Updated: Jun 8
You wake up with a stiff neck — no big deal, you think — it'll loosen up. But it doesn't. Your neck hurts when you sit at your desk, and you can barely turn your head to the right all afternoon. What is happening?
Many people suffer from body aches and pains but do not pay much notice to them. They tend to ignore the pain until they become a big problem. If the symptoms are mild now, it's likely that they'll get worse with time if you don't do something about them.
The neck is the part of the body that connects the head to the body. It has several layers of muscles, and it acts as a flexible unit. If you are suffering from chronic pain in your neck and feel like something is always wrong with it, you are not alone.
This article will focus on how to know if your neck is in trouble, as well as help you seek medical attention in a pain management NYC clinic to fix or prevent this problem from worsening.
Your Neck is Stiff
An injury or strain, such as whiplash from an auto accident or sports injury, may cause stiffness in your neck. But more often, it's caused by problems with the joints, muscles, and bones in your neck.
An injury to the ligaments that support your neck bones can happen after you've strained them by bending forward suddenly or lifting something heavy with your head and shoulders in the same movement.
When these ligaments are stretched or torn, they can leave you with pain and stiffness in your neck for several weeks to months. And if left untreated — especially if it's a serious problem such as broken bones or nerve damage, this can lead to permanent problems with movement and feeling in the affected area.
If your neck pain doesn't improve after a few weeks or becomes worse, you should consult a health professional immediately. There could be serious underlying causes, such as a pinched nerve or infection that requires immediate treatment.
Feeling Pain and Discomfort
The neck is a complex area of the body and contains many different structures, including nerves, muscles, and joints. These structures can become injured or inflamed due to trauma, overuse, or arthritis. Neck pain can also be caused by poor posture and stress.
The most common sign of neck pain is usually a nagging sensation in the area. The pain can radiate down your arms and across your chest. It's possible to have neck pain without any other symptoms, so it's important to remember that you can't always rely on the presence of other symptoms to tell you if something is wrong.
The severity of the pain will vary depending on where it's located and how intense it is. Some people feel it only when they bend their head forward or touch their chin to their chest, while others feel it all over their body.
If you're experiencing severe neck pain or discomfort, don't wait until it gets worse before seeking medical attention — this could lead to permanent damage.
The Pain Gets Worse at Night
If you've always had a stiff neck, it's probably no big deal. But if you've never had problems with your neck before and now find yourself waking up in the middle of the night unable to move your head because of pain, that's a real problem.
This may be due to compression of the nerves running through the neck as you sleep. It can also signal an inflammatory condition such as arthritis or an infection in the joint.
You Have Difficulty Moving Your Head
In most cases, neck problems are caused by a combination of age, weight, and genetics. However, you may also be at risk if you do repetitive movements with your head or neck, such as driving a long distance, sitting at a computer for long periods, or reading in bed.
Many people with neck pain have limited mobility and difficulty moving their heads. You might feel it in the morning when you wake up or during the day while you're sitting at work. It can also happen when you first get up after sleeping on your side or back.
If you suspect a problem with your neck, see a pain doctor right away. They will ask you questions about your symptoms and medical history to rule out other conditions before making any decisions about treatment options.
You Have Numbness, Tingling, or Weakness in Your Arms or Hands
Numbness or tingling in your arms or hands can be a sign of nerve compression in your neck — which may be caused by arthritis or other conditions that cause inflammation around the nerves in your spine.
If this happens, talk to a pain specialist about ways to relieve your symptoms so you can continue enjoying life without worrying about having an accident because of numbness affecting your ability to drive safely or operate heavy machinery.
Your Pain Gets Worse Over Time
If your pain is worsening over time and not responding to rest or medications, this could be cause for concern, and you should talk to your doctor about it immediately.
Neck pain usually gets better within a few days, but sometimes it can linger for months or even longer. But if the pain isn't getting any better after a few days, that's a bad sign — especially if it's getting worse instead of better. Pain that increases over time can indicate something more serious such as a pinched nerve or degenerative disc disease.
You Don't Have to Live with Neck Pain
Neck pain is a common problem, especially among people who spend a lot of time sitting at their desks. The neck muscles are prone to strain and spasms and can lead to pain in the back of the head, neck, shoulder, upper arm, and hand.
The good news is that there are many different treatment options available for neck pain that can help you recover from your pain and live a more productive and comfortable life. The treatment method depends on the severity of your symptoms.
One of the most effective treatments for neck pain is physical therapy. Physical therapists are trained to diagnose and treat musculoskeletal disorders such as neck pain through manual therapy techniques such as massage, stretching, and exercise to relieve muscle tightness and encourage proper alignment of joints in the neck area so you can perform daily activities with greater ease.
Physical therapists will assess your condition to determine what type of treatment will work best for you based on your specific symptoms and limitations so that you can get back to doing the things you love most.
Pay Attention to What Your Body is Telling You
Whatever you decide to do, it's important that you take care of your neck pain. Unfortunately, many people ignore their bodies when they're in pain. However, ignoring your neck pain can lead to further injuries and discomfort. Therefore, it's important to be proactive so that you don't develop any serious neck-related issues.
If you experience any of the signs mentioned above, be sure to see a pain management NYC specialist. Prevent these problems from continuing without treatment because they can do a lot of damage and cause a great deal of pain. So if you feel pain or stiffness in the neck, get it checked out as soon as possible.