Do you often feel a sudden pain in your neck? This can be annoying, painful, and uncomfortable for those who experience it. Furthermore, it may also cause difficulty in looking sideways or turning from one direction to another. Not only that, but it may also result in the feeling of a headache, shoulder pain, and/or arm pain. Because of this, it is important to know about the treatments for neck pain, or a stiff neck. Having enough knowledge about the condition is also important to be able to know what to avoid and what may cause the onset of the condition.
Neck Pain: What is It?
The neck is made up of vertebrae, which extend from the skull down to the upper part of the torso. The cervical discs absorb the shock in the bones. The muscles, ligaments, and bones of the neck support the head and allow for movement and motion. However, sometimes abnormalities or injury may cause the area to become painful or stiff.
Neck pain, or stiff neck, is often characterized by soreness or difficulty with moving the neck in various directions. The pain may encompass neck pain, arm pain, shoulder pain, as well as a headache. Since it is hard to turn the head in a certain direction with this condition, the person being affected may need to turn his entire body instead of his neck.
A lot of people experience this condition at least once in their lives. The condition may appear upon waking up in the morning or because of various vigorous activities. In most cases, the pain and the stiffness may go away naturally within just a week. However, how the patient manages and cares about the condition may affect the level of pain, the time needed for the recovery, and the likelihood of the condition to return.
For the most part, neck pain is not that serious of a condition and may vanish in just a few days. However, in some cases, neck pain may indicate serious illnesses or injury and requires a professional’s attention and care. Seeking medical attention is a must when neck pain continues for more than one week, is austere, or is accompanied by other symptoms.
Neck Pain: What Causes it?
Neck pain, or stiff neck, may happen for various reasons.
Muscle Strain and Tension
This is mainly caused by the following:
- Twitching the neck while exercising.
- Sleeping with poor posture or positioning.
- Working at the desk for too long, without changing positions.
- Having poor posture.
As we know, the neck is specifically vulnerable to various injuries, most especially in sports, car accidents, or falls. In these events, the ligaments and muscles in the neck are forced to go further than their normal range. When the cervical vertebrae or the neck bones get fractured, the spinal cord may also become damaged.
Neck pain may also be an indication of the onset of a heart attack. A heart attack will come with additional symptoms to look out for:
The following are some other causes of neck pain:
- Spinal stenosis
- Herniated cervical disk
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Some rare cases of neck pain may be caused by the following:
- Cancer of the spine
- Congenital abnormalities
Symptoms of Neck Pain
Neck pain, or stiff neck, may vary in intensity. This may range from annoyingly discomforting pain to extremely limiting and sharp pain. Usually, trying to turn a stiff neck to a certain side or direction may lead to so much pain that you’ll stop turning your neck that direction altogether.
Treatments for Neck Pain
Here are some of the most effective treatments for neck pain:
- Epsom salt: This salt has magnesium and sulfate, making it beneficial in regulating various enzymes in the body. Furthermore, it is also beneficial in increasing blood circulation and reducing muscle and stress tension.
- Ice: It helps in reducing inflammation of the neck. The cold temperature helps in relieving the soreness of the neck muscles.
- Massage: Virtually any pain in the body can be treated with massage. Having a gentle massage or rub may stimulate blood flow.
- Acupuncture: This helps in regulating the functions of the body. Furthermore, it also helps in the circulation of lymph and blood to relieve pain.
- Exercise: It can be a great help in relieving pain. It will not just treat the condition, but it will also make the neck more flexible and reduce its stiffness (working as a preventative measure).