The neck which is also called the cervical spine, is composed of millions of nerves and vertebrae, separated by discs and reinforced by muscles, ligaments, and tendons. The neck supports the head’s weight, which is around 5kg, and is responsible for providing a large range of motion.
A common problem that many people experience at some stage in their lives is neck pain. It is defined by any pain, stiffness or discomfort felt in the neck area, Neck pain varies from person to person and ranges from mild and temporary to severe and chronic. Sometimes the pain may radiate down to the shoulders, upper back, and arms. It can have a great impact on regular activities and reduces quality of life.
There are many factors that can cause neck pain which may include:
- Muscle strain
- Injury or trauma
- Structural abnormalities
- Degenerative conditions
- Improper or poor posture.
- Herniated cervical disc
- Cervical spinal stenosis
- Poor posture
Other factors like increasing age, occupation and lifestyle can also lead to the development of neck pain.
When to worry about neck pain?
While the majority of neck pain instances are manageable with self-care techniques and don’t require medical intervention, there are some circumstances in which you should seek medical care and be more concerned about your neck pain. The following conditions are some symptoms and early warning signs that might indicate more serious underlying conditions which you need to worry about:
Severe or persistent pain: In case of severe neck pain that continuously becomes worse over time, or lasts for a few weeks even after taking self-care measures, it is advised to consult a spine specialist.
Neck pain after an injury: A recent injury or trauma to the neck caused by a car accident or a fall also results in neck pain. In such cases, it is important to meet a spine doctor for a medical evaluation, especially if you experience severe pain or are accompanied by other signs.
Numbness, weakness, or tingling: Nerve problems in the neck may cause numbness, weakness, or tingling sensations in your upper limbs (arms, hands, or fingers). This may be an indication of disc herniation, spinal stenosis, or other nerve-related problems.
Radiating pain: If the pain radiates down from your neck to the arms or legs, it indicates nerve compression or irritation. In such cases, medical attention is necessary to determine and address the cause of neck pain.
Difficulty with coordination or balance: If a person experience neck pain accompanied by other problems like coordination, balance, or walking, it might be a sign of spinal cord compression or some other serious underlying condition that require prompt medical attention.
Loss of bladder or bowel control: Neck pain accompanied by the sudden loss of control over bladder or bowel functions, could be a sign of a severe underlying condition that affects the spinal cord. In such cases, seek medical help from a spine doctor as soon as possible.
Neck pain associated with fever or other systemic signs: There may be an infection, inflammation, or other underlying health problem that needs to be evaluated if your neck pain is accompanied by fever, chills, unusual weight loss, or other systemic symptoms.
Remember to consult a healthcare professional, if you have any concerns regarding your neck pain, he can assess your present condition, diagnoses it, and suggest right treatment.
Here are some of the self-care tips to ease neck pain:
Applying heat or cold packs: Pain and inflammation can be reduced by applying an ice pack, warm towel, or heating pad to the injured region.
Over-the-counter(OTC) pain relievers: Ibuprofen and naproxen are common nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) that can temporarily relieve pain and reduce swelling.
Gentle stretches and neck exercises: Stretching and mild exercises that promote motion can assist increase flexibility and release tension in the muscles.
Improve posture: Improve your posture by being mindful of it while performing daily tasks. Make sure your workspace is ergonomically designed in order to promote healthy posture.
Use a supportive pillow: Get a pillow that will adequately support your neck and keep it in the right posture while you sleep.
In case of neck pain that becomes worse over time or lasts for a few weeks, or is accompanied by other related symptoms, it is essential to consult a spine doctor for an appropriate diagnosis and suitable treatment. The doctor will evaluate your health condition and suggest further treatment such as physical therapy, medication, or other medical procedures like surgery, based on the problem.
In most cases, acute neck pain resolves within a period of one to two weeks. However, in some people back pain recurs in certain conditions, such as right after work or right after intense activities that involve your back. If neck pain and other signs last more than three months, it is said to be chronic neck pain. If you are suffering from chronic neck pain or recurring neck pain consult Dr. Surya Prakash, a renowned spine surgeon who can provide advanced neck pain treatment in Hyderabad. Call to 9848024699 and book your appointment with the doctor.