Updated: Jun 2
Many people experience neck pain from time to time. In fact, neck pain is one of the most common conditions we treat here at All of Pain Manhattan pain management center. But what do you know about that pain in the neck?
Neck pain can occur just about anywhere in the neck area. There are many different causes of neck pain, and each cause has its own set of treatment options.
The goal of this blog is to provide you with information on what you should know about neck pain and help you become more educated on the various treatment methods for you to consider. Here are some things you may not know about neck pain:
Neck Pain is Common
If you have neck pain, you're not alone. There are numerous people who have been living with this problem for years and are surprised by just how serious the issue is. Millions of Americans are affected by neck pain each year, and more than thirty percent of them are unable to work due to the pain.
Neck Pain Can Affect Anyone
Anyone can develop neck pain at any time — young or old. But some people are more likely than others to develop it.
People who work and use computers for long periods of time are more likely to experience neck pain because they're constantly looking down at their monitors.
People with pre-existing health conditions such as arthritis or fibromyalgia are more likely to experience neck pain than those without these conditions.
People who engage in sports such as tennis, golf, or baseball may develop neck pain due to repetitive stress on their joints over time.
There are Many Different Causes of Neck Pain
Many people suffer from neck pain. Whether it's a result of an injury or regular wear and tear, neck pain can be an extremely frustrating condition to deal with.
The most common cause of neck pain is muscle strain or sprain from overuse or repetitive motion (such as from working at a computer). Other causes include arthritis, pinched nerves, and herniated discs within your spine (which can cause compression on your spinal cord).
The causes of neck pain can vary greatly, and there are many different factors that may contribute to your condition. Therefore, it's important to understand the extent of your condition so you can get the proper treatment.
There are several different causes of neck pain, including:
Poor posture. Poor posture can cause neck pain by putting pressure on nerves and muscles in your neck, hampering their ability to function properly and causing pain as a result.
Trauma or injury. Any type of trauma — either direct or indirect — is one of the most common causes of neck pain. A fall or other injury to the head or upper back can cause damage to your cervical spine, resulting in inflammation and swelling that leads to pain. The more severe the trauma was, the greater the likelihood that you'd experience symptoms months or years later.
Wear and tear. Over time, repetitive motions can cause stress on your cervical spine, which can lead to degenerative arthritis (also known as osteoarthritis). This occurs when the cartilage that cushions your joints wears down over time due to age or repeated use — even if it doesn't cause immediate symptoms. The result is inflammation and swelling that can lead to chronic pain over time if left untreated.
Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). Fibromyalgia syndrome causes widespread muscle pain all over your body. FMS is thought to be caused by abnormalities in brain chemicals called neurotransmitters that send messages between your brain and muscles, telling them when to tense up or relax. Some people with fibromyalgia also experience fatigue, sleep problems, and depression, as well as joint stiffness from time to time.
If you have pain in your neck, it's important to know there are many treatment options available to help reduce pain or even eliminate the problem. The first step is recognizing what has caused your neck pain so you can rule out any serious causes and receive proper treatment.
If your symptoms are persistent or severe and you have trouble sleeping at night or performing daily activities, see a medical professional as soon as possible for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
Neck Pain Can Present Itself in Different Ways
The most common signs include weakness or numbness in the hands, radiating pain throughout the arms and shoulders, as well as severe headaches. In addition, some people suffer from aching muscles, while others have terrible spasms that usually radiate down their arms or legs alongside their necks.
Numbness and tingling are common symptoms of nerve compression in the neck. Nerves carry information from various parts of your body to your brain, so if they become compressed or pinched, they can cause numbness or tingling in different parts of your body. The most common cause of nerve compression is osteophytes (bone spurs), but other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and degenerative disc disease can also cause this type of pain.
The following signs and symptoms may indicate that you need medical attention:
Pain on both sides of the neck
Pain that radiates down the arms or into the shoulders
Neck pain that wakes you up at night
Neck pain with arm numbness or tingling
Neck pain that occurs after a fall or accident
Pain with breathing or swallowing
Neck pain accompanied by other symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, or vomiting
Neck pain that gets worse with movement
Chronic Neck Pain Can Cause Significant Disability
Chronic neck pain is a problem that causes significant disability, but there is no clear definition of what constitutes chronic neck pain. In general, it is considered chronic if your neck pain has lasted more than three months and has not improved with time.
Suppose you have had persistent neck pain for at least three months with no relief from self-care treatments. In that case, you should consider seeing a pain management specialist to determine the cause of your pain and get an appropriate treatment plan based on what they find out from their evaluation. In addition, it may be helpful to keep a diary of your condition so that you can share them with your healthcare provider when discussing treatment options.
It Takes Time for Neck Pain to Heal
Even if your neck hurts now and you are getting treatment, it may take weeks before it feels better. Other treatments, such as physical therapy and medical massage, may help speed up the healing process.
There are Non-Invasive Treatment Options for Neck Pain
Non-invasive treatments are often recommended first because they're safe and effective. In addition, some of these treatments may be able to help you avoid surgery altogether. In most cases, non-invasive treatment options may work right away to reduce symptoms and improve function.
Physical therapy is often used to treat neck pain. In this type of treatment, you'll work with a physical therapist who will teach you exercises that can help strengthen your neck and back muscles. You may also learn how to perform stretching and strengthening exercises at home. In some cases, steroid injections are used along with physical therapy to speed up healing time after an injury.
Medical massage may provide relief from neck pain by increasing blood flow to the affected area. Massage also helps heal injuries and improves the range of motion in the neck and shoulders.
One of the most effective treatments for neck pain is chiropractic care. Chiropractors specialize in diagnosing and treating disorders of the musculoskeletal system, which includes muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons, and nerves. In addition, by analyzing posture and movement patterns, chiropractors can help patients manage their pain naturally by restoring proper alignment and function of the joints in their spine.
If you have chronic neck pain that isn't responding to exercise and other treatments, your doctor may recommend injections into your spine or surrounding areas. These injections can relieve nerve irritation that causes pain. They may also help relieve muscle spasms. Corticosteroid injections can provide relief from inflammation caused by arthritis or injuries to joints.
Neck Pain Can Be Treated Without Medication
You might be able to get by without any medications at all, but if you're in pain and it's interfering with your ability to do everyday activities, talk to a pain specialist about what option might work best for you.
For example, doing regular exercise and keeping fit may help you reduce the risk of neck pain. Exercise helps strengthen your neck muscles and improve posture, which reduces the risk of injury. It also reduces stress levels and improves sleep quality, both of which are important for good health.
A Pain Specialist Can Help You Find The Right Treatment
It's best to see a pain management specialist who can provide more comprehensive care. There are many treatment options available, and a pain specialist can help you determine the best treatment based on your individual needs.
Neck pain doesn't just impact your ability to look good. It can also impact your ability to move and function. That's why it's important to get an evaluation for neck pain to diagnose and treat the underlying cause.
Neck pain can be addressed through a multidisciplinary approach, and evidence-based treatments are available. And with proper care, most people with neck pain can experience significant improvement and get back to enjoying their daily activities.
If you have questions about neck pain or need help getting started with treatment, please feel free to contact our Manhattan pain management center at 646-725-4600. We would be happy to answer your questions or provide more information on the types of treatments available to you.