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What Are the Symptoms and Causes of Neck Pain?
Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Neck pain is a common complaint that has several causes. One important reason is poor posture. Do you lean over towards your computer screen or hunch over your table for hours? You should take good note of the posture that you normally maintain at your workstation. Another common cause is osteoarthritis.

Under certain rare conditions, neck pain can be a symptom of another serious medical problem. You should take note if neck pain occurs simultaneously with numbness or decrease in strength in your hand or arms or if you are suffering from constant pain that shoots down your arm or into your shoulder. In these cases, you will need to see a specialist.

Symptoms

Symptoms and signs of neck pain include:
  • Your pain becomes worse when you hold your head in a particular position. For example, when you are driving your car or using your computer.
  • Spasms and muscle tightness
  • Decreased head mobility; experiencing pain while doing so
  • Frequent headaches
Avoid poor postures. These often cause neck pain. Home treatments may be helpful. If this does not help, you must see a specialist.

Under all conditions, neck pain from accidents, falls and injuries, should be immediately reported to the doctor.

You should also see your doctor immediately if your neck pain is:
  • Of severe intensity
  • Continues for several days without reduction (despite use of home remedies and improvement in posture)
  • Seems to be spreading (for instance, down the legs or arms)
  • Accompanied by sensations such as tingling, weakness, numbness and headaches
Causes

The neck functions to support your head and provide it flexible mobility. Injuries and other factors can reduce motion and also cause pain. Neck pain may be caused by:

Strained Muscles

Spending hours hunched up in front of your computer and smartphone will instigate muscle pain. Other seemingly minor things can also cause this problem, such as reading in your bed or grinding the teeth.

Joints Wearing Out

As with other joints in the human body, neck joints will also wear down with increasing age. Cartilage cushions your neck bones (vertebrae). With time, the cartilage reduces and deteriorates leading to contact between bones that is painful. Bone spurs will also reduce motion of your joints and compress them, leading to pain.

Nerve Compression

Many nerves branch out from your spinal cord. These can be compressed by bone spurs in your neck vertebrae and also because of herniated discs. Pinched nerves are another source of pain.

Diseases

Neck pain can also be caused by illnesses like cancer, meningitis or rheumatoid arthritis.

Prevention

Neck pain is often caused by age-related deterioration and poor posture. You should always position your head over the centre of your spine. Use the following techniques to alleviate neck pain:
  • Proper posture. While sitting or standing, ensure that your shoulders are positioned above your hips. Your ears should be positioned over the shoulders.
  • Breaks. If you sit or drive for hours, take frequent breaks and get up to walk around and stretch carefully and gently. Provide gentle movement to your neck and shoulders.
  • Ergonomics. Your monitor should be at eye level. Place your arms over the chair armrests. Your knees should be positioned below your hips.
  • While talking on your phone, don’t tuck it between your shoulder and head. This posture will cause pain. Use speakerphone or headset instead.
  • Quit smoking cigarettes/tobacco if you do smoke. Otherwise, the likelihood of neck pain will increase.
  • Avoid heavy bags slung over your shoulder.
  • When sleeping, use a small pillow. Sleep on your back with pillows under your thighs.
To be completely safe, you should take a consultation with a specialist at the first sign of neck pain.



 
 
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