Preventing Chronic Neck Pain Treating Injuries Correctly
It is important to reduce inflammation as quickly as possible to restore motion. Muscle atrophy can begin after only a few days, and when prolonged leads to weakness which may progress to a chronic state of inflammation, atrophy, pain, weakness and repeated injury. This is often seen with long term damage as in poor posture or repetitive strain type injuries.
Initially, rest is recommended to decrease activity which may cause further damage. A soft, yet supportive neck brace can help with this and also prevent temperature fluctuations. Ice is recommended to help reduce inflammation by restricting blood flow to the injured area along with anti-inflammatory medications when not contraindicated.
Anti-inflammatory medications pose a risk of complications, so that leaves ice to reduce the inflammation. Unfortunately, many people do not like ice on their neck. Personally, I fall into this category and I have found many patients do not follow instructions for icing the neck to reduce inflammation and help to prevent a chronic condition. Icing the neck may feel good on a hot summer day, but injury has no season and the cold may cause muscle spasm. This muscle spasm or contracting can decrease local blood flow causing blood stasis or pooling and obstruction, which can slow the healing process and prolong return of normal motion.
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
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 .
How Long Does It Take For A Strained Neck Muscle To Heal
At times, muscle strain and sprain are used to define a painful condition in an identical fashion. A strain is colloquially referred to as a pulled muscle or torn muscle which also occurs in the tendon part of the human body. It is different from the term muscle sprain which is often referred to as torn ligament. It is defined as the injury that happens in one or more ligaments in a joint, i.e. often caused by trauma.
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First Steps To Relieve Neck Pain
The causes of routine strain-and-sprain neck pain vary. If you wake up with a “crick” in your neck, it’s probably the sharp muscle contractions known as spasms, caused by a muscle strain. A sprain, in contrast, happens in ligamentsthe tough tissues that connect bones together. Alternatively, a tendonthe tissue that attaches muscles to bonesmay become inflamed, causing tendinitis. Basic self-help takes care of most routine neck pain flare-ups:
- Use cold to numb the early acute pain and reduce inflammation.
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers to control mild to moderate pain. These include acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen , naproxen , or aspirin.
- Use a neck collar for short periods to rest the painful muscles and tissues and ease your discomfort. “Collars have a bad reputation from people overusing them and getting weak muscles, but used a few hours here and there they can be very useful,” Dr. Shmerling says.
- Apply heateither with a heating pad or by using a warm whirlpool bath if one is availableafter a day or two, once the acute pain calms down.
Should you go to a chiropractor to get your neck “cracked”? Dr. Shmerling counsels against sudden, strenuous manipulation of the neck. “It may be fine for low back pain, but avoid it for neck pain,” he says.
How Are Back And Neck Pain Managed
Acute back pain usually gets better without special treatment. Using acetaminophen or ibuprofen will decrease pain and help you rest. Surgery and special exercises are generally not; used with acute pain.
;For severe, disabling, or chronic back and neck pain, rehabilitation programs can be designed to meet your needs. The type of program will depend on the type and severity of your pain, injury, or disease. Active involvement of the patient and family is vital to the success of rehabilitation programs. ;;
The goal of back and neck rehabilitation is to help you manage disabling pain, return to your highest level of functioning and independence possible, while improving your overall quality of life. The focus of rehabilitation is on relieving pain and improving mobility .
To help reach these goals, back and neck rehabilitation programs may include the following:
Exercise programs to improve range of motion, increase muscle strength, improve flexibility and mobility, and increase endurance
Help with obtaining assistive devices that promote independence
Patient and family education and counseling
Pain management techniques
Gait and movement retraining
Ergonomic assessments and work-related injury prevention programs
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Preventing And Living With Neck Pain
While avoiding neck pain isnt always possible, you can keep your neck muscles strain- and stress-free by creating healthy habits. Instead of in front of a computer all day, for example, take stretch breaks throughout the day.
If your neck pain feels worse at the end of each day, consider your posture. Are you sitting up straight? Sitting in your chair with your feet flat on the floor?
If your neck pain feels worse in the morning, check your sleep position and pillow. Use a pillow that supports your neck and keeps it straight. Avoid sleeping on your stomach with your neck twisted, if possible.
What if you go to sleep feeling fine and wake up with neck pain? Daily life can take its toll on your neck. If you wake up with neck pain, the best thing to do is give your body time to heal on its own. To get through the day without letting the pain interfere with your normal activities, you have a few options.
- Gently stretch your neck: the Spine Universe Exercise Center offers a video with 3 neck stretches and exercises to help relieve a stiff neck.
- Take over-the-counter pain medications, such as Tylenol or Advil.
- Alternate between heat and ice treatments on your neck: 20 minutes of heat followed by 20 minutes of ice should help relieve the pain and expedite the healing process.
- Rest: take a few days off from any strenuous activities that aggravate your symptoms, such as sports and heavy lifting.
Already dealing with neck pain?
Several More Specific Red Flags For Neck Pain: A Checklist
Check all that apply. Most people will not be able to check many of these, let alone all of them. But the more you can check, the more worthwhile it is to ask your doctor for some input. Most people who check off an item or two will turn out not to have an ominous health issue. But red flags are reasons to check not reasons to worry.
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Neck Pain Medications Are Common To Many Conditions
Neck pain medications are commonly used to treat the physical and emotional effects of this condition. The prevalence of neck pain increases with aging; surveys of ambulatory office visits suggest that physician office visits for new pain peak in patients in their mid to late 40s, and the rate of office visits for chronic pain increase linearly until 65 years of age, and then taper slightly. While there are many natural methods to treat neck pain, medications have their place.
When To Contact A Medical Professional
Seek medical help right away if you have:
- A fever and headache, and your neck is so stiff that you cannot touch your chin to your chest. This may be meningitis. Call 911 or the local emergency number or get to a hospital.
- Symptoms of a heart attack, such as shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, vomiting, or arm or jaw pain.
- Symptoms do not go away in 1 week with self-care
- You have numbness, tingling, or weakness in your arm or hand
- Your neck pain was caused by a fall, blow, or injury — if you cannot move your arm or hand, have someone call 911 or the local emergency number
- You haveswollen glands or a lump in your neck
- Your pain does not go away with regular doses of over-the-counter pain medicine
- You have difficulty swallowing or breathing along with the neck pain
- The pain gets worse when you lie down or wakes you up at night
- Your pain is so severe that you cannot get comfortable
- You lose control over urination or bowel movements
- You have trouble walking and balancing
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What Causes Back And Neck Pain
Even with today’s technology, the exact cause of back and neck pain is difficult to determine. In most cases, back and neck pain may have many different causes, including any of the following:
Overuse, strenuous activity, or improper use, such as repetitive or heavy lifting
Trauma, injury, or fractures
Degeneration of vertebrae, often caused by stresses on the muscles and ligaments that support your spine, or the effects of aging
Abnormal growth, such as a tumor or bone spur
Obesity, which places increased weight on your spine, and pressure on your discs
Poor muscle tone
Joint problems, such as arthritis
Protruding or herniated disk and pinched nerve
Osteoporosis and compression fractures
Congenital abnormalities of your vertebrae and bones
Abdominal problems, such as an aortic aneurysm;
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.
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 Long Does Neck Pain Last
The recovery period or healing time for neck pain depends on the severity of the injury or the damage to the bones and muscles and the type of treatment prescribed. Neck pain intensity ranges from simple neck spasms to more complicated conditions such as structural changes and severe damages of tissues and muscles.
Neck spasms are caused by involuntary contractions of the muscles and can last for few days or weeks while severe structural, muscle and tissue damages may take long to heal. Quick recovery of your neck pain will also depend on how you heed to the advice of your doctor. You will also have to stop doing the activities that caused the neck problem. Stopping such activities will promote quick healing and prevent more complications and pains.
Some Factors Associated With Chronic Neck Pain
While chronic pain in the neck can be elusive, certain conditions are associated with long lasting neck pain and poor results with traditional therapies. A finding on MRI associated with chronic pain is called Modic Type 1 Degenerative Changes. It has been studied extensively in relation to back pain, but it also affects the neck. In some cases, they have been treated successfully with antibiotic therapy.
- Breathing problems are associated with chronic neck pain. According to a 2014 study in the Thailand Medical Journal, abnormal breathing patterns can be associated with ongoing neck pain symptoms and altered respiratory function. It was found that breathing re-education was effective at reducing pain, increasing cervical range of motion, as well as improving respiratory function.
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The Complete Guide To Neck Pain & Cricks
This article might ease your mind, but what about your neck pain? If your pain is becoming chronic , or if you just keep having flare-ups, you may want to dive much deeper into the topic. There arent any easy answers for stubborn neck pain, but there is evidence-based hope, and the PainScience.com neck pain tutorial explores the topic extremely thoroughly. The main text is written for patients, but its also extensively referenced for keen readers and healthcare professionals. Read the introduction.
Neck Strain Treatments And Prevention
Most neck strains heal on their own, but finding the right treatment can help alleviate the pain while the injury is healing. In cases where neck pain lingers for more than a few days or initial treatments do not provide enough relief, trial-and-error may be needed to find the combination of treatments that work best.
A pillow with good support can help to minimize pain from a neck strain by relieving pressure on the structures of the neck. ReadPillows for Neck Pain
What Can Cause Sharp Pain In Your Neck And Shoulder When Breathing
A couple of conditions can cause pain in the neck and/or shoulder when you take a deep breath, including:
- Pleurisy : Symptoms include sudden chest pain that may be felt only while coughing or breathing deeply, fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
- Pericarditis : Symptoms include rapid-onset stabbing chest pain, possibly pain in the shoulder, fever, weakness, and trouble breathing. It gets worse if you lie down or breathe deeply.
Pleurisy and pericarditis aren’t usually medical emergencies but you should treat any chest pain or breathing difficulty as an emergency until you know for sure what’s causing it.
What Are The Complications Of Neck And Back Pain
Loss or productivity: Back pain is the most common reason for disability in working adults.
Nerve damage: If your back pain is from a herniated disc, pressure on the spinal nerves may cause a variety of problems, such as weakness, numbness, or severe shooting pain that travels from the back to the leg.
Depression: Back or neck pain can disrupt all aspects of a persons life: work, physical exercise, social activities, and sleep. The anxiety and stress caused by the change in mobility and pain can lead to depression.
Weight gain: Loss of mobility and inability to exercise can lead to weight gain and the loss of muscle strength.
It is a good idea to see a health care provider if you have numbness or tingling, or if your pain is severe and does not improve with medication and rest. If you have difficulty urinating, weakness, pain, or numbness in your legs, fever, or unintentional weight loss, you should call your health care provider right away.
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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.
Treatment And Medication Options For Neck Pain
Recommended treatments for neck pain vary with the cause of your pain. In general, the goals of treatment are to relieve pain and improve function.
Self-care options that may help resolve neck pain include:
- Taking over-the-counter pain relievers
- Using heat or ice packs, or alternating between both
- Gentle stretches and neck exercises
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Change Your Sleep Position
The position you sleep in at night can also affect your neck. Sleeping on your side or your back puts less strain on your neck than sleeping on your stomach. When you sleep on your stomach, youre forcing your neck to strain for long periods of time and this can cause pain and stiffness.
If you sleep on your side for all or part of the night, you can buy a pillow with neck support.
Remedies And Treatments For Neck Stiffness
At-home remedies will usually help with the majority of early-stage neck stiffness:
- Apply an ice pack to numb the area and soothe inflamed muscles.
- Take an over-the-counter painkiller, like Tylenol, Advil, or Aleve.
- After a day or two, apply a heating pad or warm compress.
During the next few days, take these precautions:
- Be aware of your movements. Try not to jerk your head quickly or twist your neck. This can cause inflammation.Â;
- Try gentle stretches, moving the head back and forth, then up and down.
- Ask a friend or partner to massage the sore area.
- Wear a neck collar for a few hours to rest stiff neck muscles.
- Sleep without a pillow, or use one that’s specifically designed to support the neck.Â;
It’s possible to prevent a stiff neck. The majority of neck pain is a combination of bad posture, injury, or general wear and tear as you age. If you experience neck stiffness often, try making some simple adjustments:
Watch Your Posture
Shoulders should be in a straight line over your hips. Ears should be in line with your shoulders.Â;
Adjust Desk FurnitureÂ;
Your computer should be level with your eyes. Consider raising or lowering your desk monitor or laptop. When you sit, adjust your chair to ensure the knees fall slightly below the hips.Â;
Use Headphones or Speakerphones
If you hold your phone between your ears and shoulder, or look down to text, you’re putting the neck in an awkward position that could cause muscle strain. Wear headphones or use your speakerphone instead.Â;
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