How many times have you woken up with a stiff neck or pain that prevented you to turn your head to the side? Maybe you worked long hours at your desk and now you feel as though being pricked by a thousand needles in your neck. These are some of the neck conditions people encounter caused by various factors — some you can treat by changing your lifestyle others may need professional care.
To better understand why your neck hurts, you need to be aware of potential causes and treatments that go with it around the world. So, let’s get neck-deep (pun intended) into this issue.
What to expect with neck pain
While you will easily recognize the aches in your neck, they can be followed by other discomforts. Muscle tightness, strain when you move your head, headache, and pain that is worse when you are in a certain position. Also, it’s important to note how long the pain lasts. While some can give you trouble for a couple of days, others can be persistent for days and even get stronger. Whatever it may be, you should visit your doctor’s office and see what you can do to determine the cause of the pain.
Neck pain causes
Your neck pain isn’t necessarily the same as your friends. The point is that causes for this condition differ from person to person based on their lifestyle and genetics, in the first place. Some of the reasons your neck aches may be:
- Mental stress – This happens due to involuntary muscle tightening when you feel under pressure or tension.
- Physical strain — If you use your neck a lot or put it under load, you can pinch a nerve, strain a muscle, or damage the bones causing pain. This is common with repetitive actions as well, like keeping your head in a certain position.
- Aging — Osteoarthritis, disk degeneration and spinal stenosis are some of the health conditions that may appear as you age.
- Mass — It’s rare, but neck pain may be caused by growths in your body, like tumors and cysts.
- Disease — If you feel under the weather, you may experience neck pain. However, serious health conditions like meningitis and cancer may be the cause as well.
- Injury — This is the most common reason your experience neck ache. You can injure yourself through forced movement or trauma to the area, for example in a car accident.
- Disrupted spinal balance — Another common reason comes from bad posture, weak abdominal muscles, and being overweight. Being hunched over your phone or sitting at the desk the whole day is nowadays the most possible culprit.
Don’t diagnose yourself — go to professionals
It’s hard to resist using the Internet to see what’s wrong with your neck and, understandably, most people do it because of money or fear. However, you can bring yourself more harm that may lead to serious damage to the musculoskeletal and nervous systems of the neck. You need expert help from a medical professional, like Briz Brain & Spine — neck and back specialist in Brisbane, Australia.
As they demonstrate through their practice, continuing education and research should never stop providing the newest and best care for the patients. When you go to professionals, they will find the right treatment for your condition and recommend a proper recovery process. After all, if you need an invasive procedure, like surgery, you want to be in the best hands and treated with the best medical protocols.
Treatments and behaviors to take care of neck pain
First, healthcare professionals will take your medical history and do an X-ray, MRI, CT, blood tests, myelogram, electromyography, nerve root block, nerve conduction studies, and physical exam. Once all the findings are available, they will decide the best procedure for treatment. Standard therapy includes taking medicines for pain, like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs, and muscle relaxants.
Physical therapy that can include massages and stretching, as well as exercises under professional observation, can make tendons and muscles of the neck stronger. Using low-level electricity for a treatment known as TENS will stimulate the nerves and reduce pain. Steroids are also commonly administered close to the nerve roots to take care of inflammation and pain that comes with it. Surgery is also possible when there is spinal damage or compression, like in the case of abnormal growths or injuries.
Dealing with pain at home
After examination, the healthcare professional can recommend that you change your habits and lifestyle to prevent neck pain from happening in the future, or to relieve the ache at the moment. These may include using ice packs, taking medication, performing stretching and exercises, as well as not exercising at all until you are feeling better. However, you will have to change some behaviors for good, like managing stress, reducing weight, quitting smoking, and being more physically active.
The bottom line
Neck specialists, physical therapists, doctors, and other healthcare professionals should be first on your list when you experience pain. Even if the diagnosis is scary and serious, catching the causes early can literary save your life? After all, experts are there to help you improve your health not only through treatment but also with advice and support to enhance your quality of life.