Common Causes of Neck Pain And How To Treat It
Experiencing neck pain is actually more common than one might think, and while in some cases it is completely harmless, as it develops itself because you slept in a strange position or have been dealt that unlucky ticket in the cinema where you end up in the first row, there are more serious issues. The latter is usually a group that should be taken more seriously, as it will not go away after a day or two.
What exactly is neck pain?
The neck is made out of vertebrae that extend from the skull, and between those vertebrae, there are cervical discs that help absorb shock between the bones. What allows motion in the beck are bones, ligaments, and muscles, and if there is any abnormality in one of those parts, you will experience neck pain.
It is normal to experience neck pain or stiffness from time to time, as there are various causes behind it. The most common ones might be bad posture, or just sleeping in a strange position. But in other cases, one might experience neck pain because of an accident or while playing sports. In most cases, you do not even have to visit a doctor, as over-the-counter medicine and time often solves the problem.
However, if your neck pain has been around for a couple of days, and if the severity is stronger than the common neck pain you might experience after a bad sleep, it might be time to check a professional, such as a female chiropractor in Melbourne for example.
Neck pain can be very uncomfortable
Symptoms of neck pain
The range of neck pain can be different, as a person can experience neck pain that is short and mild, to long and stabbing. Acute neck pain tends to last for a couple of days to week and it can be very sharp, while chronic neck pain is mild and does not interfere with everyday activities, but it may also cause disability. Symptoms of neck pain can be:
- Stiff neck – Most common kind of neck pain is when people describe that their neck is stiff. This is often accompanied by limitations of motion, as stretching the neck a certain way increases the pain.
- Headache – While the pain starts in the neck, it can spread to the head, which then gives a cervicogenic headache. On the other hand, it can be the other way around, where a migraine might be the cause of neck pain.
- Sharp pain – If you are feeling stabbing, localized pain in the neck, this is described as sharp pain.
- Radiating pain – This kind of pain is the one where the pain starts in the neck, and then slowly radiates towards the head, shoulders, arms, and trunk. In some cases, if there is a compression of the nerve, numbness can be experienced too. This is one of the more serious symptoms, and you should contact the doctor immediately.
Causes of neck pain
There is a variety of reasons why a person might be experiencing neck pain. The most common reason tends to be muscle tension and strain, caused by poor posture, sleeping in a bad position, or working at a desk without changing the position for a longer time. Injury is another common reason behind neck pain, such as falls, car accidents, sports, or any other injury that forces unusual muscle movement.
More serious conditions that neck pain can be a sign of are a heart attack and meningitis. Heart attack is accompanied by neck pain along with shortness of breath, sweating, vomiting, and nausea. Meningitis on the other hand is accompanied by a stiff neck, headache, vomiting, sensitivity to light, and a fever. If you are experiencing the mentioned symptoms with neck pain, call an emergency service!
Many other conditions tend to be paired with neck pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, spondylosis, and so on. If you suspect to have some of these conditions, you should visit a neck pain chiropractor in Melbourne performed by Northside Chiropractic if possible.
Knowing the cause of neck pain is the key to its treatment
Treating neck pain
For starters, you can ask at your local pharmacy to get some over-the-counter medication that could help you relieve of your neck pain. But if it persists for a couple of days, or if the medication is not working at all, you should visit a doctor.
Depending on the symptoms you are experiencing, the checkup procedure might differ, and so would the treatment. You should expect to get a blood test, an X-ray scan, and if it is suspected on something more serious, a CT scan or an MRI scan. Sometimes even a lumbar puncture might be necessary, but if it gets to that point, this procedure should be the least of your worries.
After the checkups, the therapy for neck pain can range from things such as using ice packs or applying heat, physical therapy, some better medication, corticosteroid injections, a neck collar, antibiotics, or even surgery. You may also be sent to receive acupuncture, specific massages, or chiropractic treatment.
Neck pain can be very uncomfortable to live with, and checking yourself at the doctor’s office as soon as you feel something is off is highly advised. Never think to yourself that the pain is going to pass because if it has already been there for a few days, the odds are high that the condition is more serious than you might think.