Neck pain can strike at any time. From after sleeping, to getting home from work, to finishing up at the gym, this common complaint is nothing to be brushed off. This sort of pain can restrict movement and cause muscle spasms. Because of this, finding treatment and relief are usually on the forefront of a neck pain sufferer’s mind.
Day-to-day life requires a lot of movement, which makes it difficult to figure out the cause of neck pain. There are also various types of neck pain. It can be at the base of the skull, located only on the left side, or your neck pain and headache could even be synonymous. This makes discovering the correct treatment just as difficult as rooting out the cause.
What Is the Real Cause of Neck Pain?
The human neck is flexible and supports the third heaviest organ in the body: the brain. It is comprised of vertebrae, and in between these bones are cervical disks that absorb shock. Together, the bones, ligaments, and muscles in your neck all work as one to support your head and allow for motion. Because of this, the neck is vulnerable to many different types of injuries. Neck pain causes include:
- Thinning disk(s)
- Loss of proper neck curvature
- Nerve compression
- Space occupying lesion
- Abnormalities in the bone
- Poor posture
- Muscle strain
- Worn joints
Very rarely is neck pain caused by a more serious problem. However, if your neck pain is accompanied by numbness, loss of strength in arms or hands, or shooting pain down your arms, then immediately call your doctor.
Relief from neck pain symptoms is what all those with neck pain look for. Certain individuals, even those in great shape, may suffer from chronic dizziness or balance issues. Upper neck problems may be the cause of these symptoms, which interfere with coordination and the body’s nervous system. Other neck pain symptoms include:
- Pain that’s worsened by holding the head in one position for an extended period of time
- Muscle tightness
- Muscle spasms
- Decreased ability to move the head
What Can Be Done About It?
Most symptoms improve gradually with proper home care. However, if symptoms continue to persist, it may be time to see a medical professional.
As causes and symptoms vary greatly, so do the treatment options. It is necessary to find the correct treatment as an incorrect treatment could do more harm than good. Different neck pain treatments include:
- Over the counter pain relievers
- Alternating heat and cold
- Home exercises
- Physical Therapy
If your neck pain is severe, or persists for several days, call your doctor to set up an appointment. Sometimes, home remedies need a helping hand, and a professional is able to make proper recommendations so the patient can find relief sooner.
Visiting a Doctor and Finding Relief
Arriving to an appointment prepared can greatly help both the patient and the physician. Only a few minutes of prep-work will help the appointment run smoothly. A few questions for a patient to consider before the first appointment include:
- When did the pain start?
- Where, specifically, is the pain?
- Is the pain dull, sharp, or shooting?
- Is the pain made worse by straining, coughing, or sneezing?
There is no need to suffer silently. There is hope for those who endure neck pain, and many times simple solutions are able to make a world of difference.