Neck Pain and Problems
Do you know that neck pain can be a symptom of a more serious health problem?
Neck pain occurs when the neck muscles are strained due to poor posture. If you are working at your computer for long hours, you are sure to develop neck pain. In most of the cases, poor body posture results in neck pain. In some, it is osteoarthritis that causes neck pain. Neck pain is considered as a symptom for some underlying health problem.
As your neck supports the weight of the head, you are greatly vulnerable to sprains and injuries. Neck pain may occur due to muscle strain, worn joints, nerve compression, injuries due to accidents and diseases. Muscle strain may occur by minor things like reading in bed or gritting your teeth and spending long hours over your smartphone or computer.
Neck pain may also occur due to osteoarthritis, a condition where the cartilage between your bones is worn out to affect the joint motion and cause pain. You may also experience neck pain when the herniated disks or bone spurs press the nerves that branch out from the spinal cord. In Cervical spondylosis or cervical osteoarthritis, the neck pain is caused by changes in the bones, discs and joints of the neck. With increasing age, your spine gradually breaks down, loses fluid and becomes stiffer.
The common symptoms of neck pain include numbness, loss of strength in your arms and hands, and mild to severe pain in your shoulder or your arms. Those with neck pain may exhibit one or more symptoms like developing a rash, running fever accompanied by prolonged and painful neck, having a difficulty to move the head forward and backward and difficulty to see light as it hurts the eyes, suffering from severe headache and vomiting and radiating pain down the spine.
RISKS AND COMPLICATIONS
When the discs and joints of the neck degenerate and weaken, it leads to the condition of disc herniation and bulging discs. The complications of cervical spondylosis or cervical osteoarthritis are evident as mild to severe pain. Some people may develop chronic pain due to this condition. There may be serious neurologic condition due to nerve compression.
TESTS AND DIAGNOSIS
The doctor may check for tenderness, numbness and muscle weakness. You are made to move your head forward, backward and side to side to observe your sensitivity to pain in the neck region. Later, the doctor may recommend for X-rays, CT scan and MRI. Each test helps the doctor to assess a particular condition of the neck. X-rays helps to find out bone spurs and other degenerative changes. CT scan helps to produce detailed cross-sectional views of the internal structures. MRI provides detailed images of bones and soft tissues. In certain cases, the doctor may also advise on blood tests that help in finding evidence of inflammatory or infectious conditions.
TREATMENTS AND DRUGS
The common types of neck pain may last for two to three weeks. Things would set right if you can make a few changes at the work place and modify your lifestyle. However, if your neck pain persists for long, you need to consult the specialist for the right course of treatment.
The treatment for neck pain includes physical therapy, traction and short-term immobilization. Physical therapy helps to maintain the right posture, alignment and strengthens the neck muscles. The nerve root irritation is treated by traction. A soft collar helps to relieve pain by taking pressure off the neck’s structures. Surgery may be recommended to relieve the nerve root or spinal cord compression.