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Neck Pain: Causes, Symptoms And Treatments

By Sakhi Pandey

Pain located specifically in the region of our neck is called neck pain, to put it in simple, uncomplicated words. Neck pain is generally extremely normal; however, its intensity might vary, because our neck is one of the most delicate regions of our body.

It is made up of a number of vertebrae that extend from one's skull to the upper torso. Our necks also consist of bones and muscles which support our skull on our body. Therefore, any sort of strain, abnormalities or injury can cause any kind of stiffness or pain in the neck.

neck pain treatment

Most people generally suffer from neck pain due to a poor posture maintained over time. Other times it could be because of any kind of injury. The intensity of the neck pain that one suffers from depends on why they have the pain.

If it is because of an accident or inflammation, then it is pretty serious and might require proper medical attention. Also, if it has been happening over a period of time continuously, it needs to be treated by a doctor.

Some causes of neck pain are as follows:

1. Strain or muscle tension
2. Bad Posture
3. Jerking or Whiplash
4. Overexertion
5. Injury
6. Meningitis
7. Arthritis
8. Heart attack

1. Strain Or Muscle Tension:

Neck strain or muscle pull generally happens when a few fibres in the neck muscle pull too far and tear.

This obviously causes our neck to pain. The strain has varying effects depending on the location and the size of the tear in the muscle. Generally, it takes about a day or two to heal this.

2. Bad Posture:

The tissues, tendons, and muscles of the neck are rather soft and therefore can be easily overstretched if the neck is tilted at an awkward angle or stretched forward for a long period of time. This generally happens when one is sitting hunched, working on the computer/laptop, holding the phone between the ear and the shoulder for far too long or sleeping in a position that does not suit your neck.

3. Jerking Or Whiplash:

Jerking your neck during an exercise or as a reflex action can also cause neck strain.

4. Overexertion:

Our necks might get strained or be overexerted if we go to lift something too heavy because it puts too much pressure on the neck which strains our necks.

5. Injury:

Our necks aren't the strongest parts of our body and therefore are more susceptible to injury. These injuries could be minor or major. Generally, the neck is injured when the muscles and ligaments of the neck are forced to move beyond what their normal range is; this causes our neck to pain. Neck pain due to injury could be because of falling from a significant height or falling off a bike or a rickshaw, whiplash during car accidents and major twisting of the spine.

These injuries require immediate medical attention because certain neck injuries may harm our spinal cord too. Neck pain from neck injuries may be sudden and lead to bruising or swelling, depending on the intensity of the damage it has caused.

6. Meningitis:

Meningitis is a disease or an illness that could be the reason for your neck pain. Meningitis is a bacterial or viral illness that causes inflammation to or around the tissues of the spinal cord or the brain. Symptoms of this illness are very evident - fever, headache, sometimes even vomiting along with severe neck stiffness making it near impossible to move our necks.

7. Arthritis:

Arthritis is commonly referred to as severe joint pain, and therefore can be and is one of the many reasons for neck pain. Our neck pains due to arthritis because it damages the disks of our neck which causes pinching of the nerves. This generally happens on only one side of the neck and the consecutive arm. Numbness, weakness in the arm or the hand might be positive symptoms of arthritis.

8. Heart Attack:

One of the reasons why you're having severe neck pain could be because you're having a heart attack. A heart attack usually occurs when the blood supply is usually cut off from the heart when an artery supplying the heart muscle with blood is blocked by a blood clot.

These were some of the few reasons you could be suffering from mild or severe neck pain. However, they aren't all the causes; other causes could include spondylosis, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, or even something as simple as the flu. Therefore, there are many causes of neck pain; the above-mentioned are the most common ones.

Now, we know why we're suffering from neck pain, how do we cure it or what is the treatment for curing neck pain?

When suffering from any kind of neck pain, visit your doctor; they will mostly ask you to take a few tests to ascertain what the cause of your neck pain exactly is. These tests could be:

  • MRI Scans
  • Blood tests
  • CT Scans
  • X-Rays

Those were a few examples of the tests you could be asked to take; however, there are many other kinds of tests, you could be asked to take any of them.

After determining the cause of your neck pain derived from the result of the test, your doctor might begin treatment for your neck pain, which could include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Chiropractic treatment
  • Exercise - physical therapy
  • Your doctor might give you some muscle relaxants or antibiotics or even suggest surgery.

However, if you have mild neck pain and you know what the reason could be, you could try to ease your neck pain at home by sitting in the correct posture or have medicines, if they have been prescribed before. Do visit your doctor if it becomes severe.

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    Story first published: Tuesday, July 24, 2018, 14:41 [IST]
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