What is neck pain?
The neck is made up of vertebrae extending from the skull to the upper torso. The cervical discs function by absorbing the shock between the bones. The supporting parts like bones, ligaments, and muscles allow the head for motion and provide support. Any kind of inflammation, abnormalities, or injury can cause neck pain and stiffness.
The occasional neck pain and stiffness may be caused due to poor posture or overuse or maybe due to an injury from a fall, sports, whiplash. If neck pain is not severe, it can be treated in a few days. If the symptoms of neck pain persist more than a week then seek immediate medical attention.
What causes neck pain?
There are a variety of reasons for neck pain and few of them are
- Muscle tension and strain
- Heart attack
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Herniated cervical disc
- Spinal stenosis
- Rarely neck pain can occur due to congenital abnormalities, cancer in the spine, infections, tumors, abscesses, etc.
When should an individual seek medical attention for neck pain?
If the following symptoms last for a week then a doctor’s consultation should be taken:
- Severe neck painLump in the neck
- Swollen glands
- Trouble breathing or swallowing
- Numbness in the neck region
- Tingling sensation around the neck
- Pain radiating on arms and legs
- Unable to move arms and hands
- Unable to touch the chin to the chest
- Dysfunctional bladder and bowel
What is the treatment for neck pain?
Before starting the treatment, the doctor will perform a complete medical test. Also, the doctor should know about all the over-the-counter medication taken by the patient. The patient should inform the doctor about the accidents and injuries even if it seems unrelated. The treatment depends on the diagnosis done in the following ways:
- Blood test
- CT scans
- MRI scans
- Lumbar puncture
Depending on the diagnosis following are the treatment options for the neck pain:
- Heat and ice therapy
- Exercise, stretching, physical therapy
- Pain medication
- Corticosteroid injection
- Muscle relaxants
- Neck collar
- Chiropractic treatment
- TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation)
What are the home remedies to treat neck pain?
Few simple steps to relieve neck pain at home are:
- Applying ice for a few days then apply a heating pad, a hot compress, or a hot shower.
- Taking OTC pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
- Neck exercise should be done regularly.
- Use a good posture for the neck.
- The phone cradling between neck and shoulder should be avoided.
- Do not be in the same position for a longer time.
- Getting a gentle neck massage.Using a special neck pillow.