Getting to the Root of Neck Pain

Getting to the Root of Neck PainNeck pain is the result of several culprits: whiplash after a car accident, hunching while seated at the work table, and even muscle strain.

Categorized under Axial neck pain, whiplash is defined as neck or soft tissue pain. It is one of three types. The other two are Radiculopathy (neck and arm pain due to the compression of nerves) and Myelopathy (spinal cord compression, resulting to neck pain with weakness in the arms and legs). These may all sound overwhelming, but regardless of what type you have, it is possible to overcome neck pain and get back on your feet in no time.

Proper diagnosis is key, as well as an understanding of five of the most common causes of neck pain.

  • Muscle Strains. Overuse of the neck muscles can trigger muscle strain or tension which can be felt as pain, owing to hours hunched on the computer or the TV, mannerisms such as gritting your teeth or reading in bed.
  • Poor Posture. Speaking of hunched positions, bad posture raises the chances of developing neck and shoulder problems. Bad form is often characterized by putting your head forward which slants the neck area. This puts stress on the muscles, joints, and the connecting tissues of not only your neck but the upper torso or chest area as well.
  • Arthritis of the Neck. As with other joints in the body, those in the neck, as well as the disks along the cervical spine, weaken and wear down with age. Arthritis of the neck, or what is more formally known as Cervical Spondylosis, results in sensations of pain and stiffness.
  • Whiplash. As mentioned earlier, this is caused by car accidents, but it can also result from sports and physical trauma. Sudden movements with great force stretch the neck’s soft tissues beyond typical range of motion.
  • Tension Headaches. These headaches have the familiar feel of a tight band wrapped around your forehead. It is caused by muscle contractions, which in turn affect and set off neck pain. Tension headaches are triggered by eye strain, fatigue, smoking, alcohol, caffeine, and cold or flu.

If you are experiencing any two of the symptoms mentioned above, it would be best to consult your doctor to definitively diagnose your condition. Meanwhile, know that there are ways to temporarily manage the pain. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Improve Your Posture. Be mindful of your posture, and straighten out of that default hunched form!
  • Get Yourself a Chair with Neck Support. At work or in your car, try to keep your cervical spine in a neutral position with a headrest.
  • Apply Cold Packs. In twenty-minute intervals on the first day of the neck pain, apply ice or cold packs to ease inflammations in the area.
  • Try Heat Therapy. Heat from a cloth dipped in warm water should promote good blood flow into the area of application.
  • Get a Massage. A good massage should also stimulate blood flow and ease the ache.
  • Pop an Over-the-counter Painkiller. Anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving medication should put a temporary stop to the bothering pain.

Check out more articles on the different types of body pain.

ASC Ref. Codes U053P101817A, U165P082517A
If symptoms persist, consult your doctor.

Sources:

http://www.nytimes.com/health/guides/symptoms/neck-pain/overview.html

https://beta-platform.service.nhs.uk/symptoms/neck-pain/

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Neck-pain/Pages/Introduction.aspx

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