To fully understand why there is a pain at all, it is good to delve into a bit of anatomy and physiology of the head and neck. The head is connected to the rest of the body through the neck. The neck, in turn, consists of several structures that enable it to serve a vital role in the body. The neck almost ultimately houses the origin of the backbone, also known as the vertebra. These vertebrae have division attributed to the different segment corresponding to the area they are found in, and the ones in the neck are called the cervical vertebra. Alongside the backbone, multiple muscle fibers enhance different forms of movements, and these are supplied with blood vessels as well as nerves, not to forget the lymphatic drainage present.
With all these biological structures if there is stress or trauma to any of these it could result in pain, which may be acute or chronic, piercing or dull, you get the idea. If the skin is compromised, with microbes invading the area, then inflammation may ensue and cause pain. For instance, there is a condition called occipital neuralgia in which the nerves in that area are injured and elicit pain similar and likely to be confused with different forms of headaches or a migraine. However, there are specific situations that we will get to learn and understand as we go on.
Neck and Back Pain
Numerous conditions may make one predisposed to neck and back pain, as well as many underlying pathological conditions that may be causing the pain being experienced in the neck and the back. Most of the time what causes the pain may be due to muscle stress or strain, worse damage or tear. From acute cases of whiplash, occupational stresses to the neck and the back to more severe ones like ankylosing spondylitis, polymyalgia rheumatic, slipped disk, and a lot of others.
You can see that pain felt in the neck and back may appear simple, and easily treated with medications while some require more in-depth assessment and management. The fact that there are many joints in the backbone also makes it prone to injury, abscess, and other joint issues. There are intervertebral disks between each vertebra that helps in absorbing the shock from any physical impact, but these can also be affected by lots of issues, herniation, abscess, tumor, and degeneration.
A migraine is a recurring headache disorder ranging from moderate to severe and is characterized throbbing pain on one side of the head. About one in seven people in the world are affected by this condition. It is due to a combination of both genetic and environmental factors. In some families, it is possible for a parent to have a migraine and one of the children also having the same condition. Furthermore, the quality of indoor air has been shown to be an environmental factor. A migraine can be triggered by a host of things like weather, certain foods, and fatigue. This kind of headaches usually resolve on their own and last from about two to seventy-two hours.
The first manifesting symptom in most cases is an aura. An aura is primarily a short period of focal sensory disturbance that occurs right before a migraine begins. This disturbance is typically visual, but it can also be in the form of perceiving certain smells. Other associated symptoms are a throbbing pain on one side of the head, sensitivity to smell, sound or light. Nausea and vomiting can accompany a migraine. It can be treated by the use of medications like Ibuprofen, Paracetamol, Ergotamine, and Triptans. The headache episodes can be prevented by avoiding triggers and the use of Metropolol, Torpimerate, and Valproate
Of all the types of headaches, the most common type is the tension headaches. A Tension headache is a band like pain which can be mild, moderate or severe located in the head, neck or felt behind the eyes. The pain in this type of a headache occurs as episodes that occur one to two times per month. A tension headache occurs as a result of muscle contractions in the head and neck. These contractions are triggered by certain types of foods, various activities, and stressors. These headaches can also occur when after staring at the computer screen for a long time or driving for a very long period. Other examples of triggers are alcohol, cold temperatures, flu, caffeine, smoking and even emotional stressors. The significant symptoms of this are the dull pain, the feeling of pressure around the forehead, and the tenderness at the forehead and scalp.
How to Relieve Neck Pain
The guiding principle of relieving pain in the neck is to allow proper posture, prevent further injury, and provide adequate information for the person to carry out their duties without hindrance. There are lots of drugs that can be prescribed by physicians to relieve neck pain such as NSAIDs, muscle relaxants, and acetaminophen. However, strict adherence to the dosage should be followed as given and directed by the Doctor.
Heat can be applied to areas of pain and stress through heating pads and hot water bottle. Also, ice packs are also very efficacious in alleviating pain. Generally, some practices even alternate both hot and cold therapy in eradicating pain in the muscles present in the area. Exercises well designed are also good and can be incorporated into daily activities. Epidural injections can also be given, and electrical devices are also used in dealing with the transmission of the pain signals in the region of the neck, it is also used in other parts of the body.
Back Pain Doctor Near Me
No matter what medication the doctor prescribes, or intervention provided, it is essential that one note the cause, and when necessary the individual makes the appropriate lifestyle modifications. Some people may only need to lose a few pounds. Some may only be required to stop smoking, and others may have to either change jobs or devise safer means of carrying out their jobs. Whatever seems possible and necessary will be worked out by the physician, and the patient never gets to go through this alone, but it is important to see a Doctor and get it checked.
Pain has always been part of the human life, but one does not need to be careless, as there may be other severe underlying disorders. Therefore, until confirmed, it is not safe to assume what the problem is, especially when the pain keeps coming back. Some people may even consider it a part of life, but it doesn’t have to be. Seek the consult of a physician and your productivity at work and/or in life may soar tremendously.
Higeura, V., & Cherney, K. (2018). Tension Headaches: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/tension-headache#treatment
Hochschuler, S. (2008). Back Pain Treatment: Non-Surgical Options for Pain Relief. Retrieved from https://www.spine-health.com/conditions/lower-back-pain/back-pain-treatment-non-surgical-options-pain-relief
Jahnna Levy, D. (2018). Common Causes of Back Pain and Neck Pain. Retrieved from https://www.spine-health.com/conditions/lower-back-pain/common-causes-back-pain-and-neck-pain
Krucik, G. (2018). Neck pain: Causes, Symptoms and Diagnosis. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/symptom/neck-pain