Pain in the neck is something that most of us will experience at one time or another in our lives. Although the term “neck pain” is very simple and straight forward, it is a very individual experience and the diagnosis, assessment and treatment must also be individually based.
There are a whole range of causes for neck pain. As basic as this might sound it is important to remember that the neck supports the head. The human head can weigh more than 15 pounds. If you imagine yourself carrying around a 15 pound weight all day it is not surprising that in the normal day to day activities of life you create stress on the neck and spine. Someone sitting at a keyboard all day with their head tilted in a particular angle can suffer from pain in the neck. Sleeping in a strange position can cause pain. Lifting, twisting, bending, reaching and other normal day to day activities can cause strain and pain. NECK PAIN RELIEVERS
Simply growing older is often a cause of pain in the neck. Degenerative Disc Disease and other degenerative disease processes such as osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis are not uncommon in our aging population. These can cause serious pain problems for people.
When trauma such as whiplash type injuries in car accidents or slip and fall type accidents occur pain can be spontaneous and very intense. The trauma can create a new medical condition such as a herniated disc that causes severe neck pain and sometimes neurological deficit. Tingling and numbness in down the arms can occur. In addition to causing a new medical condition the trauma can affect existing medical conditions. For example a person who had pre-existing degenerative disc disease from the normal aging process might have been absolutely pain free prior to the trauma. The trauma of a car accident, while not causing the degenerative disc disease, might superimpose stresses that trigger pain. What was previously pain free now becomes painful and debilitating.
Although each of us might suffer from a pain in the neck at some point during our lifetime, the way we feel it, experience it and perceive the pain will be different. Some people will find that their pain only occurs when they tilt their heads backwards or forward. Others will feel neck pain when they turn their head to the left or to the right. Still others will suffer from headaches, dizziness and/or vertigo. Some people’s pain will last a day or two. Other people will have pain for a week or two. Still others will suffer ongoing chronic neck pain.
Treatment for neck pain can include medications and physical interventions. Medications include simple, common pain killers such as acetominiphine, anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants. Physical treatment can include physiotherapy, massage therapy, heat treatment, TENS treatment, acupuncture treatment and /or chiropractic treatment. Regular physical exercise is typically recommended as well.