Neck pain (in the cervical spine) is less common than any sort of back pain (upper or lower back in the lumbar spine). Trauma around the neck area is usually the common cause of neck pain. Neck can be injured by direct blows to the neck or shoulder region, or by gradual strains such as sudden movements or overuse.
Majority series of neck pain generally gets better with time and can be treated with nonsurgical methods. However, there are a few symptoms that indicate immediate medical attention.
Many episodes of neck pain have no identifiable anatomical cause. Certain types of neck pain and arm pain can be linked to a general cause, such as muscle strain or a diagnosable condition such as cervical herniated disc or cervical stenosis. There are various types of neck pain that you should be aware of:
Acute neck pain:
Due to muscle strain or other soft tissue sprain (of your neck muscles; ligaments or tendons) you may be tormented with acute neck pain. Sudden force resulting from car accident or from straining the neck (having a stiff neck) from sleeping in the wrong position or carrying something heavy inappropriately.
With a good supply of the necessary nutrients and proteins, most minor injuries to the soft tissues, such as ligaments, tendons and muscles in the neck usually heal with time. Nonsurgical care such as ice or heat medications, physical therapy, osteopathic manipulations can help attenuate neck pain while it is healing. Immobilize your neck for acute injury.
Neck pain that radiates down the arm:
Neck pain that radiates down the arm, and possibly into hands and fingers, is frequently caused by a cervical herniated disc or foraminal stenosis pinching a nerve in the neck. Pain may be accompanied by numbness or tingling in the arms and / or hands.
Commonly, the symptoms are temporary and can be treated successfully nonsurgically with proper care, such as through physical therapy, manipulation or medication.
Neck pain that is related to certain activities or positions:
Neck pain that develops slowly over a number of years tends to occur during or after certain activities or neck positions, frequently caused by cervical foraminal stenosis.
Such kind of cervical stenosis is caused by aging related changes in the joints of the neck (facet joints) or at the margins of the discs. These changes can be diagnosed either by an MRI scan or a CT scan with a myelogram.
Treatment for stenosis, as with a herniated disc is medical care, which includes therapy exercise, medication, etc.
Fluctuating neck pain that may persist for more than a few months:
Certain activities or positions may worsen neck pain that is often characterized by a low level of chronic pain that sometimes flickers. This may be accompanied by arm pain and may indicate symptomatic cervical disc degeneration.
Cervical disc degeneration is pervasive in humans, however symptoms are less common and often short-lived. Symptoms are often proportional to the person's activity; the more the shoulders, arms and neck are used, the more they hurt.
Maintaining good strength and conditioning program for your neck, you may be able to prevent neck related problems. However, you should seek professional help if your neck pain becomes too persistent and keeps emerging occasionally. Visiting a physiotherapist on a regular basis helps you understand your body and stay fit.