Neck pain is a common complaint. Neck pains can develop as a result of different reasons. The strain on neck muscles can be attributed as one of the causes of neck pain. This could develop as a result of leaning over your computer for a long time or bending over on your workbench for a prolonged period of time. Osteoarthritis can also be responsible for neck pains. Although neck pain can occur as a result of the reasons above, it can occur as a symptom of another medical condition, which might sometimes be more serious than it looks. This is why it’s important to seek medical assistance when experiencing neck pain, especially when it’s associated with conditions such as numbness in other parts of the body, such as the arms, forearms, hands and so on. Some of the common signs and symptoms of neck pain include the tightening and spasms of the muscles, headache, and a reduction in the ability to move the head.
What Are The Causes Of Neck Pain?
The neck is the part of the body that supports the head. However, it also has some flexibility, which sometimes makes it prone to injuries and situations that may cause pain and discomfort. Neck pain can be caused by a lot of things, below are some of them;
- Muscle strains: This occurs as a result of an overuse of the neck. This can be due to sitting in front of the computer for long hours. Apart from this, bending your neck, while using your mobile gadgets for long duration is also another cause of muscle strain. Other things that could lead to muscle strains include the wrong posture in the gym, especially when bench pressing, reading in bed, gritting your teeth, are all activities that can cause strain on the neck muscles.
- Worn out joints: Joints of our body tend to wear out, the older we become. This also happens to the neck join. Some of the medical conditions that can lead to the wearing out of the joint include diseases such as osteoarthritis. This is a disease that causes the pads, between the vertebral bones to deteriorate. This reduces the mobility of the joints and causes a lot of pain in the affected individual.
- Injury to the vertebral disc: The discs of the vertebrae are prone to injury. However, this tends to occur more as one age. This is why disc injuries are more predominant in adults. A herniated disc is one of the most common forms of disc injury. This is a condition in which the cartilage that surrounds the vertebral disc pushes into the spinal cord. This might also affect the nerve roots. In this condition, the cushion that normally sits between the vertebrae discs slips out of position, which leads to the compression and crush of the nerve root. Injury to the vertebral disc usually occurs after the individual lifts something heavy, or twists the neck. Herniated discs of the neck can compress on the nerves that come out from the spinal cord. This leads to a lot of pain and discomfort. Pain from the injury of the vertebral disc can last for up to 3 days before it subsides.
- Diseases: There are some diseases that are associated with neck pains. Some of these diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis, cervical spondylitis, cancer can cause neck pain. One of the ways of treating this is by eliminating the primary disease.
What Is A Pain In The Neck A Symptom Of?
Neck pain can present as a dull aching pain, which could get worse by the movement of the neck. People affected by neck pain do present with symptoms such as the numbness of the neck, tingling sensation, sharp shooting pain, fullness, swallowing difficulty, abnormal pulsations in the neck, lightheadedness, dizziness, and inflammation of the lymph nodes. Neck pain usually presents as a symptom of other medical conditions. Some of these medical conditions include nerve compression, diseases such as cervical spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis, cancer and so on.
How Do You Know If You Have A Serious Neck Injury?
There are different ways to know if your neck injury is severe or not. Below are some of the conditions that would help you know;
- Muscle strain: If you’ve lifted anything heavy recently, your neck pain might be as a result of sprain of the neck nerves. This could also occur because the neck muscles have been hyperextended. This might lead to the rigidity in the neck muscles. It’s important to watch your symptoms over a couple of days. If the symptoms don’t subside or worsen, then it might be a serious neck injury, and you should contact your doctor.
- Whiplash: Whiplash is a condition that causes an acute neck pain. This kind of pain might last for some days or weeks in some cases. However, if you notice that the pain is getting worse, or you develop other symptoms. Then you should contact your doctor because it might be a serious neck injury. Whiplash does occur as a result of road traffic accidents.
- Poor posture: This happens when an individual maintains a bad posture for a long time. This could be as a result of spending long hours sitting. This pain could lead to a serious neck injury, especially when the pain doesn’t resolve for a few days.
Overall, there are three things to consider, to know if a neck injury is serious or not;
- Has the pain lasted for more than 6 weeks?
- Is the pain getting worse?
- Are there other symptoms apart from the neck pain?
Any patient that presents with these 3 conditions has a high chance of having a serious neck injury.
Can A Pain In The Neck Be Cancer?
Neck pain can be as a result of cancer. Neck pain, alongside other symptoms such as difficulty in swallowing, weight loss, frequent coughing might be an indicator of cancer in the neck.
Neck Pain Doctor Specialist For Headache And Neck Pain
It’s important to contact a doctor if you the neck pain persists for a long time.
Lindstroem, R., Farina, D., Rechter, L. and Falla, D. (2009). 817 NEURAL CONTROL OF SUPERFICIAL NECK MUSCLES DURING MULTIDIRECTIONAL FORCE IN WOMEN WITH WHIPLASH-INDUCED NECK PAIN. European Journal of Pain, 13, p.S234.
Ylinen, J., Takala, E., Kautiainen, H., Nykänen, M., Häkkinen, A., Pohjolainen, T., Karppi, S. and Airaksinen, O. (2004). Association of neck pain, disability and neck pain during maximal effort with neck muscle strength and range of movement in women with chronic non-specific neck pain. European Journal of Pain, 8(5), pp.473-478.