Millions of people visit their doctor every year with complains of neck pain. However this is what is usually diagnosed as “cervicalgia”. Neck pain is not a condition but a symptom which can be caused by different factors.
- Non specific neck pain: the cause might include; poor posture, neck strain, sporting or occupational activities, anxiety and depression.
- Generalized musculoskeletal problems like; osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia.
- Cervical herniated disc lesions and prolapse/pinched nerve
- Cervical spondylosis/Degenerative disease
- Infection of the spine;osteomyletis
- Acute spasm; torticolis
- Non-musculoskeletal causes; respiratory, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and mengitis.
- Tight muscles
Who gets it?
All persons are at risk of getting neck pain. Therefore research has shown that nearly two thirds of the populations suffer neck pain at some point in their lives. Risk factors of neck pain include injury from involvement in contact sports, motor-vehicle accidents, poor postures or sleeping positions, psychological stress and also advance age.
What kind of pain results?
Neck pain can present in different ways, however this depends on the cause and structures involved. Commonly, neck pain is associated with dull aching localized to the neck. Hence the pain is sometimes worse with movement of the neck or turning of the head.
Therefore other symptoms that are associated with neck pain include:
- Tingling sensation
- Sharp/shooting pain
- Facial pain
- Shoulder pain
- Upper or lower back pain
Prevention: if you spend a lot of time at your desk at work or at home, you can take precautions to prevent cervicalgia. Make sure your chair supports your lower back. And also your feet should rest flat on the floor, with your knees bent at a right angle. Adjust the armrests of your chair so that your elbows and forearms rest on the chair. If your desk is too high, you may need a footrest to sit comfortably and safely.
Acute: if you just had an injury, applying ice to reduce swelling and putting a temporary cervical collar to rest your neck would help make the pain less.
Sub-Acute/Chronic: refer to a physiotherapist where by treatment should include use of cold packs, heat packs, manual therapy. Dry needling would also be able to help. Restoring muscle strength with specific exercises should facilitate recovery. Chiropractic Care would enable the misaligned area around the neck to return to normal functionality. If the two specialists feel the problem cannot be resolved with physical therapy and Chiropractic care they should be able to refer the patient to a discipline that would help.