Neck pain can have causes that aren’t due to underlying disease. Your neck is made up of 7 vertebrae known as CERVICAL that extend from the skull to the upper torso. The bones, muscles and ligaments support your head and allow for motion. Any abnormality, inflammation, or injury can cause neck pain or stiffness. Many people experience neck pain or stiffness occasionally. Most of the time neck pain is not a serious condition, it is due to poor posture or overuse and it can be relieved within a few days. Sometimes it can be caused by injury from fall, contact sports, or whiplash (a neck injury caused by sudden back and forward neck movement). If you have neck pain that continues for more than a week, is severe, or is accompanied by other symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
CAUSES OF NECK PAIN
Neck pain or stiffness can happen for a variety of reasons.
- Poor posture working at a desk for too long without changing position.
- Sleeping with your neck in a bad position.
- Jerking your neck during exercise.
- Nerve compression.
- Injuries; Whiplash injury.
- Diseases; Rheumatoid arthritis, Meningitis, or Cancer.
- Spinal stenosis.
In rare instances, neck stiffness or pain occurs due to:
- Congenital abnormalities.
- Cancer of the spine.
HOME CARE OF YOUR NECK
If you have minor neck pain or stiffness, take these simple steps to relieve it.
- Apply ice for the first few days. After that, apply heat with a heating pad, hot compress, or by taking a hot shower.
- Take OTC (Over The Counter) pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
- Take a few days off from sports, activities that aggravate your symptoms, and heavy lifting.
- Exercise your neck every day. slowly stretch your head in side-to-side and up and down motions.
- Use good posture.
- Avoid cradling the phone between your neck and shoulder.
- Change your position often.
- Adjust your desk, chair, and computer.
- If you smoke, quit.
- Sleep in a good position, use a special neck pillow for sleeping.
- Get a gentle neck massage.
- 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.
WHEN TO SEE YOUR DOCTOR
If symptoms persist for more than a week, consult with your doctor. You should also see a doctor if you have:
- Severe neck pain without apparent cause.
- Lump in your neck.
- Swollen glands.
- Trouble swallowing or breathing
- Pain that radiates down your arms or legs.
- Inability to touch your chin to your chest.
- Bladder or bowel dysfunction.
FREE MOVEMENT: Move your neck side to side and up-down position.
ISOMETRIC EXERCISES: Contract your neck particular muscles or group of muscle without changing the length of the muscle.
STRETCHING: Stretches that may help you with neck pain.
Clasping neck stretch: Clasp your hands behind your head, gently pull your head down bringing the chin toward the chest.
Lateral neck flexion stretch: Place your right hand on the top of your head and gently pull it to your right.
Upper trapezius stretch:
Begin by putting the right arm behind you and grabbing it with your left hand.
Pull the hand gently toward your left foot.
Tilt your left ear toward your left shoulder.
Levator scapulae stretch: Rotate your head 45° to the right and then to the left. You can put your other hand over your head to help, but don’t force it, all movements should be very gentle.
This article submitted by Dr. Vanshika B.P.T. from our clinic. Do watch her video below for complete guidelines.