Neck pain is a common medical condition observed in people of various age groups. Usually, neck pain is caused due to poor posture. However, in some cases, it may be caused due to an injury from a fall, whiplash, or contact sports.
The neck is responsible to provide stability and mobility to the head. It is made up of vertebrae that extend from the skull to the upper torso. There are ligaments, bones, and muscles in the neck that support the head and allow for motion. Any injury, inflammation, or abnormalities may cause stiffness or neck pain.
Moreover, some people experience pain on the left side of the neck. It is caused due to various reasons ranging from muscle strains to a pinched nerve. Normally, pain on the left or right side of the neck is due to an odd sleeping position or bad posture.
Mostly, neck pain is relieved within a few days. But sometimes, the pain might persist, which becomes a cause of concern. It may indicate an underlying medical condition or an injury and should be brought to the doctor’s attention.
Seek medical attention immediately if the neck pain lasts for more than a week.
Causes of Neck Pain
There are various causes of neck pain. Some of these causes are listed below:
When you experience an injury in sports or car accidents, it forces the ligaments and muscles of the neck to move away from their normal position. As a result, pain in the neck emerges.
Also, the sudden shaking of the head commonly called whiplash causes neck injury. In some cases, the spinal cord is damaged if the neck bones are fractured.
Strain in muscles is caused due to the activities mentioned below:
- Poor posture
- Shaking neck during exercise
- Sleeping in the wrong position
- Working on the laptop for long hours in the same position
Meningitis is a serious medical condition. It is an inflammation of the thin tissue surrounding the spinal cord and brain. People suffering from meningitis experience a fever and a headache accompanied by a stiff neck. It is advised to seek a doctor’s help immediately if you have symptoms of meningitis.
Spinal stenosis occurs when the spaces within your spine are narrowed, putting pressure on the nerves that travel through the spine. This often happens in the neck and lower back.
Spondylosis is a medical condition that occurs when the cervical discs degenerate as you age. It narrows the space between the vertebrae and adds strain to the joints.
To diagnose the cause of neck pain, doctors review the symptoms and medical history. The medical history allows experts to understand the cause of pain more clearly. Moreover, any past neck treatments or injuries are noted. Inform your doctor about any over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medications you have been taking.
The neck is observed when in motion and at rest. The positions in which the pain is relieved and aggravated are recorded. Also, the nervous system is examined to identify if there is nerve involvement or not.
Besides, to evaluate any underlying causes of the pain, the doctor may run a few tests. It may include a CT scan, MRI scan, X-ray, or bone scan.
The treatment for neck pain is based on your diagnosis. Some treatments include stretching and exercising, muscle relaxants, neck collar, pain killers, ice and heat therapy, and other such treatments. These are often considered for the neck pain that lasts for a few days.
For neck pain caused due to sleeping in the wrong position is often relieved using the right pillow. The best pillow for shoulder and neck pain is hard enough to hold the head in a healthy position. However, the pillow should be soft enough to relieve pressure points.
For neck pain that lasts for weeks, it is advised to see a chiropractor. A chiropractor is adept at relieving you of pain caused by such a medical condition. They are trained to diagnose patients through diagnostic tests and physical exams. They offer treatment plans such as neck exercises and recommendations for a healthier lifestyle.
Chiropractic treatment: For neck pain relief, chiropractors at Dr. Agha’s clinic use a neck adjustments method called cervical manipulation. It relaxes the joints of the cervical vertebrae in the neck. Consequently, it reduces the pain caused due to muscle spasms and tense nerves. Chiropractors twist the neck with their hands and bring the vertebrae back into their position.