Neck Pain

Condition

Definitions

Experiencing neck pain is a common occurrence.  From constantly slouching towards the computer screen or bending over your workbench, these poor postures can strain your neck muscles and make them sore. Another cause of neck pain is Osteoarthritis.

While neck pain is usually not connected to a serious medical issue, you should immediately contact medical care if you suddenly feel numb or heavy weakness in your arms, hands, or have shooting pain into your shoulder or down your arm.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Pain or soreness after periods of not moving your head around. Some examples are working at a computer for long hours at a time or long driving assignments.
  • Tightness or spasms in your muscles may be a sign of neck pain.
  • Can’t seem to move your head easily? This may indicate neck pain.
  • Head pain.

When should I see a doctor?

While most neck pain can be treated easily with home remedies, you should contact your doctor or specialist if none of your treatments are working, especially if it appears that the pain is coming from an injury such as a fall or vehicle accident.

Please see a doctor if:

  • Your pain becomes unbearable and severe.
  • Continues to affect you for several days without any relief
  • Symptoms spread to arms or legs
  • You experience head pain, numbness, weak muscles, fatigue, or tingling

Causes

While there are several different potential reasons why you may have neck pain, please see a doctor for the most accurate diagnosis. The following are common causes of neck pain:

  • Muscle strains are a common source of neck pain. Continuous hours of keeping your neck bent to view your computer or smartphone can strain your neck muscles.
  • Osteoarthritis is a potential cause of neck pain. As you get older your neck joints begin to deteriorate and become more brittle and vulnerable to damage.
  • Herniated discs or bone spurs in the vertebrae of your neck can result in nerve compression. These discs or spurs can put pressure on the nerves coming from the spinal cord, resulting in pain.
  • Another cause is a recent automobile crash. Rear-end collisions can leave you with a whiplash injury which jerks your head back and forward.  This motion can strain the soft tissues in your neck.
  • Neck pain can also be an indication of rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis, cancer, or other diseases.

Treatments

For mild to moderate neck pain, home remedies or self-care can usually help your neck pain subside within two to three weeks.  However, see a doctor if your pain continues to bother you past three weeks.

Medications

Stronger pain medications may be provided by your doctor to lessen the pain.

Therapy

  • With physical therapy, you may learn how to fix your posture, strengthen your neck muscles, and other treatments that will help reduce the risk of injury.
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation or TENS involve electrodes that give small impulses of electricity to the affected areas providing potential relief.
  • Traction can also be used in therapy to soothe neck pain. Weights, pulleys, or an air bladder is generally used in traction to stretch your neck muscles.
  • Short-term Immobilization may be an option to take pressure off the affected areas on your neck. A soft collar is provided and worn for about one to two weeks.  However, this method could result in weaker neck muscles as your neck begins to depend on the support of the collar.

Surgery or other procedures

  • If deemed serious enough, you may have to receive corticosteroid injections near the nerve roots to help with your neck pain.
  • Surgery could also be an option to relive a painful nerve root or spinal cord compression.

Don’t wait until your symptoms worsen.  Learn more about our neck pain treatments and specialists in New York today here at Hudson Spine and Pain Medicine!

Source: Mayo Clinic

Staff

Risa Ravitz, MD
Neurology / Pain Medicine
Jonathann Kuo, MD
Pain Medicine / Executive Director
Alexander Rances, DO
Pain Medicine / Medical Director
Robert Zhang, MD
Pain Medicine / Anesthesiology
Jessica Au, MD
Sports Medicine / Pain Medicine
Tanuj Palvia, MD
Pain Medicine / Fellowship Director

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