Causes and Treatment of Neck Pain
In America, neck pain is the third leading cause of chronic pain, according to a recent survey by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA). In fact, more than 25 percent of the population suffers from it. And, unlike some conditions, it is not limited to older patients; anyone, regardless of age, is susceptible to neck pain. When it strikes, neck pain can limit your mobility and impact your quality of life.
What Causes Neck Pain?
The vertebrae in your neck extend from your upper torso to your head. Along with the ligaments and muscles of your neck, they help support your head and allow for motion. Cervical discs between the vertebrae act like shock absorbers. When the discs, ligaments or muscles are injured or inflamed, you are likely to feel stiff or experience pain. Common causes of neck pain include:
➟ Poor posture – slouching in a chair
➟ Muscle strain – often caused by working long hours on a computer or cradling a cell phone between your shoulder and ear
➟ Nerve compression – resulting from herniated disks or bone spurs
➟ Disease or infection – such as rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis or fibromyalgia
Many people also experience neck pain after sleeping in an awkward position, but this type of pain generally improves within a few days. Worry and stress can also trigger neck pain.
Neck Pain Symptoms
If you are experiencing neck pain, you may feel some stiffness and find it difficult to turn your head. You may also have a headache and experience some pain in your shoulders. These symptoms will typically go away after a few hours or days, and generally don’t require medical attention. If, however, the pain lasts for more than a week, or you have any of the following symptoms, you should be evaluated by a physician:
➟ Swollen glands
➟ Nausea or vomiting
➟ Numbness or tingling
➟ Inability to move arms or hands
➟ Lump in your neck
➟ Pain radiating down arms or legs
➟ Difficulty swallowing or breathing
You should also seek immediate attention if your neck pain is the result of an auto accident, sports injury or fall, as you may be suffering from whiplash or have a possible concussion.
Neck Pain Treatment
Most neck pain can be diagnosed after a thorough medical examination. This may include various tests to evaluate movement of your spine, neck and hands, as well as testing for muscle and nerve damage. Once we determine the cause of your neck pain, we will recommend a course of treatment, which may include physical therapy, muscle conditioning, exercise, medication and other treatments.
Jacksonville Sport & Spine are experts in treating neck pain. If you experiencing chronic pain or have been involved in an accident, contact our office and schedule an evaluation today!