Updated: Jun 7
Have you ever wondered what your neck feels like when you wake up in the morning? If your neck and shoulders are stiff, then it is likely that this means you have neck pain. Having neck pain is never a pleasant experience, but it is one that many people have to deal with at some point in their lives. And when those nagging aches and pains force themselves upon you, the first question that pops up in your head is what you should do.
Most people think the pain in their neck is simple muscle pain. However, it is because they don't really know what the real problem is with their neck. Therefore, it's time for you to seek help from a Manhattan pain management specialist. This blog talks about this and explains that there are many common reasons you should worry about neck pain.
How Do You Know if You Have Neck Pain?
Neck pain is a common complaint. If you have neck pain, it can affect your ability to work and participate in activities you enjoy. Neck pain can also cause emotional distress or worry about the cause of your pain.
If you have neck pain, you may be able to describe it in terms of the location and intensity of your symptoms. For example, you may say that you have pain when turning your head or your neck feels stiff and sore. You may have neck pain if you experience any of the following symptoms:
• You have pain in your neck
Neck pain may be felt anywhere along your neck, but it's usually on one side. It can occur when you turn your head or bend forward, backward, or sideways. The pain can vary in intensity — sometimes mild or severe — and be sharp or dull. You may also feel pain when you move your head from one side to another. In addition, the pain may be felt in other parts of the body, such as the shoulders or upper back. The pain may be constant, or it may come and go.
• You have difficulty moving your head, or your range of motion is limited
If your neck feels stiff and sore and you can only move it in one direction, it may mean something is wrong with the bones or joints in your spine. It can make it difficult to move your head and turn it from side to side. If the pain worsens over time, you should seek medical attention right away to help prevent further damage.
• You feel tingling and numbness
If you have nerve compression in your neck, you may experience tingling, numbness, or weakness in your arms, hands, and fingers. These symptoms usually worsen at night when you're lying down and improve when you sit up straight or lie flat on your back. They also tend to occur together with neck pain rather than alone (although they can occur separately as well).
• You have difficulty sleeping or breathing
You may notice that you have difficulty sleeping because one side of your neck hurts so much that it feels like a rock under your pillow. Your airways may also be affected by tension in the muscles of your neck, chest, and shoulders so that you don't breathe as easily as usual at night.
• You have numbness or tingling sensations
These sensations are usually felt on one side of the face or body rather than both sides of the face or body at once. They can also occur along with muscle weakness on one side of the body or face.
• You have weakness in the arms and hands
People who have cervical radiculopathy (also known as "pinched nerve") often have pain that spreads down their arms into their hands, making them weak and sometimes numb at the same time as neck pain.
What is Causing Your Neck Pain?
A number of different factors, including poor posture, stress, muscle strain, and injury, can cause neck pain. If you've recently started experiencing neck pain, it's important to pinpoint the cause so that you can treat it properly.
• Muscle strain
Muscle strain is often caused by overuse or repetitive movements, such as playing sports or performing a job that requires constant bending or twisting of the neck. Muscle strains usually occur on one side of the neck only and are accompanied by tenderness over the affected muscle group; however, they can also occur on both sides at once (called bilateral).
Falling can cause damage to your neck and spine, especially if you land on your head or neck. The force of the impact can tear ligaments and bones and injure muscles, tendons, and nerves. Even a minor fall may cause a concussion or whiplash-related injury that needs medical attention.
Whiplash is a sudden, sharp movement of the head that causes pain and injury to the soft tissues in and around the spine. It occurs when the neck suddenly jerks forward and backward or sideways because of an impact on the head or body during an accident.
Arthritis usually affects people aged 60 or older, but younger people can also suffer from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis in their necks. These conditions cause inflammation and damage to the joints in your neck, which leads to pain and stiffness.
Neck injuries can occur when you fall, are in an accident, or do something else that causes your head to jerk violently. They may result from playing sports or doing other activities.
• Nerve compression
The nerves around the spinal cord can be compressed by bone spurs or other structures in the spine. This type of nerve compression is often associated with osteoarthritis and degenerative disc disease.
Nerve compression is one of the most common causes of neck pain. When nerves are compressed in the neck, they can become irritated and inflamed, which leads to pain, tingling, and numbness in the arms and hands.
If you have symptoms of nerve compression in your neck, it's important to see a health professional right away. Nerve damage can happen quickly in some cases — for example, if you have an injury that causes swelling around your spinal cord (spinal cord compression).
Inflammation resulting from an injury can cause tenderness and swell around the nerve roots where they exit the spinal canal. Inflammation is more common in people with rheumatoid arthritis or systemic lupus erythematosus.
• Poor posture
Most people sit at desks or drive cars all day without thinking about how they are sitting or driving. This leads to poor posture and puts stress on your back muscles and joints. Your shoulders may be rounded forward, and your head may be bent forward. Your chest muscles may also become tight due to poor posture, which puts extra strain on your neck muscles when you turn your head from side to side or up and down.
When Should You See a Specialist for Neck Pain?
Neck pain is a problem that many people face. However, when you feel neck pain, it can be hard to know whether it's serious enough, so it is important to know when to see a pain specialist for an evaluation and treatment plan.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to help determine if you should seek treatment for neck pain. :
• Is the pain getting worse?
• Is the pain interfering with your daily activities?
• Is the pain new, or has it been going on for a while?
• Is the pain constant or does it come and go?
• Does anything make the pain better — like heat or exercise — or worse — like cold or movement?
See a Specialist if You Think You Have Neck Pain
Since neck pain can be a symptom of many different things, it is important to see a specialist to find out exactly what is causing it. Whether it's arthritis, whiplash, or some other potential cause, you'll want to ensure you're addressing your symptoms as soon as possible. The sooner you know what's wrong, the more likely you can find a treatment for neck pain that will work for your condition.
Pain in any part of the body can be very uncomfortable and prevent you from doing many of the activities you normally would. Although pain can be distracting and interfere with your lifestyle, it does not need to be if you know how to manage it properly. Remember the signs above, and feel free to contact or visit our Manhattan pain management center if you're dealing with neck pain.