The Many Causes of Neck Pain and How to Treat Them
Many people will have experience with neck pain at least once at some point in their lives. With varying degrees of pain, from acute - lasting a few days or a couple of weeks to chronic lasting several weeks or longer.
Normally, the causes for back pain aren't serious. They could be a result of poor posture at work, or while participating in hobbies that have you hunched over a table or workbench. It could be a case of over strenuous physical activity too.
Some of the symptoms of neck pain take many forms. For example, you could have either dull or sharp pain. Your neck may be stiff, resulting in you having difficulty going about your daily affairs. Some cases may find you having shoulder or back pain in addition to the pain you are experiencing in your neck.
Any neck pain, brought on by such things as bad posture or excessive activity, should show signs of relief after a few days of home care. If after a maximum of two weeks your symptoms have not improved, it's time to seek medical care. However, if any of these conditions apply, you should seek medical attention immediately.
- Severe pain as a result of injury. A physician should check any head or neck trauma immediately. This includes whiplash or any blow to the head. Any sign of severe pain over a bone could be an indication of a fracture or other injury.
- Shooting pain radiating to either your shoulder, through shoulder blades or down one or both arms may indicate some sort of nerve irritation. This can include numbness, tingling of the fingers and may last from weeks to over 6 months or potentially even longer. This condition could result in more tests to investigate other possible reasons.
- Change in bladder and/or bowel habits, especially the onset of any type of incontinence could indicate potential neurological problems immediately address this with your physician.
- Any loss of strength or weakness in any of your limbs is also and indication of potential neurological issues, and should be addressed immediately as well.
Neck Pain Treatments
In most cases, neck pain responds effectively to home care and remedies. Your doctor may suggest other treatments if he or she deems necessary however. These could include over-the-counter pain relievers, alternating heat and cold packs, extra rest throughout the day, gentle stretching exercises or over-the-counter pain creams.
If in the rare case your neck pain doesn't go away with the above-mentioned methods of treatment, your physician may consider addition treatments for you, such as the following:
- Neck exercises and stretching with the assistance of a physical therapist or on your own at home.
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) where electrodes are placed one your skin surrounding the painful areas to deliver tiny impulses that could relieve pain.
- Injections of medications such as corticosteroids directly into the neck.
- Pain medications stronger than what you can receive over the counter may be prescribed for a brief period of time.
- Traction exercises using weights to gently stretch your neck while keeping it immobilized. This could provide rapid relief, which could last for hours or perhaps even days.
- Surgery is an option not largely used for neck pain, but may be the only option when it comes to nerve root or spinal cord compression.
Knowing now how to deal with the situation if it ever arises, you know have the knowledge of how to treat neck pain at home. You also know when it's time to seek professional care as well.