Anatomy of The Neck
Our neck and back are made up of small bones which are known as Vertebrae, these vertebrae are arranged on top of each other to form the Spinal column. This Spinal column supports our Spinal cord and also protects our vertebrae. Cervical Vertebrae are the top 7 seven bones in the spinal column. These joints allow our neck to move in any direction. Between the vertebrae, discs of cartilage are found which give the spine its flexibility and also act as shock absorbers. When one of these discs slips slightly out of its natural position in the spine, it is termed as a slipped disc.
Pain in the neck is a very common medical condition which can occur due to many causes, involving the tissues of our neck. Neck pain is also called as cervical pain. Examples of some common conditions causing neck pain can be – Degenerative disc disease, Herniated disc, Neck injury, Whiplash, Neck strain, cervical spondylosis, Osteoarthritis. Neck pain can also arise from some common viral infections of the throat such as – Tuberculosis of the neck, Osteomyelitis, Meningitis. It can also arise from the conditions which directly affect the muscles of our neck such as – Fibromyalgia and Polymyalgia rheumatica.
Risk Factors For Neck Pain
Various risk factors for neck pain include
- Motor-vehicle accident
- Injury from involvement in contact sports
- Bull or bronco horse riding
Causes Of Neck Pain
Neck pain is a very common problem and everybody might have felt it during their lifetime. It can arise due to a variety of causes. Some causes of neck pain can be as follows-
- Sleeping awkwardly
- Any tension or stress
- Holding the neck in the same direction for a long period of time
- Any accident causing Whiplash
- Any sprain or Strain
- Cervical Spondylosis
- A Minor twisting injury like during Gardening
- Degenerative disc disease, Herniated disc, Neck injury, Whiplash, Neck strain, cervical spondylosis, Osteoarthritis.
- Viral infections of the throat – Tuberculosis of neck, Osteomyelitis, Meningitis.
- Conditions which directly affect the muscles of our neck – Fibromyalgia and Polymyalgia rheumatica
Symptoms Of Neck Pain
Symptoms of neck pain are as follows
- Pain in neck
- Stiff neck
- Pain in throat
- Pain in muscles
- Tingling in the arms
- The weakness of the arms
Other Symptoms Associated With Neck Pain
Along with above-mentioned symptoms, other symptoms can also be associated. They can be –
- Lymph Node (Gland) Swelling
- Sharp Shooting Pain
- Range-Of-Motion Difficulties
- Swishing Sounds In The Head
- Difficulty Swallowing,
- Facial pain
- Lower back pain
- Shoulder pain
When To See A Doctor
When your neck pain lasts for more than a few days then you need to talk to your physician about your symptoms which include
- If you have symptoms other than pain and stiffness along with difficulty lifting both arms above head.
- If you have sudden severe pain after an injury or a fall
- If you have pain, numbness or weakness in your arms or legs and tingling sensation.
Diagnosis Of Neck Pain
First of all the proper history of the patient is taken regarding his symptoms which includes the duration, location, intensity and radiation of pain, any aggravating or relieving factor associated with pain, tenderness of neck is also evaluated during palpation of neck, any past injury to neck and what treatment was taken at that time. Neck examination is done during both at rest and in motion. Muscle examination is also done to check whether any muscle is involved or not. The further examination includes- Blood tests, X-Ray, CT Scan, MRI scan, Bone scan, Myelogram, Electromyography, Nerve Conduction Velocity Test (NCV).
How To Prevent Neck Pain
Prevent your neck from any injury. If you are a sports person then you can use special equipment to prevent the neck injury like neck bracing, Neck Strengthening exercises can also be done.
Treatment Of Neck Pain
First of all the cause of the underlying disease should be known by diagnosing that whether it is occurring due to any medical condition or some other factors are associated with it. So after finding out the cause the proper treatment is started which can be some home remedies as well as some conservative methods. Treatment of neck pain involves –
- Physical therapy (Ultrasound, Massage, Manipulation)
- Ice, heat or Cold application
- Soft collar traction
- Muscle relaxants
- Anti-inflammatory drugs
- Pain relief patches
- Topical anesthetic creams
- Local injection of anesthetic or cortisone
- Surgical procedures
- Self- care measures like – Jacuzzi treatment, hot pads, neck pillows for sleep, neck pain relief exercises and stretches.
- Alternative treatment like – Acupuncture.
Prognosis For Neck Pain
Prognosis depends upon the cause of neck pain. If the cause is known then it can be resolved easily by using certain Conservative measures like – Rest, Gradual rehabilitation, By avoiding any injury to the neck.
In most of the cases, people experience neck pain because of poor posture and muscle strain. In these cases, if you will practice good posture and rest your neck muscles then it will resolve the problem. You should make an appointment with your doctor if your neck pain is not improving with home treatments.
Dr. Vikram Chauhan (MD-Ayurvedic Medicine) is an Expert Ayurveda Consultant in Chandigarh (India). He has vast experience of herbs and their applied uses. He has successfully treated numerous patients suffering from various ailments, throughout the world. He is CEO and Founder of Krishna Herbal Company and Planet Ayurveda in Chandigarh, India. He researched age old formulas from ancient Ayurvedic text books to restore health and save human beings from the worst side-effects of chemical-based treatments.