Have you ever slept in an uncomfortable position and then struggled to tie your shoes because of a stiff neck? Have you ever spent an entire day hunched over a desk before realizing how much strain it puts on your neck? If so, chances are you stretched, took some medication, and thought the stiffness would subside as soon as possible.
Apart from bad posture and sleeping habits, there are numerous other reasons why neck pain occurs. Neck discomfort can be brought on by trauma, persistent illnesses, and even injuries. Therefore, you should visit a doctor as soon as you can if you don’t know what’s causing your neck pain or think it could be a major injury or long-term condition.
If you don’t receive medical help, the problem will likely not improve and could even worsen. Continue reading to find out if you should visit the doctor or just relax and apply an ice pack to your painful neck.
Tech (or text) neck is a collective term for the neck pain and stiffness brought on by continually staring down at phones or other electronic gadgets.
An average person’s head weighs around 10 to 12 pounds, and gazing down can put 50 to 60 pounds of strain on the neck. Neck discomfort may result from this excessive pressure, particularly if it is applied for a long period of time.
Stress or Tension Headaches
Neck pain can also result from headaches. These specific headaches are frequently caused by prolonged muscular strain or excessive emotional stress.
Sprained and Strained Muscles
Another typical cause of neck soreness is a strained or sprained neck muscle. Sports-related injuries, uncomfortable sleeping or sitting habits, lifting heavy things, or even abrupt movements that put too much stress on the neck muscles can all cause these strains.
As the name suggests, whiplash is a condition that develops when your head shakes abruptly back and forth or from side to side. This motion strains the neck’s muscles, vertebrae, ligaments, and nerves, which can occasionally cause stiffness and pain in the neck. Any instance of the neck being violently “whipped” about can cause whiplash, but car accidents are the most prevalent cause. Sports that involve contact, like football, can cause it too.
Due to the size of their heads, the rest of their bodies, and the fragility of their necks, infants, and children have a considerably greater chance of sustaining serious whiplash injuries. They are susceptible to whiplash from excessive shaking because of this vulnerability. Adults often recover from whiplash with time and gentle care, but newborns and toddlers who sustain a brain injury or persistent nerve damage may endure developmental delays. Adults who suffer from whiplash but do not seek treatment risk losing sensation and mobility.
Adults who have a serious injury that could have resulted in whiplash should go to the doctor to ensure the whiplash isn’t too serious and to check for any additional injuries. Infant whiplash patients require immediate medical treatment because of the delicate structure of their bodies.
Even though you might not give it much consideration, your joints are made up of more than just one hinge. The bones in your joints are shielded by cartilage, an extremely tough tissue. This cartilage protects the points where two or more bones connect, keeping the bones from rubbing against one another and breaking.
Osteoarthritis is a chronic illness that primarily affects people in their middle to late years. Friction between the bones occurs when joints move because the cartilage between them wears down over time, becoming thin and worn. Synovial membrane inflammation is another symptom of osteoarthritis. Normal joint mobility is made possible by these membranes, but when inflamed, they become hot, swollen, and painful.
Osteoarthritis symptoms include joint inflammation, pain, stiffness, and edema. The neck, knees, and elbows are all possible targets. This condition worsens with time due to the constant friction of moving joints. Anti-inflammatory medicines and physical therapy may be used on occasion throughout treatment, which is generally tailored to the patient’s medical needs and history.
The most common reason for musculoskeletal pain in Americans is fibromyalgia. Although the exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, the symptoms can be brought on by a physically or psychologically distressing incident, or they might develop gradually without a clear explanation.
Chronic, widespread muscular pain, sleep issues, cognitive issues, exhaustion, and discomfort in specific body areas, particularly the neck, are all symptoms of this illness. Patients with fibromyalgia experience different symptoms, and some symptoms may go unnoticed for a long time. Fibromyalgia should be addressed as soon as possible since, if untreated, it can lead to serious emotional stress. While there is presently no recognized treatment for fibromyalgia, you can control your symptoms with several drugs, including painkillers and antidepressants.
Your ability to sense bodily sensations like warmth, touch, and pressure is a function of your nerves. Pain that comes on suddenly and seems to have no explanation might be brought on by a nerve being squeezed between bones or other tissues. A slipped disc in the spine, spinal compression, or the aging of cartilage can all cause pinched nerves in the neck.
A tumor is an abnormal mass of tissue brought on by uncontrollable cell proliferation. There are two categories of tumors: benign and malignant.
A benign tumor is safe until it grows too large or starts to affect other vital systems. It may keep growing, but it doesn’t extend to the tissue around it.
A malignant tumor, on the other hand, will infiltrate surrounding tissues and can occasionally spread throughout the body via the bloodstream or lymph nodes. If left untreated, malignant tumors are frequently cancerous and lethal.
Tumors in the brain and spine can also result in stiffness or soreness in the neck. The two types of spine tumors that cause pain are primary and secondary. Primary spinal tumors frequently have benign origins in the spine. Secondary tumors that have progressed to the spine start in other regions of the body. These growths are malignant.
A specialist must handle the treatment of tumors, particularly malignant ones. If you see a bump in your neck, see a doctor right away to find out whether it’s a benign or malignant tumor.
Because there are so many different neck pain causes and symptoms that can appear in so many different ways, a variety of neck pain treatment options are available. It’s critical to determine the root cause of your neck pain and all related symptoms. A comprehensive assessment is required to determine the best course of action because you can be dealing with many causes simultaneously.
Once a diagnosis has been made, your doctor will carefully review each available treatment option and go over them with you. Then, together, you’ll design a therapy program that suits your needs and way of life while also speeding up your recovery.