Neck pain is one of the illness that affect many, and as we all gaze into computers or staring down at our smart phones most of the day can cause the muscle around the neck joints to tire and become overstretched. Also, driving for long periods of time can have the same effect on you. In case you’re doing this day after day, it can add up and can displace your neck joints.
So What Is Neck Pain?
You need to be aware that your neck is made up of vertebrae which extend from the skull to the upper torso. The cervical discs absorb shock between the bones, and also, the bones, ligaments, and muscles of your neck support your head and also allows for motion. So because of this, any abnormalities, inflammation, or injury can cause neck pain or stiffness.
A lot of people experience neck pain or stiffness occasionally. But in many cases, it is caused by poor posture or overuse. Although sometimes, neck pain is caused by injury from a fall, contact sports, or whiplash.
However, most time neck pain isn’t a serious condition and can be relieved within a few days. While in some cases, neck pain can indicate serious injury or illness and require the care of a doctor.
SYMPTOMS AND CAUSES OF NECK PAIN
Sometimes neck pain or stiffness can happen for a variety of reasons. Below are some of them:
- The muscle tension and strain
- Normally, this can be caused due to activities and behaviors such as:
- poor posture
- working at a desk for too long without changing position
- sleeping with your neck in a bad position
- jerking your neck during exercise
- An injury
You should note that the neck is particularly vulnerable to injury, especially in falls, car accidents, and sports, where the muscles and ligaments of the neck are forced to move outside of their normal range.
- A Heart Attack
Sometimes neck pain can also be a symptom of a heart attack, but it often presents with other symptoms of a heart attack, such as:
- The shortness of breath
- By sweating
- By vomiting
- Having arm or jaw pain
- Having Meningitis
This meningitis is an inflammation of the thin tissue that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. However, in people who have meningitis, a fever and a headache often occur with a stiff neck. Though meningitis can be very fatal and is a medical emergency.
THE TREATMENT OF NECK PAIN
Your doctor will have to perform a physical exam and take your complete medical history. So you have to be prepared to tell your doctor about the specifics of your symptoms. Also, you should let them know about all prescription, medications and supplements you’ve been taking.
The treatment for neck pain depends on the diagnosis. However, In addition to a thorough history and physical examination by your doctor, you may also need one or more of the following imaging studies and tests to help the doctor to determine the cause of your neck pain:
- A blood tests
- An X-rays
- A CT scans
- A MRI scans
- An electromyography, which allows the doctor to check the health of your muscles and also the nerves that control your muscles
- A lumbar puncture (spinal tap)
However, it still depends on the results; sometimes the doctor may refer you to a specialist. The treatment for neck pain may include:
- An ice and heat therapy
- An exercise, stretching, and physical therapy
- A pain medication
- A corticosteroid injections
- A muscle relaxants
- A neck collar
- A traction
- An antibiotics in case you have an infection
- A hospital treatment in case the condition such as meningitis or heart attack is the cause
- A surgery, which is rarely necessary