Chronic Neck Pain- Know Its Cause, Symptoms & Treatments

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A lot of lumbar pain, neck pain is a common condition which can affect anyone, regardless of the age.

Generally the condition is known as cervical low back pain, can be the effect of a wide variety of factors, from merely pressuring the muscle tissues and ligaments due to over fatigue or remaining in awkward positions for very long periods of time to more serious backbone conditions, including degenerative disc disease, herniated disc, and spinal stenosis, to name a few.

Based on the extent of the spine problem and the pain it causes, this issue can either be a minor or a chronic neck pain.

Our neck is basically comprised of the cervical spine level. This specific level is made up of 7 spinal vertebrae and they all help safeguard and house the spinal cord and its many nerve endings.

A lot like various other levels of the spine, spine discs can be found between each vertebra which helps friction and also damages between your bones, improve versatility of the spine, and generally sustains the health of the spine.

Numerous structures as well found in the neck area are the muscles, arterial blood vessels, veins, several glands, including lymph, thyroid, and parathyroid, esophagus, larynx, and trachea.

Generally, any kind of disease or conditions that have an effect on these structures generally is a factor for acute or chronic neck pain.

Chronic pain can often be connected with dull aching on the area of the neck, which often radiate down to shoulders, the arms, hands, and fingers, producing shoulder pain and right and left arm pain, for example.

In lots of chronic neck pain cases, individuals may also experience pain by just doing some accidental neck motions. Generally, the anguish can be linked to pins and needles, tingling, inflammation, and razor-sharp pains on the neck, shoulder blades, forearms, and hands, faintness, gland inflammation, and also trouble in taking in food.

Paying attention to the best neck pain remedy immediately recommended by a specialist is best. This will assure that the existing problem is not going to be aggravated and that it won’t developed into a more serious or even terminal.

Solutions for the condition primarily rely on the variables that lead to the pain. For simple muscle strains and accidental injuries, the typical treatment would be rest and ice.

Brief periods of rest and exercises will help accelerate treatment period. Ice therapy lowers the swelling of the muscles and ligaments to eliminate the pain.

soreness

Appropriate elevation of the neck when lying down, preferably several inches above the heart may also reduce the soreness.

Once the cause of the neck pain is related to spine problems, such as spinal stenosis, several specialists may possibly advise going through physical rehabilitation. Normally, physical rehabilitation sessions would incorporate adjustment of the spine, some basic exercises, and undergo electrical stimulation, to assist realignment of the spine, muscle fortification, and ensure that it stays tranquil and loose.

It is a fact that there are some people who have very low pain threshold and neck pains can be excruciating for these type of people.

Oftentimes, professionals would send these individuals to a pain management center where they can get the appropriate remedy to achieve pain alleviation.

Likewise, these institutions may help the individual find out numerous simple pain alleviation methods that alleviate the pain these individuals are suffering from.

Nearly all cervical discomfort caused by mechanical reasons will not be pointed out by the doctor for the surgical procedure. Even so, for repeating and chronic pain situations where spine compression is present, surgery may be prescribed by the doctors.

A typical surgical treatment for a herniated disc and bulging disc connected with neck pains would be the replacement of cervical disc.

Understanding Your Neck’s Structure

Understanding the structure of the neck allows you to avoid chronic neck pain. The neck is composed of the cervical spine. The spine has 7 spinal vertebrae.

These protect the spinal cord and the nerves. In each layer of the spine, spine discs can be found in between. These discs prevent the bones from rubbing together to keep them strong. They are also responsible for keeping the spinal column flexible.

In the neck area, various body parts can also be found. They include the following – glands, blood vessels, muscles, veins, thyroid, parathyroid, lymph, trachea, and the larynx. Any disease that affects any of the parts mentioned can lead to chronic neck pain.

Culprits of The Pain

Neck structure
Chronic pain in the neck can be attributed to various factors. They are the following: degenerative disk disease, neck injuries, pinched nerve in the neck area, infections which include tuberculosis in the neck, a bone infection in the spine, disorders in the lymph glands, meningitis, and neck arthritis.

Aside from the mentioned causes, there are also risk factors for it. Involving in contact sports such as basketball and football can increase your susceptibility to this. Accidents are also considered as threats, especially motor vehicle collisions.

Causes Of Chronic Neck Pain

By chronic neck pain (often referred to as cervical pain) we should understand a condition that lasts longer than 3 months. The actual pain may result from any kind of disorders and diseases that affect almost any tissue, bone, or gland located in the neck area.

These disorders often trigger the muscles of their necks feeling tender, numbness, tingling, sharp shooting pains, difficulty swallowing, dizziness, and other conditions.

Facet joints are among the most common causes of chronic neck pain. Facet joints are small stabilizing joints located between and behind adjacent vertebrae. Because these synovial joints are deep in the spine, you cannot feel them, and you cannot see them without imaging studies.

Your facet joints function like your knee or your shoulder: they can become painful or arthritic just like your knee or your shoulder.

Basically, the same kinds of things you can do to a knee or a shoulder you can do to the facet joint, especially in whiplash injuries where the neck snaps backward. Facet joint pain is the most common cause of chronic neck pain after a car accident.

Another common cause of the chronic neck pain is a disc injury. The pain coming from the disc usually signals about a tear inside of the disc. The outer wall of the disc (called the Annulus) can be torn by a whiplash injury.

The disc might get weaker and hurt when stressed during normal activities. The actual pain comes from the nerve endings in the annulus. About 1/3 of all chronic pain sufferers complain of disc pain, and there can be both disc pain and facet joints pain in some people.

The above-mentioned conditions are by far the two most common causes of chronic neck pain. Other disorders, like muscle strain of the neck, can cause acute pain, but usually, heal within a short period of time.

In some people, chronic neck pain may be caused by a pinched nerve from a herniated disc, but such cases are relatively rare. Herniated discs usually cause arm pain, and not chronic neck pain.

Understanding the cause of pain is the key to proper treatment. In reviewing the history of symptoms, the neurologist must note the location, intensity, duration, and radiation of the pain. Any past injury to the neck and past treatments should be noted.

Aggravating and relieving positions or motions must also be recorded, both at rest and in motion. Tenderness is detected during palpation of the neck. An examination of the nervous system is performed to determine whether or not nerve involvement is present.

Further testing of undiagnosed neck pain can include X-ray evaluation, CT and MRI scans, Electromyography (EMG), nerve conduction velocity test (NCV), and other. If you are in Denver and suffering from any of the above-described conditions, please call our center today.

Signs And Symptoms

Dull Aching
The first symptom of this is dull aching within the affected area. In most cases, people tend to ignore the pain that they feel until it gets worse. Listed below are some of the symptoms that you need to watch out for:

  • Numbness in the neck
  • Tingling sensation
  • Sharp pain that happens whenever you move your neck
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Tenderness
  • Swelling of the lymph node glands
  • Headaches
  • Shoulder pain
  • Numbness in the arms
  • Upper or lower back pain
  • Muscle spasms

Treatment of Chronic Neck Pain

Treatment for neck pain can include medications and physical interventions. Medications include simple, common painkillers such as acetominiphine, anti-inflammatories, and muscle relaxants.

Physical treatment can include physiotherapy, massage therapy, heat treatment, TENS treatment, acupuncture treatment and /or chiropractic treatment. Regular physical exercise is typically recommended as well.

Heat and cold are the two most common passive treatments for neck pain. Often people self-prescribe these types of treatment for their own pain. Physiotherapy is often suggested to the person with pain in the neck.

Physiotherapy by a licensed and qualified physiotherapist has a number of objectives. One of the primary objectives of physiotherapy for pain is to reduce the level of pain being experienced. Another objective is to increase the range of motion of the neck.

A third objective is the education of the person suffering neck pain regarding proper biomechanics in order to prevent further neck pain issues in the future.

Discectomy

In addition to the above types of treatment, surgery is performed in some of the more severe cases of neck pain. Discectomy is a procedure that is sometimes performed due to persistent and severe neck pain.

Discectomy is the surgical removal of part (or the whole) of the problem disc in the neck. Fusion is also performed at times. Fusion is intended to provide a permanent stability to the spinal column.

When neck pain becomes chronic a multidisciplinary treatment approach is often required. This multidisciplinary assessment and treatment plan is typically spearheaded by one physician who has, through both education and through experience, acquired special knowledge in the treatment of chronic pain.

Chronic pain programs are available throughout the US and Canada. Because of the impact, the chronic and persistent neck pain can have on an individual, depression and other psychological problems frequently accompany the chronic neck pain.

Psychological counseling is therefore frequently required together with the physical modalities of treatment and the pharmacological (medication) treatment for chronic neck pain.

As can be seen from this very basic overview, neck pain, its causes and its treatments is a very complex issue. Because neck pain is so common in our society, however, it is and will remain, a very important issue.

Exercises For Chronic Neck Pain

Neck Execises
Neck pain can often result from Rheumatoid Arthritis, although it can occur for many other reasons, and a recent article on Arthritistoday.org titled Drug-free Treatment Best for Chronic Neck Pain showed that pharmaceuticals may not be the best answer.

Doctors are prescribing powerful opioids such as codeine and oxycodone even though there is little to no pain relief for chronic neck pain. Interestingly though, therapeutic exercises appear to be much more effective, but underutilized.

This may be because doctors lack training in these therapies; doctors have high regard for pharmaceuticals because that encompasses much of their training, or patients are not reporting the lack of benefits from the pharmaceuticals back to their doctors.

Now that you know therapeutic exercises are best for relieving chronic neck pain, here are some exercises that may help.

Before you start to be sure to do these movements slowly and methodically in order to avoid injury. Also, if you begin to feel pain, do not go any further.

You do not have to do these exercises to their extremes; just go to a point that is comfortable for you. As always, be sure to consult your doctor or a physical therapist before attempting new exercises.

Tilt Your Head From Front To Back: Start by looking straight ahead, then slowly draw your chin towards your chest. Pause for a couple of seconds, and then slowly bring your head back up.

Pause again, and then point your chin towards the sky. Pause for a couple of seconds, and then slowly bring your head back to the starting position.

Tilt your Head From Side To side: Start by looking straight ahead, then slowly draw your right ear towards your right shoulder. Pause for a couple of seconds, and then slowly bring your head back up.

Pause again, and then draw your left ear towards your left shoulder. Pause for a couple of seconds, and then slowly bring your head back to the starting position.

Tilt Your Head

Rotate Your Head From side To side: Start by looking straight ahead, then slowly rotate your head so that you look to your right, keeping your eyes level. Pause for a couple of seconds, and then bring your head back to the starting position.

Pause again, then turn your head so that you look to your left, keeping your eyes level. Pause for a couple of seconds, and then bring your head back to the starting position.

Each of the descriptions above is considered 1 repetition. You should do between 5 and 10 repetitions before moving onto the next exercise. All 3 exercises are considered 1 set. You should build up to 10 repetitions of each exercise and at least 3 sets each day.

Remember that this is a goal and not necessarily a starting point. You may also want to do sets in the morning and sets in the evening or throughout the day, that’s just fine. Remember to be sure you do not push yourself to discomfort, the goal is to relieve pain, not cause more.

Read More: Arthritis Pain – Simplest Ways To Deal With Arthritis Pain

Conclusion

Chronic neck pain can make your life difficult. Moreover, it should be treated as soon as possible to prevent the condition from getting worse. Learn as much as you can about the disease and deal with it properly.

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