Pain in the neck
Encyclopedia Symptoms / / May 13, 2016
Alternative names: stiff neck
pain in the neck - is a discomfort in any of the neck structures: muscles, nerves, bones (vertebrae), as well as the disks between the bones.
When neck pain, there may be difficulties with its pan and tilt, especially in any one direction.Often this phenomenon is described as having a stiff neck.If neck pain involves nerves, the patient may feel numbness, tingling or weakness in the hands or elsewhere.
Causes of neck pain
common cause of neck pain is muscle strain.Usually, the cause must be sought in everyday human activities.For example:
- sitting position, and bending over the table for a few hours;
- bad posture while watching TV or reading;
- inconvenient with respect to the human body location of a computer monitor (too high or too low);
- vacation lying in an awkward position;
- awkward turns of the neck during exercise.
accidents or falls can cause severe neck injury (vertebral fractures, whiplash, blood vessel injury, and even paralysis).
- medical conditions - such as fibromyalgia;
- cervical cancer, arthritis, or spondylosis;
- a herniated disc;
- small fractures of the spine due to osteoporosis;
- stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal);
- infection of the spine (osteomyelitis, disk displacement, abscess);
- bone cancer, including spine.
Diagnosis and treatment
For minor, common causes of neck pain:
- you can take pain medication - such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol);
- apply heat or ice to the painful area: Use ice (the first phase), during the first 48-72 hours, and then use the heat (the second step).Heat can be applied in the form of a warm shower, hot packs or heating pads.To prevent skin injury is not recommended to fill a hot water bottle or ice;
- to suspend the usual physical activity during the first few days.This helps to reduce the symptoms of pain and reduce inflammation in the neck;
- perform slow motion, with a small range - up and down, side to side and from one to the other ear.It helps to gently stretch the muscles of the neck;
- someone should gently massage the patient sore or painful areas of the neck;
- sleeping on a firm mattress without a pillow or on a special cushion for the neck;
- ask the doctor to impose on the neck collar clamp to relieve the discomfort.Do not use the clamp for a long time (this can weaken the neck muscles).
patient can only reduce the activity within the first 1-3 days.Then he should gradually resume their normal activities.Do not do any heavy lifting or bending your back or neck in the first six weeks of the onset of pain.After 2-3 weeks, you can again start to slowly train.A physical therapist can help the patient decide when to begin exercises to stretch and strengthen the neck and how to make them.
not advise to do sports during the recovery period, if the doctor or therapist does not say that all this can be done:
- lifting legs in the prone position;
- squats with legs straight (not bent knees).
patient should immediately seek medical help if he has:
- high fever and headache, and his neck is so inflexible and immobile, the patient can not touch chin chest.This may be meningitis.We recommend a patient to call a doctor at home or go to the hospital;
- heart attack symptoms - such as shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, vomiting, or pain hands jaw.
encourage the patient to consult a doctor if:
- symptoms persist for one week self;
- the patient has numbness, tingling or weakness in the arm or neck;
- neck pain was caused by a fall, shock or trauma.If the patient can not move his arm or neck, it can ask someone to call the doctor;
- enlarged thyroid gland, or swelling in the neck;
- the pain does not go away with regular doses of pain medication;
- the patient has difficulty swallowing or breathing, along with pain in the neck;
- pain increases when the patient lies down and wakes up at night;
- the pain is so severe that the patient can not engage in everyday activities;
- the patient loses control over urination or defecation.
doctor will perform a diagnostic examination of the patient and can ask him about the pain in the neck - including how often it occurs and how much it hurts.Other possible questions:
- pain originated in the front, back or side of the neck;
- if both sides of the neck (right and left) are affected equally;
- when the pain started;
- it hurts all the time, or the pain comes and goes;
- whether the patient to touch his chin own breast;
- that increases the pain in the neck and that it weakens;
- whether there is a neck weakest and painful areas;
- whether the patient's concomitant symptoms - such as numbness, tingling or weakness in the hands;
- Do not swollen glands in a patient, or whether he had a lump in the neck.
patient answers will help your doctor determine the cause of his pain in the neck and choose treatments.For example, it can help to simple measures - such as ice, soft painkillers, physical therapy, and appropriate exercise.Rather, with the help of these approaches, the pain in the neck for 4-6 weeks reduced or completely gone.
doctor probably will not prescribe tests or tests during the first examination of the patient, if he has no symptoms or history of disease, that would suggest a tumor, infection, fracture, or serious nerve disorder.-; X-rays of the neck
In the case of chronic or debilitating pain following studies can be performed
- CT of the head and neck;
- blood tests - such as complete blood count;
- MRI of the neck.
If the pain has arisen because of muscle spasm or a pinched nerve, your doctor may prescribe a muscle relaxant or a more powerful pain reliever.Your doctor may prescribe a medical collar for the neck or, if there is nerve damage, advise the patient to turn to the neurologist (neurologist) or neurosurgeon for consultation.If the doctor or nurse will feel that pain in the neck of the patient may be due to meningitis, the patient will be sent to the emergency room for further examination and treatment.
Prevention neck pain
following steps can prevent or alleviate pain in the neck:
- relaxation techniques and regular exercise to prevent stress and tension in the muscles of the neck;
- stretching exercises for the neck and upper body.Light stretching every day, especially before and after exercise.A physical therapist can teach the patient these exercises;
- correct posture - especially if the patient is sitting behind a desk all day.You must try to keep your back straight, or something to support it.We strongly suggest that you set your computer monitor at eye level, so that the patient does not have to constantly raise and lower neck;
- if the patient works at the computer, it is necessary to knead the neck at least every hour or two;
- use the stand while talking on the phone, especially if telephone calls are a major part of the work;
- when reading or a set of documents on the computer or on the table shall be placed at eye level;
- evaluate your sleeping conditions;make sure that the pillow supports the head and neck properly and comfortably.Perhaps the patient will need a special neck pillow.It is necessary to make sure that the mattress is rather hard and smooth;
- use of seat belts and bicycle helmets to prevent those or other injuries.