Your neck is composed of vertebrae that connect the upper torso and the head. Ligaments, bones, and muscles support your head to facilitate motion.
Anything that is slightly out of place in the neck or back due to inflammation or injury can result in neck pain and possibly stiffness.
Neck pain can be caused by poor posture or overuse. Injuries from a fall can also cause neck injuries.
However, neck pain can indicate other serious issues that may require the attention of a specialized doctor.
If the neck pain persists for a week or more, it is advisable to seek medical attention.
Below you will find some of the common causes and potential treatments for neck pain.
Causes of Tension and Strain:
Neck stiffness or pain can happen due to several reasons. The following are the causes of neck tension and strain.
1. Muscle Tension and Strain
Muscle tension and strain can be due to poor posture, working in a workstation without changing position, using an inappropriate pillow, or jerking your neck during exercises.
The neck is particularly prone to injury, especially in sports and car accidents. The muscles and ligaments of the neck move out of their normal range.
If the cervical vertebrae (neck bones) are fractured, there is a possibility that the spinal cord may also be damaged. Whiplash is a neck injury caused by a sudden jerking of the head.
3. Heart Attack
Neck pain may be a symptom of a heart attack. However, neck pain can be accompanied by other symptoms such as sweating, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, and arm pain.
Meningitis causes inflammation of the tissue surrounding the spinal cord and the brain. Meningitis patients experience fever and headache accompanied by a stiff neck.
Other causes of the painful neck include the following.
➔ Rheumatoid arthritis. Neck pain may occur if it attacks the joints around the neck.
➔ The osteoporosis. The condition weakens the bones, the neck inclusive.
➔ Fibromyalgia. You experience muscle pain, especially in the shoulder and neck region.
➔ Spondylosis occurs as you age. The cervical discs degenerate, narrowing the space between the vertebrae, causing stress to your joints.
Remedies of Stiff and Painful Neck
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Several remedies are available for a painful neck, depending on the severity. You can choose any after monitoring your situation.
1. Applying Heat or Ice
Neck inflammation can be relieved by applying ice for about 20 minutes, several times a day. You can also apply ice and heat intermittently. You may opt to take a warm bath or use a heating pad around the neck area.
2. Take Over the Counter Pain Relievers
Mild neck pains can be managed by taking OTC pain relievers such as diclofenac sodium, ibuprofen, and doloact.
3. Measured stretching
Stretching while avoiding sudden movements can relieve pain and stiffness on the neck and ensure that you don’t get it in the future. Avoid sudden movements as this can cause inflammation, more severe injury, and pain.
4. Physical Therapy
A physiotherapist can teach you the correct posture, neck strengthening exercises, and alignment. They can also use electrical stimulation, heat, or ice to ease your neck pain and prevent recurring pain.
During transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), electrodes are placed near the painful areas to deliver small electrical impulses that relieve your neck pain.
Traction uses pulleys, air bladder, or weights to stretch your neck slowly. This therapy provides neck pain relief, especially if it is related to nerve root irritation.
5. Chiropractic Care
Chiropractic care is a treatment option that can minimize your neck pain. Below are the different types of cervical conditions that a chiropractor health professional can offer:
➔ Neck sprain injuries.
➔ Cervical intervertebral disc injuries that don’t need surgery.
➔ Facet joint sprain.
6. Surgical Procedures
Depending on the severity of your neck pain, your doctor might consider injecting you with corticosteroid medications into the small facet joints in the bones of the cervical spine, near the nerve roots, or at the muscles in the neck to alleviate the pain. Lidocaine, a numbing medication, can be injected to relieve your neck pain.
Surgery is rarely required for an aching neck. It only becomes an option for spinal cord or nerve relieving nerve root compression.
For good results on your neck, you may need several acupuncture sessions. It is a natural and safe pain alleviation measure.
Neck adjustment, also called cervical manipulation, is a procedure applied by hand to the neck joints. It improves the mobility of the spine column and reduces the stiffness, soreness, and pain around the cervical area.
About The Author:
Craig Evans is a digital content writer by profession and a passionate blogger and tech junkie based in Syndey, Australia. He shares his informative knowledge and insights on the latest business and digital marketing trends on various blog platforms. In his spare time, he loves to grab a cup of coffee and play with this pet.