Pain in the Neck
- Posted on: Nov 15 2018
That phrase in the title of this blog sure says it all about neck pain. It is truly a “pain in the neck,” both literally and figuratively. Neck pain is a common complaint, in many people more so than back pain. This is partly because the neck muscles can become easily strained from simple behaviors such as sleeping the wrong way or leaning forward when working on your computer.
Most common neck pain takes care of itself in a few days with some rest, stretching, and a few anti-inflammatory pain relievers.
But when your neck pain continues for longer than one week, or if it is accompanied by other symptoms, then a call to the team at DFW Center for Spinal Disorders is in order.
Neck pain signs
These may seem pretty obvious, but you may not know when typical signs become something more. Neck pain generally will show at least one of these characteristics:
- Pain that worsens if you hold your head in one place for long periods, such as when driving
- Muscle tightness
- Spasms when you move your head to certain positions
- Decreased ability to move your head
When it becomes atypical neck pain, that’s when we need to hear from you:
- Is severe
- Persists for several days without any letup
- Spreads down into your arms or legs
- Is accompanied by headaches, numbness, weakness, or tingling
Treating neck pain
While most mild to moderate neck pain usually responds to home care. If the pain persists without letup for over a week, treatment may need to evolve.
Medications — We may opt for short-term prescription of stronger pain medications. We may also try muscle relaxants and trycyclic antidepressants for pain relief.
- Physical therapy— A physical therapist can teach you correct posture, give you a assortment of alignment and neck-strengthening exercise, apply heat, ice, and electrical stimulation, as well as use other measures.
- Electrical nerve stimulation— Electrodes placed on your skin near the painful areas deliver tiny electrical impulses that can relieve the pain.
- Traction— Traction uses machinery to gently stretch your neck. This can be valuable if the pain is due to nerve compression.
- Soft collar— Soft collars can help support your neck by taking pressure of the structures in the neck. But they can’t be used for long periods of time, as they can do more harm than good.
- Steroid injections— Corticosteroid injections near the impacted nerve roots, into the small facet joints in the bones of the cervical spine, or into the muscles in your neck can help relieve pain.
- Surgery— Surgery is rarely necessary for neck pain. But in some cases when vertebrae in the cervical spine have developed bone spurs due to osteoarthritis or injury, or if a disk has herniated, pressure can be placed on nerve roots exiting the spine causing chronic pain. Surgery may be necessary to relieve the compression and the pain.
Posted in: Neck Pain