Every time a person looks anywhere they move their neck. Their neck is responsible for so much. It holds up the head and supports the beginning of the digestive system. Most people take their neck for granted until they realize how useful it was during after an accident. Once they experience this severe neck pain, they realize how much value their neck is and begin to appreciate and wish that their neck were functioning fully and that it was completely pain free. Read on for basic information on neck pain and some of the ways it is treated.
Where It Starts And What It Feels Like
Neck pain can be very uncomfortable and can take a long time to manage or heal. Because the neck and back muscles are used so extensively throughout the day, pain in any of them can make it difficult to do much of anything. A stiff, painful neck is hard to ignore and it can stop you from normal activities that you would otherwise enjoy.
Neck pain can be anywhere in the neck, but it's most commonly in the back of it and/or along one side or the other, because those are the places where the major muscles move and are used (and abused) sometimes. With that in mind, though, neck pain can appear in the front, too. It can be achy and dull, or it can be sharp and stabbing, and much of that depends on what's causing the pain in the first place.
Common Causes And Conditions
Having neck pain can be annoying, but it's worse when the cause isn't determined. If you know what's causing it, neck pain can be better understood and also treated more easily. Here are some of the more common causes for a person's neck to hurt:
• Pulled muscles – if a person pulls a muscle, or strains it, it will start to hurt. That's the body's signal that it needs a little bit of time to repair itself. Often, a person doesn't realize that he's overworking the muscle until the pain sets in. by that time, damage may have been done. While not irreparable, it may be more damage than expected.
• Muscle tension – even if a muscle isn't pulled or strained, muscles can simply get tired if there's a lot of tension being put on them. That can happen in times of stress, or also if a person sits or stands a certain way for a long period of time. Even sleeping in the wrong position can cause neck pain from the tension that's put on the muscles.
• Meningitis – a stiff neck can also be caused by meningitis, although that's not nearly as common as muscle issues. Usually a fever and other problems come with meningitis, and a general feeling of malaise may be there as well.
• Daily Life – interestingly, getting through everyday life can take its toll on our bodies. It can cause physical stress. There are certain activities that might increase neck pain or weaken the neck muscles. For example, the longer a person sits at their computer throughout the day, the more susceptible they are to neck pain.
• Age – the older a person is, the more at risk he or she is for various conditions that could cause neck pain. Therefore, the older a person is, the more caution he or she needs to use when it comes to the neck.
• Degenerative Disc Disease – this condition can cause the intervertebral discs in the body to become less hydrated. In the process, they lose their flexibility, elasticity, and shock-absorbing abilities.
• Osteosarthritis – joint disorder condition that causes progressive deterioration of cartilage. Without cartilage, the bones in the body rub together. The body reacts by forming bone spurs.
• Spinal Stenosis – this condition causes small nerve passageways between the vertebrae to narrow. This can actually compress and trap the spinal cord or spinal nerve. It can cause neck, shoulder, and arm pain. In addition many people develop numbness.
• Injury – many accidents involve the neck. This can occur from a serious car accident or from whiplash. It can cause severe pain or minor pain in the neck. Most times these types of injuries will need immediate medical attention.
List Of Common Treatment Options for Neck Pain
There are plenty of ways to treat a stiff, painful neck. By knowing what's causing it, a good treatment plan can be suggested. If meningitis or any serious illness is suspected, however, don't try to treat it at home. It's always crucial to see the doctor in those kinds of cases.
• Ice and heat, when alternated, work well for pulled muscles. They also work well for strains and muscles that are just tired and overworked. There are also over-the-counter medications that can be taken. While they won't fix the problem, they'll help you have less pain and that can go a long way toward feeling better.
• Exercises might not seem like the right thing to do for muscles that are already hurting, but if someone has neck pain and stiffness because of stress and tension, doing some gentle head rolls and carefully stretching out the neck are both great ways to start feeling better and reducing pain.
• Pain medication is recommended to reduce swelling and help individuals cope with the pain. Depending on the intensity of the pain and the type of injury, different medications may be recommended.
It can be difficult to treat pain that arises in the neck area. Therefore, it is recommended that individuals pursue a variety of different treatment options. There are several different options available that could provide relief. The following are examples of holistic options that could be beneficial for treating neck pain in a variety of different patients.
• Acupuncture is very popular among individuals that struggle with neck pain. Statistics indicate that patients that suffer from neck pain often have positive results when they try acupuncture. It can be extremely effective for treating pain in the neck area and the side effects are minimal.
• Chiropractors are also very beneficial in fighting neck pain. They can help individuals that are struggling with problems in their spine that lead to neck pain.
• Capsaicin cream is a great herbal remedy. It is the ingredient that makes chili peppers so hot. Ironically it can also relieve pain. This temporarily natural remedy is great for neck pain.
• Devil’s claw is a natural remedy that comes from South Africa. People have used it to treat fevers, arthritis, and gastrointestinal problems. However, today people treat it for inflammation problems. If you are are suffering with pain in your neck, you may be able to use this remedy to minimize the inflammation that is causing your pain.
• White Willow Bark is another great herb. It actually led to the development of aspirin. It is very helpful in reducing inflammation.
• Massages are also great. A lot of neck pain is a result of stress. Therefore, a massage will reduce the stress and help relieve tension in the next area.
• Yoga and pilates are also great options to increase strength in the body and promote a better posture. This helps minimize neck pain.
When To See A Doctor for Neck Pain
At times it may be important to visit a doctor regarding the neck pain in the body. It obviously depends on the situation. However, these guidelines should serve as helpful advice to aid individuals as they seek to determine whether or not they should see a doctor.
• In some cases neck pain should be evaluated immediately. Seek emergency medical care if neck pain is severe after a car accident, fall, or sports injury. Also, go to the hospital if the neck pain continues down into the arms and legs. If the neck pain causes weakness in an arm or leg, and causes trouble walking, seek emergency care. Lastly, if neck pain causes a high fever, severe headache, of pain so intense that the neck cannot rotate to the chest then go to the hospital.
• Schedule a doctor’s appointment for neck pain that is accompanied with bowel problems.
• See the doctor if neck pain persists or becomes intense.
Managing Neck Pain
Individuals can manage neck pain through proper self-care. Neck pain is often the result of muscle tensions or strains. It does not usually go way right away.
In the meantime, try to implement lifestyle decisions that do not add to neck pain. Instead, make life as comfortable and pain free as possible. Evaluate areas that could be improved to increase the comfort and reduce the pain.
I regularly add more detailed strategies I use to combat living with pain. Managing pain is more than one page of advice. I hope my strategies for managing my pain will help you too.