Undoubtedly, it is safe to assert that at some point in time, almost every one of us has woken up with neck pain or can easily recall an event that resulted in neck pain.
And, this is because the neck is made up of vertebrae that extend from the skull to the upper torso. Cervical discs absorb shock between the bones. The bones, ligaments, and muscles of the neck support the head and allow for motion. Any abnormalities, inflammation or injury can easily lead to neck pain.
However, it becomes a thing of relief to know that neck pain isn’t a serious condition and can be relieved within a few days.
But, should it happen that a case of neck pain persists for more than a week, then it becomes advisable for the patient to seek the attention of an orthopedist. And this should be done immediately because such cases are classified as severe.
What are the causes of neck pain?
It should be stated > that the neck is particularly vulnerable to injury; and examples of such injuries are falls, car accidents, and sports e.t.c. >, the muscles and ligaments of the neck are forced to move outside of their normal range and the expected result of this is neck pain.
Also, if the neck bones, or cervical vertebrae, are fractured, the spinal cord may also be damaged.
2. Rheumatoid arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease which causes joint problems. In cases of this disease, the immune system mistakes the body’s own cell for invaders.
Meningitis is an inflammation of the thin tissue that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. In people who have meningitis, a fever and a headache often occur with a stiff neck. Meningitis can be fatal and is a medical emergency. If you have the symptoms of meningitis, seek help immediately.
4. Spinal stenosis
Spinal stenosis is a condition in which the spinal column narrow and starts compressing the spinal cord. The process of this compression is always gradual in nature.
5. Heart attack
It should be known that neck pain ‘could’ be a symptom of a heart attack. But this can only become a claim when it presents itself with other symptoms like shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, vomiting, and arm or jaw pain.
What are the symptoms of neck pain?
1. Stiff neck
This is when the patient experiences soreness and difficulty in moving the neck, especially when trying to turn the head from side to side.
2. Sharp pain
> the pain is localized to one spot and might feel like it’s stabbing or stinging. Often, this type of pain occurs in the lower levels of the neck.
3. General soreness
The pain is mostly in one spot or area on the neck, and it’s described as tender or achy, not sharp.
4. Radiating pain
The pain can radiate along a nerve from the neck into the shoulders and arms. The intensity can vary and this nerve pain might feel like it’s burning or searing.
5. Tingling, numbness, or weakness
>, these sensations usually go beyond the neck and radiate into the shoulder, arm or finger. Also, there could be a ‘pins-and-needles’ sensation. Typically, pain that radiates down the arm is felt in only one arm, not both.
How to relieve neck pain at home
1. Apply ice for the first few days. After that, apply heat with a heating pad, hot compress, or . taking a hot shower.
2. Take OTC pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
3. Resume normal activity slowly as your symptoms ease.
4. Exercise your neck every day. Slowly stretch your head in side-to-side and up-and-down motions.
5. Change your position often. Don’t stand or sit in one position for too long.
6. Get a gentle neck massage.
7. Don’t use a neck brace or collar without your doctor’s approval. If you don’t use them properly, they can make your symptoms worse.
5 tips to follow if you want to protect your neck from pain
1. Try a new pillow
2. Sleep on your back if you can
3. Avoid any activity that will result in neck strain
4. Exercise and stretch your neck.
5. If you are working with a computer, ensure it is at eye level.
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