Friday, October 22, 2021

What Causes Severe Neck Pain

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Is Right Or Left Neck Pain Significant

When Chronic Neck Pain is too Much to Endure: Kathys Story

Its surprising how often folks find this article because they are searching for information on neck pain left side or oddly much less often neck pain right side. People wonder if the side their pain is clinically significant.

Its not.

Average neck anatomy is almost perfectly symmetrical.10 There are, of course, many individual anatomical variations, so anyone could have an asymmetric neck but those are unpredictable quirks that dont help diagnose anything. In many cases, we dont even have any way of knowing they exist at all.

And of course something can go wrong on one side and not the other even when you are perfectly symmetrical.

But you could tell the worlds greatest neck pain diagnostician which side your pain is on, and that wouldnt get her any closer to the answer. Revealing the side of the pain wouldnt give Dr. Gregory House a diagnostic a-ha! moment.

Please dont worry about the side of your pain its not an important detail.

How Are Bone Spurs In The Neck Diagnosed

To diagnose a bone spur in the neck, a doctor will first perform a physical exam. They may ask you questions about any symptoms you have and test the range of motion of your neck. A bone spur on the neck may be confirmed via imaging tests, such as:

  • X-rays
  • magnetic resonance imaging

The tests can also help diagnose underlying causes, such as OA.

Your doctor may also recommend an electroconductive test to help detect nerve injuries in your spinal cord. Blood testing may also be ordered to rule out the possibility of other underlying diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Treatment for bone spurs depends on the severity of your symptoms and overall condition.

More mild cases may be treated with one or more of the following options:

  • rest
  • physical therapy to increase range of motion
  • massage therapy to help manage pain

In more severe cases where symptoms dont respond to therapy and medication, a doctor may recommend cervical spine surgery.

The type of surgery for neck bone spurs will vary based on the underlying cause and location some examples include:

  • spinal fusion to seal two or more vertebrae back together
  • anterior cervical discectomy to remove spurs and discs through the front of your neck
  • anterior cervical corpectomy to remove and replace vertebrae when bone spurs cant be eliminated via discectomy
  • posterior cervical laminectomy to remove the lamina on the back of your neck and help get rid of bone spurs that may be pressing on spinal nerves

Gallstones Or Enlarged Gallbladder

Pain in your right shoulder can be a sign of a gallstone blocking a duct in your gallbladder. You may also feel pain in your back between your shoulder blades. The pain may be sudden and sharp.

You may or may not feel the more common symptoms of gallstones or gallbladder inflammation. These are:

  • sudden pain in your upper right abdomen
  • pain in the center of your abdomen, below your breast bone
  • nausea or vomiting

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A Tear In One Of The Main Arteries Of The Neck Is A Rare Cause Of Stroke

You probably don’t give much thought to your neck, unless something goes wrong and you start to feel neck pain.. This underappreciated body part has to be strong enough to support a heavy weight yet still allow you to tilt, turn, and nod your head easily.

Most of the time, neck pain doesn’t signal a serious medical problem. But it’s worth learning about one of the rare exceptions: a tear in one of the arteries of the neck, known as a cervical artery dissection . Although these occur in only about two in 100,000 people per year, they are one of the most common causes of stroke in people under age 50.

“Over the past two decades, awareness of cervical artery dissection has grown tremendously,” says Dr. Natalia Rost, associate professor of neurology at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. This may stem in part from the recognition that stroke rates seem to be rising among younger people, despite an overall downward trend in deaths caused by stroke.

What Are The Symptoms

Care for chronic neck pain fast

Signs and symptoms of neck pain may be stiffness, tightness, aching, burning or stabbing or shooting pains, pressure, or tingling. Muscles can feel sore or tense in the neck, face, or shoulders. Muscles can spasm when they go into a state of extreme contraction . Movement may be restricted â perhaps you cannot turn your head. If nerves are involved, pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness may develop in your shoulders, arms or hands.

Several situations signal the need for prompt medical attention. If nerve compression is severe, symptoms can include pain, numbness, tingling in the arms or legs, loss of bladder or bowel control, or loss of strength and problems with coordination.

Neck pain along with a severe headache, fever, or nausea could be a sign of infection or a bleed in the brain. If your neck is so stiff that you can’t touch your chin to chest, seek medical help immediately.

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What Causes Or Increases My Risk For Acute Neck Pain

Acute neck pain is often caused by a muscle strain or ligament sprain. Any of the following can increase your risk for acute neck pain:

  • Inflammation of discs in your neck
  • A condition that affects neck to arm nerves, such as thoracic outlet syndrome or brachial neuritis
  • A trauma or injury to your neck, such as being hit from behind in a car or sleeping in a bad position
  • Shingles, or an infection such as meningitis

Can I Prevent Neck And Back Pain

The following may help to prevent back and neck pain:

  • Practice correct lifting techniques: avoid heavy lifting when you do lift something, bend your legs, keep your back straight, and then slowly lift your body and the object.

  • Properly use telephones, computers, and other equipment.

  • Maintain correct posture while sitting, standing, and sleeping.

  • Exercise regularly. Learn specific back-strengthening exercises to keep your back muscles strong. Warm up with stretching exercises before doing back exercises.

  • Do exercises that improve your balance.

  • Avoid smoking.

  • Reduce emotional stress, which may cause muscle tension.

  • Make sure you have enough Vitamin D and calcium in your diet.

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How Is Neck Pain Diagnosed

Doctors diagnose neck pain with a physical exam and medical history. Your doctor will feel and move your neck to locate pain and find motion problems. Doctors also check your muscle strength and reflexes. Your doctor will ask about previous neck injuries that might have caused whiplash or a herniated disc. Your doctor may ask about work or other activities that could affect your neck.

To diagnose the cause of the pain, your doctor may use imaging tests such as X-ray, magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography . These tests can show damage and other issues in the bones and surrounding tissues in your neck.

Other tests that your doctor may order include: electromyography, nerve conduction studies, myelogram and/or nerve root block. These tests look more closely at the discs in the spine, the spine itself, check the function of nerves and muscle response and source of the pain.

How Can You Prevent Neck Pain

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Fix your posture to fix your neck pain. Sit or stand with your shoulders directly over your hips and your head straight. Adjust your chair or desktop so your computer monitor is at eye level. Take frequent breaks.

Donât tuck your phone between your ear and shoulder. Use a speakerphone or headset instead.

Try not to carry heavy bags with shoulder straps.

Try a different pillow if youâre waking up with a stiff neck. Some people find that a relatively flat one, or one with built-in neck support, works best. Sleeping on your back or side, not your belly, also allows your neck muscles and ligaments to get the rest they need.

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What Is Back And Neck Pain

Back pain can range from a mild, dull, annoying ache to persistent, severe, disabling pain. Pain in your back can limit your ability to move. It can interfere with normal functioning and quality of life. Always talk with your healthcare provider if you have persistent pain.

Neck pain occurs in the area of the cervical vertebrae in your neck. Because of its location and range of motion, your neck is often left unprotected and at risk for injury.

Pain in your back or neck area can come on suddenly and intensely. Chronic pain lasts for weeks, months, or even years. The pain can be constant or come and go.

How Do You Treat Neck Pain

Physiotherapy and Chiropractic care are among the most effective ways to tackle neck pain. Using a series of exercises, one of our highly-trained physiotherapists and chiropractors can help reduce swelling, improve range of motion and increase flexibility.

At Physiomed, we take a well-rounded approach to healing which is why we recommend a unique combination of proven therapies to deal with chronic neck pain. Along with physiotherapy and chiropractic care, our treatment plans also often include massage therapy, acupuncture and other therapies. Best of all, our options are all non-invasive and drug-free.

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Key Points About Back And Neck Pain

  • Back and neck problems range from minor aches to severe, disabling pain.
  • Often, the reason for your pain can’t be found.
  • See a healthcare provider if you have numbness or tingling, severe pain that does not improve with medicine and rest, trouble urinating, weakness, pain, or numbness in your legs, fever, unintentional weight loss, or pain after a fall.
  • Often, back and neck pain will improve over time. See your healthcare provider if your pain is not decreasing.
  • Use prevention strategies to keep yourself healthy and injury-free.
  • For severe, disabling, or chronic back pain, consider an individualized rehabilitation program.

Causes And Risk Factors Of Neck Pain

Facing Severe Neck Pain? Here Are Some Possible Causes ...

Neck pain can be caused by various health conditions, including the following:

  • Strained muscles
  • Pinched nerves and bone spurs
  • Trauma or injury
  • Growths, including tumors and cysts

The following factors are known to increase the risk of developing neck pain:

  • Older age
  • Driving or traveling long distances
  • Working long hours at a computer
  • Hunching your neck down often, such as to look at your phone
  • Carrying heavy bags on shoulder straps
  • Poor alignment while sleeping
  • Smoking

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Signs Of Arthritis Are Not Red Flags

One of the most common concerns about the neck that is not especially worrisome: signs of wear and tear on the cervical spine, arthritis, and degenerative disc disease, as revealed by x-ray, CT scans, and MRI. Many people who have clear signs of arthritic degeneration in their spines will never have any symptoms, or only minor, and/or not for a long time.11 For instance, about 50% of fortysomethings have clinically silent disk bulges, and even at age 20 theres a surprising amount of spinal arthritis. The seriousness of these signs is routinely overestimated by patients and healthcare professionals alike.12

Signs of arthritis are almost never diagnostic on their own.13 Do yourself a favour: dont assume that you have a serious problem based only on pain plus signs of arthritis. Pain is common serious degeneration is not.

but no pain

Percentages of people with various kinds of spinal degeneration . Source:

Imaging finding
83%

Is neck pain a symptom of COVID-19?

All common aches and pains are more likely to be triggered or aggravated by any infection, but perhaps COVID-19 more than most simply because its unusually good at causing widespread body aching, and necks are included in that. But neck pain doesnt stand out any more than any other common locations for aching or soreness .

What Do I Need To Know About Chronic Neck Pain

Chronic neck pain may start to build slowly over time. Neck pain is chronic if it lasts longer than 3 months. The pain may come and go, or be worse with certain movements. The pain may be only in your neck, or it may move to your arms, back, or shoulders. You may have pain that starts in another body area and moves to your neck. You may have neck pain for years. Some types of neck pain can be permanent.

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Will Neck Pain Cause Headache

Yes, amongst many causes for headache neck pain is one and also the most common cause. Tension headaches and lower back pain and neck pain with headaches are generally rooted in the neck. However, the aches and stemming points within the neck vary a lot. Occipital neuralgia and cervicogenic headache are two common types of headaches due to neck pain.

Acute Causes Of Severe Neck Pain

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Involvement in an accident where the neck is impacted in some fashion is likely to cause severe neck pain. Motor vehicle collisions, or falls from a bike, chair, or a horse, can cause whiplash and neck pain which may be acute and lead to chronic problems. Injuries from contact sports like football, or martial arts may cause muscle tears and strains, as can over-training at the gym.

If severe neck pain is felt whilst exercising, it is important to stop and check to ensure that any equipment is being used safely and correctly. Unfamiliarity with gym equipment can lead to poor posture and incorrect usage, with ramifications for shoulder, neck, and back pain. Over time this could lead to uneven muscle tone, and require realignment and physical therapy from a professional such as a chiropractor or osteopath.

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When To Call A Doctor For Neck Pain

Most often neck pain will resolve on its own. But what are the signs that neck pain could be more serious and need a doctors opinion?

As a general guideline, the Mayo Clinic says you should contact a doctor if your neck pain:

  • Is severe
  • Persists for several days without relief
  • Spreads down arms or legs
  • Is accompanied by a headache, numbness, weakness, or tingling

Common Chronic Neck Pain Causes

When neck pain lasts or keeps coming back over a period of several months, it is typically due to spinal degeneration from wear-and-tear over time .

  • Cervical degenerative disc disease. All discs gradually lose hydration and the ability to cushion the spines vertebrae over time. If a disc degenerates enough, for some people it can lead to pain in various ways, such as a herniated disc, pinched nerve, or changes in the facet joints that can cause osteoarthritis.
  • Watch Cervical Herniated Disc Video

As spinal degeneration progresses, there is an increased risk for a narrowing of the foramen and/or the spinal canal . If the nerve root and/or spinal cord becomes impinged, pain, tingling, numbness, and/or weakness may radiate into the arms or legs.

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Neck Pain With Headache Causes And Treatment

Headaches and neck pain go hand-in-hand for many reasons, a stiff or strangled neck most of the time leads to neck pain with a headache. These headaches are commonly called cervicogenic headaches. Knowing how to take care of such headaches caused by the sensitivity of nerves in the neck can help you a long way in avoiding other complications especially in the head and the region near the neck.

Other Causes Of Neck Pain When You Wake Up

Severe Neck Pain Treatment

There are certainly other causes that can also contribute to you waking up with neck pain. In some cases, you may develop a sore neck during the day, too. Some common causes of neck pain include:

  • poor posture during the day
  • working too long at a computer, or watching television for too long without changing positions
  • osteoarthritis in one of the upper spinal joints
  • nerve compression caused by a herniated disk or bone spur in your neck

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When Should I Call My Doctor

  • You have neck pain and shooting pain down your arms or legs.
  • Your neck pain suddenly becomes severe.
  • You have neck pain along with numbness, tingling, or weakness in your arms or legs.
  • You have a stiff neck, a headache, and a fever.
  • You have new or worsening symptoms.
  • Your symptoms continue even after treatment.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Swimmers And Neck Pain

Swimming can also pose a potential risk of severe neck pain as many people strain to keep their heads out of the water whilst swimming, forming an unnatural shape to the neck and straining the muscles in both the neck and shoulders. If it seems difficult to find a comfortable head and neck position when swimming then it may be worth talking to an instructor at the pool to try and adapt the style of swimming that causes the strain. Unfortunately, when swimming it is easy to keep pushing and doing more and more lengths, whilst simultaneously reinforcing a postural problem by creating/maintaining uneven muscle tone. It is quite difficult to alter the style of swimming after years of doing it one particular way it is never too late to try though.

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Signs And Symptoms Of Neck Pain

Neck pain may be characterized by the following symptoms:

  • Persistent aching
  • Tenderness or sensitivity to mild pressure
  • Pain that gets worse when you hold your head in one place for a while
  • Muscle tightness or spasms

Neck pain can be axial or radicular . It may be accompanied by a headache, or by numbness or tingling in one or both arms.

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