19 Mar Neck Pain – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
Neck pain is an issue that is common amongst many people. While there are different reasons why you may be experiencing neck pain, it’s usually not a sign of anything more serious. In general, neck pain spreads from the neck towards the shoulders and the upper back. Some people may also experience associated headaches with their neck pain.
The neck is quite a complex structure which consists of tendons, muscles, bones, joints, nerves and ligaments. Your head weighs around 5 kilograms which is why it’s common for people to experience neck pain. Carrying around that kind of weight each and every day is no easy feat. The neck also has to move the head side to side and up and down, so it’s easy to see how the neck can experience pain and discomfort.
Symptoms of neck pain
Depending on the reasons why your experience in your neck pain, there will be different pains and sensations that you may be feeling. Telling your doctor about these pains and symptoms can help them to diagnose the reason why you’re experiencing the pain in the first place. Some of the symptoms you may be experiencing include:
You may feel hard knots (trigger points) that are sore and tender to touch around your neck. The pain may be felt around the middle of the back of the neck or it may be on only one side.
If it is painful or difficult to move your neck, this may be caused to neck stiffness. If you’re spending a lot of time in the one position, your neck muscle will feel tight and the lack of movement can make this feeling worse.
Headaches are commonly associated with neck pains. You may find that the headache is more of a dull, aching type and they’re often felt at the back of the head. However, the pain from the headache may also radiate to the front of the head, as well as the sides.
Some people may experience muscle spasms with their neck pain. It can be a painful, stiff and knotted feeling in your muscles, as well as an involuntary contraction of the muscles. You may also know this as a ‘crick in the neck’.
Reduced range of motion
If you find that you can’t move your neck a certain way, you cannot tilt your head back very far or you cannot move your head the same amount on one side compared to the other side, this could be a reduced range of motion.
What causes neck pain?
There are a number of different reasons why you may be experiencing neck pain and they include:
Whether it’s poor neck positioning throughout your daily activities or overuse of your neck muscles, this can trigger muscle strain in your neck. This causes chronic stiffness and neck pain as well as headaches and the restriction of movement. Those who work at a computer often find they experience muscle strain causing pain.
A common cause of whiplash is a car accident where a person in a car is hit from behind whilst slowing down or stopped. When the car is hit, your head is first moved backwards and then thrust forward after the body stops moving. This strains the neck muscles and can cause ligaments to stretch or tear. Whiplash pain doesn’t always have to happen immediately after an incident. It can take a few days to start and is often accompanied by stiffness, muscle spasms, headaches, dizziness, neck pain and even shoulder pain.
Other causes of neck pain include poor posture, sleeping in an awkward position, wear and tear of the bones in the neck (as a part of the normal aging process), arthritis and also prolonged use of a laptop or desktop computer.
How do I treat neck pain?
Treatment of your neck pain depends on the cause of the pain in the first place. Depending on the cause of the pain, moving your neck and exercising it can be what is needed to help heal your neck pain. Total rest is generally not recommended for neck pain as reducing movement in the neck can increase the pain. Try to continue with your normal activities as much as possible, however, try to avoid quick movements and activities that you may think may have caused the pain.
Cold packs can help reduce swelling and inflammation after an injury to your neck and you may have benefits in the short term. Heat packs are great for relaxing stiff or tense muscles, but make sure any swelling has been reduced and wait for a day or two after an injury.
Remedial massage and myotherapy is also an alternative treatment method for neck pain. Of course, if you find that the pain is getting worse, the pain doesn’t cease after a week or more and you have other symptoms such as numbness, pins and needles or tingling in the arms or legs, it’s always best to seek the advice from a medical practitioner.
If you’re looking for an experienced myotherapist to help with your neck pain, get in touch with the team at Unwind Myotherapy in North Balwyn today. We can assess your neck pain and ensure that myotherapy is the best treatment option for you.