It is thought that more than two thirds of the world’s population at some point in their life will suffer from neck pain. Due to the modern way of living, the number of people affected by this problem rises every day. The stress, poor physical activity, work on the computer and incorrect posture while sitting, they are just some of the reasons that can cause neck pain.
This condition may limit the ability for normal and smooth dealing with daily activities. Therefore, find out everything about neck pain and what habits you need to change in order to get rid of it.
WHAT ARE POSSIBLE CAUSES OF NECK PAIN?
Neck pain may be acute (that lasts less than 12 weeks) or chronic (more than 12 weeks).
There are several reasons that can result in neck pain as:
–Damaging or stretching some part in the neck region (muscle, tendon or ligament). It is the most common cause of neck pain. Risk factors that may lead to spasms or stretching of the neck muscles and the occurrence of neck pain are: poor posture while sitting and walking, stress, reduced physical activity, too much sitting while on work, poor sleeping position etc.
–Degenerative disc disease (cervical Spondylosis). It is a disease that affects the elderly.
– Herniated disc. Because of herniated disc (structure located between two vertebrae) and pressure made on a nerve a pain in the neck may occur. In this condition the pain often spreads to other parts of the body innervated by the affected nerve.
–Infection. Throat infection triggered by certain microorganisms can cause swelling of the cervical lymph nodes, which are often painful, especially when touching them.
-Other causes of neck pain are: tendonitis, subacute thyroiditis, Vertebrobasilar Circulatory Disorders, spinal stenosis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, torticollis, migraine, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, heart attack, cancer and meningitis.
Depending on the cause that led to neck pain, other accompanying symptoms may be present such as headache, pain that spreads toward the face or shoulders, dizziness, hand tingling, back pain, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting etc.
HOW TO GET AN ACCURATE DIAGNOSIS?
To make an accurate diagnosis the doctor needs to run several tests. From the medical examination the doctor needs to obtain information about the type of pain , when did it appear, if there are any other symptoms and signs, whether certain position improves or worsens the pain etc.
If necessary, you can make additional examinations as computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, electromyography and others.
HOW TO RELIEVE NECK PAIN AT HOME?
1.Place hot or cold compresses on the troubled area. What type of coating will help more is individually, so try both of them. Whether you opt for a hot or cold compress, it is necessary to keep it for 15 to 20 minutes, and the procedure is repeated every 2-3 hours. It is good to mention that is medically confirmed that the hot / cold compresses will certainly reduce pain.
2.Do appropriate exercises. Daily exercise and movement of the neck muscles can help you get rid of the pain. It is thought that exercises for strengthening the neck muscles especially help when it comes to chronic neck pain .See the following exercises:
Before you start exercising, put warm compresses on the neck to warm the clenched muscles and joints. This will make them easier to move. After doing the exercises put cold compresses.
Attention! Doing exercises for the neck muscles is not advised when the pain is strong. Also, under certain health conditions that cause neck pain, exercising is not recommended. Therefore, if you have excessive neck pain, consult your doctor.
3.Have a massage. Massage is a great way to relax the neck muscles and pain relief. If you are unable to visit a massage salon or to be massaged from someone close, do the massage by yourself. Learn how in the following video:
4.Properly hold the body while standing and while sitting.
5.Change the position in which you sleep on as well as the pillow.
- If you have problems with neck pain, the best positions for sleeping are on your back or on side.
- Use cushion with feathers because it can be formed according to the shape of your head and neck. Another option is a pillow with memory foam, which also adapts to the shape of the head and neck. Note that over time the feather pillows lose their shape, so after a period of time, should be replaced.
- Avoid pillows that are very hard and high, because they “fix” the neck at night, and it can result in neck pain.
- If you sleep on side, it is best to prevent curvature of the spine. Therefore, use a pillow that in the neck aria is higher than the area where the head is set.
- During long trips, during which it is possible to sleep, take with you adequate cushion (in form of a horseshoe), to ensure a good grip of the head and neck.
6.Get rid of stress. Stress is the number one enemy when it comes to stiffness and pain in the neck and back. Therefore, do exercises for relaxation and meditation, yoga and so on.
7.Take painkillers. If the pain is unbearable, take pain medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Besides medications against pain, relaxants can be used – medicines to relax the muscles.
8.Cancel cigarettes. Smoking reduces blood flow and delays recovery. Therefore, reduce smoking or quit completely.
9.Visit physiotherapist. Professional help from a physiotherapist can significantly affect the improvement.