Neck pain is a condition caused by a variety of factors. In fact, it’s quite common and triggered by a variety of reasons. Neck pain is a devastating and important problem in our society, affecting up to 50% of adults in any given year. Worse, between 50-85% of people with neck pain will continue to experience pain that will develop into chronic neck pain.
What causes neck pain?
Causes may be poor posture, muscle strain, texting, working at a desk, arthritis, disc degeneration, pinched nerves, whiplash, and so many more. Depending on the cause of neck pain, there are a variety of treatment options available from home remedies, to pain management in-office treatment, to surgery. No one wants to opt for surgery as a first course of action, and that generally should not be the first consideration.
Let’s take a look at neck pain symptoms.
Neck pain can vary in intensity and may be sharp, dull, or throbbing. It can also be accompanied by stiffness, tenderness, and radiating pain. Acute (short-term) neck pain often results from injury or overuse, while chronic (long-term) neck pain is typically the result of posture, degenerative disease, or muscle tension. While most neck pain is not serious, some causes of neck pain, such as cervical spondylosis (degeneration of the vertebrae), can lead to serious complications. Chronic pain requires the attention of a pain management specialist.
Pain from the neck can result from a number of different causes, ranging from poor posture to degenerative conditions. In most cases, neck pain is temporary and not a serious condition. It is a common affliction among young adults who spend a lot of time looking at their phones. The forward-bent posture that is required to text puts a lot of strain on the neck and upper back, leading to muscle tension, headaches, and other forms of pain. In addition, texting can also lead to neck arthritis over time.
Fortunately, neck pain may be effectively managed with a combination of over-the-counter medications and home remedies. Home remedies may consist of:
- Hot or cold packs
- Avoid long texting sessions
- Raising laptop on desk to align properly with eyes
- Posture chair
- Take frequent breaks from your work desk
Many people are able to find relief through lifestyle changes such as improving their posture and using ergonomic furniture. If neck pain does not improve after a few days of home treatment, it may be time to see a doctor for further evaluation. With so many possible causes of neck pain, it is always best to err on the side of caution and seek medical attention when necessary.
Sometimes neck pain may be a symptom of a more serious underlying condition, such as a herniated disc or spinal stenosis. If neck pain is accompanied by symptoms such as numbness, weakness, or difficulty swallowing/breathing, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. A pain management physician can perform diagnostic tests to determine the cause of the neck pain and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.
For chronic neck pain, a more comprehensive approach is often necessary.
This may include physical therapy, exercises to improve posture, strengthening neck muscles, bracing, and/or injections. Other options may include SCS (spinal cord stimulation), RFA (radiofrequency ablation), or PRP (platelet rich plasma).
In severe cases after other non-surgical treatments are exhausted, surgery may be an option to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerves. Anyone who is experiencing neck pain should consult a medical professional to determine the cause and appropriate course of treatment. At BPWC, we are experts in treating neck pain.
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