How common is neck pain?
Neck pain is common and can be caused from poor posture – whether it is leaning over your computer or hunching over the workbench at work or in the garage. Osteoarthritis is also known as a common cause of neck pain.
Symptoms of neck pain include a headache, decreased ability to move your head, muscle tightness and spasms, and pain that worsens when you hold your head in one place for long periods of time, like when driving or while working at the computer.
Can neck pain heal on its own?
Neck pain caused by muscle strain or tension normally goes away on its own within a few days and normally requires common treatment options at most. If your pain continues, then you should see your doctor or a chiropractor – both of whom may offer a treatment plan.
What are the causes of neck pain?
Your neck is flexible and supports the weight of your head. This is why it is important to keep in mind that it can be vulnerable to injuries and conditions that cause pain and restrict motion.
Here are some causes of neck pain:
- Muscle strains: Overuse, such as too many hours hunched over a computer, a smartphone, or a gaming device. Even minor things, like gritting your teeth or reading a book in bed, can lead to muscle strain.
- Worn joints: Your neck joints tend to wear down as you get older, and osteoarthritis causes the cartilage between your vertebrae to deteriorate, causing the body to form bone spurs that affect joint motion and cause pain.
- Nerve compression: Bone spurs or herniated disks in the vertebrae of your neck may press on the nerves branching out from the spinal cord.
- Injuries: A whiplash injury, for example, from getting rear-ended in an auto collision happens when the head is jerked backward and then forward, causing strain in the soft tissues of the neck.
- Diseases: Some diseases, like meningitis, rheumatoid arthritis, or cancer may cause neck pain.
How do I know if my neck pain is really serious?
Neck pain is rarely a symptom of a more serious problem, however, you should seek medical care if your pain is accompanied by numbness or loss of strength in your hands or arms, and if you have shooting pain in your shoulder that is felt down the arm.
Here are some key takeaways to prevent neck pain.
Most neck pain is associated with age related wear and tear and poor posture, so to help prevent it, make some small changes in your daily routine to help stay pain-free:
- Use good posture when standing or sitting.
- Take breaks – get off the computer and go for a walk.
- Adjust your chair, desk and computer so that you view the monitor at eye level with your knees slightly lower than hips and use the armrests for stability and comfort.
- Don’t tuck the phone between the ear and shoulder – use a headset or speakerphone instead.
- Quit cigarettes as they put you at a much higher risk of developing neck pain.
- Sleep in a good position with your neck aligned with your body.
- Avoid carrying heavy bags with straps over your shoulder as this can cause strain in your neck.
You should always see a doctor when you have severe neck pain from an injury, like a sports injury, diving accident, a fall, or motor vehicle accident. You should also contact a doctor if your neck pain is severe, last several days without relief, spreads down the arms or legs, or is accompanied by headache, weakness, tingling, or numbness.
Always exercise your neck, apply ice on it if it hurts, and if you experience pain, then consider meeting with a chiropractor for an assessment. They might recommend a course of treatment that may involve joint mobilization, muscle release techniques, therapeutic exercises, muscle stimulation, and lifestyle advice. Most people respond well to various treatments and soon are able to get back into their regular activities faster than waiting it out. We serve patients from Wilmington DE, Claymont DE, New Castle DE, Greenville DE, Centerville DE, Elsmere DE, Hockessin DE, Chadds Ford PA, Garnet Valley PA and Kennett Square PA.