How to Manage Neck Pain

Simple Approaches to Neck Pain

Like many other forms of pain, neck pain can either exist in a chronic form or an acute form. Chronic neck pain is indicative of an underlying condition that needs direct treatment rather than treatment of the pain solely. Acute pain is short-lived and is common for most people to experience a few times within their lifetime. Acute neck pain is typically a result of whiplash or a muscle sprain. This pain heals within a short period of time unlike chronic neck pain.

Though acute neck pain is often onset by an event such as an accident or imbalanced lifting, it can also be spontaneous. It is not uncommon to wake up the next day with neck pain that has an unknown cause. Unlike back pain, however, neck pain is more easily diagnosed. An important part of this is an anatomical diagnosis where all the key components are observed to make a conclusion. Diagnosis is most popularly made after imaging is done. Post this diagnosis, treatment is fairly simple and less complex than that of back pain.

When it does come to anatomical diagnosis, the two main regions of interest are the cervical spine and the soft tissue structures that allow for support. In addition to this the bone structures and joints in the neck are another place to observe. The discs located between the neck bones are also important to regard since they act as a shock absorber. Disruption in the nerve roots and the spinal cord are also popular reasons behind neck pain.

However, it is important to remember that diagnosis varies from person to person. Thus, it is important to thoroughly be examined in all regions in order to ensure you do not have multiple conditions that contribute to your neck pain.

When you consult your physician for neck pain, you will often be evaluated physically.

This will include being examined for your range of motion, signs of muscle spasm, and your blood flow. Another additional portion you will be examined for is your neurological stance. This is to ensure your reflexes and muscle power are up to par. Areas associated with your neck, such as your shoulder, will additionally be regarded in order clarify that such factors are not contributing to your pain.

When consulting your doctor about neck pain after you have tried at home remedies including over-the-counter medication or ice and heat, your doctor will be curious about other symptoms that occur with your neck pain. Your doctor’s concerns will include whether your pain radiates into your shoulders or arms and if you have a sensation of numbness or tingling anywhere. These symptoms indicate that your pain is more serious and is likely caused by a pinched nerve.

If these symptoms do not exist, however, your doctor will be inquisitive on your social history. This is primarily in order to understand your lifestyle and attempt to identify the root cause for your pain.

It is essential that you mention all sorts of physical activity and work you do throughout the day. It is also important to mention any changes in your pain throughout your day, such as morning stiffness. Often times, if your neck pain is disruptive of your sleep, your pain is likely a result of your sleeping habits and your position. Night pain can also be a concern since it is often indicative of a systemic illness like diabetes or cancer.

The most common type of treatment for mild to moderate neck pain includes a conservative treatment. This involves over-the-counter medication and applying heat or ice to your area of problem. Often times to supplement this, short dose steroids may be prescribed to help inflammation. Muscle relaxants may also be prescribed in order to help muscle spasms. Physical therapy is also a popular form of therapy. This improves one’s flexibility and range of motion in the neck.

If your neck pain is of concern to you, see a medical professional immediately. Allowing your symptoms to exist for a prolonged period of time has the potential of worsening your condition, making it more serious.

Continue Reading