spurs or a herniated disc or osteoarthritis which triggers off the narrowing your spinal canal or a nerve root exit.
Some of the treatments may include physiotherapist supervised exercises and stretching techniques to regain your mobility and functionality, using hot compresses to relax the muscles in the area, chiropractic adjustments, painkiller medications and injections and when all else fails, then surgery may be necessary.
Learn how to stop stiff neck pain here.
Exercises for fast neck pain and pinched nerves relief presented by Dr. Alan Mandell, D.C. in this video.
Learn how to get rid of neck pain now.