What You Need to Know about Neck Pain
Updated: Sep 14
Maybe the muscles in your neck go into excruciating spasms for seemingly no reason at all.
Well if so, you are not alone.
In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, over 15% of all American adults will experience some form of neck pain within a three-month period.
Since this painful experience is likely to strike at some point in your life, it is important to have a basic understanding of what neck pain is, what causes it, and which treatment options are available.
What is Neck Pain?
Neck pain is pain that can occur anywhere in your neck. It can span from the bottom of your head to the tops of your shoulders. It can also reach your upper back and arms if serious enough.
Luckily, most bouts of neck pain are not due to a serious disease or injury. For example, most cases can be traced back to a minor sprain or poor posture. However, some neck pain can have longer lasting effects on your health.
Before we discuss what causes neck pain and how to treat it, let’s first look at the anatomy of the neck.
Understanding the Neck
Vertebrae, muscles, and ligaments make up the back of your neck and extend all the way down your spine. More specifically though, your cervical spine starts at the base of your skull and includes the first seven vertebrae (or bones).
The first two vertebrae attach your spine to your skull and allow your head to turn from side to side.
The other five vertebrae follow the length of your spine and add extra support for holding your head up and keeping your posture straight.
In between each vertebrae is a disc. Each disc has a fibrous outer layer and a soft gel inner layer. Acting like spongy shock absorbers, these discs are what give your spine the flexibility to move around freely.
So What Causes Neck Pain?
Most neck pain, as mentioned above, is due to activities that strain the neck. For example, slouching at your desk, continuously looking up at something for a long period of time, or sleeping with a twisted neck all have the potential to irritate the muscles in your neck. As a result, you may experience a strain, sprain, or a muscle spasm in your neck muscles.
Other common causes of neck pain include:
Commonly occurring during an automobile crash, whiplash is a severe jolt to the head and neck resulting in extreme pain and stiffness. When your head rocks forcibly forwards and backward, some of the neck muscles and ligaments stretch further than they are supposed to.
Typically, those in vehicles that are rear-ended suffer from some form of whiplash. However, a hit from the side can also force the head to whip to the side and sprain the neck muscles.
Pain and stiffness in the neck
Difficulty bending or turning the neck
Pain in the shoulders or upper arms
Dizziness or blurred vision
Jaw pain and difficulty swallowing
Fatigue and irritableness
Your Baltimore pain relief center will be able to diagnose a whiplash injury using the information from your accident, the symptoms you are experiencing, and the results from a physical examination.
Sudden-Onset (Acute) Torticollis
Otherwise known as “wry neck”, this condition occurs when the head twists to the side and has difficulty going back to a straightened position.
The cause of “wry neck” is unknown. However, this condition usually affects those who fall asleep fine and wake up in the morning with a twisted neck.
The pain and stiffness of “wry neck” usually disappears on its own after a few days without any treatment, though sometimes it is more severe and needs the assistance of your Baltimore pain relief center.
Age-related wear and tear on your vertebrae is a common cause for neck pain. Typically affecting people over the age of 50, degeneration can vary in terms of seriousness.
In fact, many people will experience some degree of degeneration over their lifetime and never experience any symptoms.
For those suffering from severe degeneration, expect symptoms such as:
Neck pain that spreads to the shoulders and base of the skull
Pain in the arms, hands, and fingers
Pins and needles in your arm or hand
Clumsiness using your arm or problems walking
Loss of bladder control
If you experience any of these symptoms and fear you may be experiencing spinal degeneration, contact your local pain relief center right away to get proper treatment.
Cervical radiculopathy is a serious condition in which the root of a nerve is being pressed on or is damaged and comes out of your spinal cord in the neck region. This usually occurs because the insides of a disc in your spine begins to prolapse (or bulge) through the tough outer layer of the disc.
Also known as a “slipped disc,” this condition causes several painful symptoms such as neck pain, pins and needles, numbness, and weakness of the arm that connects to the affected nerve.
Other Causes of Neck Pain
In addition to the causes mentioned above, there are several other reasons why you might experience neck pain:
Posture. Holding your head in an odd position, sleeping on a pillow that is too high, spending long periods of time on the phone, and over-exercising your upper body can cause neck pain.
Injuries. In addition to whiplash, injuries such as falls, direct blows to the face or top of the head, and sports-related injuries can cause damage to your neck in varying degrees.
Medical conditions. Certain medical conditions can cause neck pain such as arthritis of the neck, narrowing of the spinal canal, meningitis, the flu, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and even referred.
Treating Neck Pain
Most neck pain lasts for short periods and is resolved within a few weeks. However, more intense neck pain treatments may be required for more chronic neck pain issues.
Acute (Short-Term) Neck Pain Treatments
Short-term neck pain treatments vary depending on the cause of the pain. For instance, applying heat or ice, resting, and using over-the-counter pain relievers are all good treatment options.
For more severe neck pain relief, call on your favorite Baltimore pain relief center ─ Complete Pain Care.
Chronic (Long-Term) Neck Pain Treatments
For chronic neck pain, you may need a more intense treatment plan. The most serious option is surgery, though this is rarely required. It is important you discuss all of your options with your Baltimore pain physician to devise a treatment plan that will meet your needs.
Neck Pain Can Be a Real Pain in the Neck
In the end, even the slightest wrong movement can cause a sprain, strain, or a muscle spasm and cause many painful symptoms. However, there is relief available if you choose to use Baltimore’s leading pain relief center, Complete Pain Care.
Specializing in treating neck pain using a variety of treatment options, your neck pain will soon be a thing of the past if you choose to work with the talented team at Complete Pain Care.
Contact us today and see how Complete Pain Care can treat your neck pain using advanced techniques and holistic approaches.