Our neck and back consist of small vertebrae that are stacked on top of each other to form a spinal column. Neck pain can occur due to a number of diseases and disorders and is very common. Most of us will experience it at any point in our lives. Some of the common causes are:
● Worry and stress
● Uncomfortable positioning of the neck while asleep
● Poor posture
● Strain and muscle tension
● Injury or any accident
○ It is associated with inflammation of the tissue that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. People with meningitis often have a fever and a headache, along with a stiff neck.
● Heart attack
○ Neck pain can be a symptom of disease, but it can result in other symptoms, such as sweating, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, arm, or jaw pain.
Some other rare causes include:
● A fracture
● An infection
● Inflammation—for example, in ankylosing spondylitis
The most common symptoms are:
● Pain and stiffness—this kind of pain often worsens by holding your head in one position for a long time. You might notice that your neck doesn't turn as far as it normally did before.
● Numbness or tingling—this occurs due to pressure on a nerve, which results in a tingling sensation that can be felt down your arm.
● Clicking and grating noises—this clicking noise is known as crepitus, and it can be caused due to tissues and bones moving over each other in the joint. This is more noticeable at night.
● Dizziness and blackouts—pressure on the vertebral arteries reduces the blood flow and can lead to blackouts
● Muscle spasm—this uncomfortable feeling occurs due to the sudden stiffening of a muscle or group of muscles.
Usually, neck pain isn't caused by a severe problem and should be recovered from in approximately 4 to 6 weeks. The following exercises should be performed:
● Neck turn
Turn your head towards one side, keeping the movement within comfortable limits. Tense your neck muscles and hold for 5 seconds, then repeat on the opposite side.
● Neck tilt down
Gently tilt your head down and rest your chin on your chest. Tense your neck muscles and hold for a few seconds.
● Neck tilt
Gently tilt your head down towards your shoulder. Tense your neck muscles, hold for a few seconds and then repeat on the opposite side.
● Neck stretch
Push your chin forward, tense your neck muscles for 5 seconds and hold it in position. Return your head to its typical position and repeat the exercise 5 times.
These are certain remedies for stiff necks that you can do at home to reduce the pain before going to your doctor:
● Apply heat or ice packs
Apply ice for 20 minutes to relieve neck inflammation. Taking a warm bath or using a hot water bottle may also help.
● Get a massage
Getting a massage from a trained therapist can reduce your pain.
● Take OTC medications
It involves inserting needles into specific pressure points to relieve pain. Consult your doctor if you want to go through this and visit only a certified practitioner with sterile needles.
● Consider chiropractic care
A certified chiropractor can manipulate muscles and joints to provide pain relief. Again, you should talk to your doctor first.
● Reduce stress
Stress can tense your neck muscles, so reducing it can prevent or treat neck pain. You can reduce stress in a variety of ways, like listening to music, meditation, etc.
● Adjust your sleep environment
Way to change your environment are:
● Sleep on a firmer mattress
● Sleep on your back or side
● Use a neck pillow
● Relax your body before going to bed
Usually, neck pain goes away with treatment at home. If it does not subside within a few days or if it gets worse, you should talk to your physician.