Neck pain is a common complaint in adults, affecting 30 to 50 percent of the general population in any given year. Of those individuals who suffer from neck pain, approximately 50 percent to 85 percent don’t experience complete resolution of their symptoms. Chronic neck pain may even develop and affect quality of life.
Neck pain is any discomfort, pain, or stiffness in the neck. It can be made worse through certain activities like working at a desk, poor posture, or poor form during exercise. Neck injuries may also lead to neck pain. Treatment for neck pain depends on the cause and can range from at-home care to exercises to alternative therapies.
If you are suffering from neck pain in Colorado Springs and would like to discuss diagnosis, treatment, and self-care, Colorado Springs Neurological Associates can help. Contact a CSNA representative by calling 719-473-3272 or by filling out an online form.
What Causes Neck Pain?
Neck pain can occur for a number of reasons. It’s rarely a symptom of a more serious problem, but it’s important to know when to get medical help right away in these cases.
Seek medical attention immediately for your neck pain if:
- You’re experiencing neck pain after an injury, such as a car accident, fall or other accident.
- Your neck is so stiff that you cannot touch your chin to your chest, and you also have a fever and headache. This may be meningitis.
- Your neck pain is accompanied by shooting pain down your arm or into your shoulder, arm or jaw pain, shortness of breath, or sweating, nausea, or vomiting. Neck pain can be a symptom of a heart attack and often presents with other heart attack symptoms.
Common, everyday activities that may cause neck pain
Neck pain can stem from muscle strain or tension. The following everyday activities can lead to neck pain:
- Repetitive motions
- Poor posture
- Sleeping in an uncomfortable position
- Twisting and turning your neck while exercising
- Lifting something too quickly or with poor posture
- Gritting your teeth
- Carrying a heavy purse or shoulder bag
Other causes of neck pain
Medical conditions, accidents or falls can also cause severe neck pain, such as:
- Spinal stenosis, or narrowed spaces within your spine
- Herniated (slipped) disc
- Infections or tumors of the spine
- Pinched nerves
- Car accidents involving whiplash
- Vertebral fractures
- Sports injuries
Symptoms of Neck Pain
Neck pain is discomfort in any of the structures in the neck, including the muscles, bones, nerves, joints, and discs between the bones. Symptoms of neck pain can vary and can range from severe pain to stiffness to soreness.
If your neck hurts, you may notice:
- Your pain gets worse when you hold your head in a certain position for long periods of time.
- You’re experiencing muscle spasms or tightness.
- You’re having trouble moving your neck or head, and your neck feels “stiff.”
- You have a headache.
If your neck pain is severe and persistent for several days; is accompanied by numbness, tingling, or weakness; and you have difficulty swallowing or breathing, contact your doctor. Your doctor will perform a variety of tests to figure out the cause and appropriate treatment.
Neck Pain Treatments
If your neck pain is not severe and caused by an accident or another medical condition, you can often treat it at home. Rest, ice and heat can ease your neck pain.
First, apply cold to the area. Applying ice or a cold pack to the area for the first few days will reduce inflammation and numb the pain. Follow cold with heat, such as a heating pad or a warm shower, to further reduce pain. You can also take over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen for mild or moderate pain.
Gentle stretches and therapeutic exercises may help you feel better. Slow range-of-motion exercises, such as nodding your head up and down and side to side, may help stretch your neck muscles. Consult a physical therapist for help or for exercise suggestions.
In some cases, you may need a padded neck collar, muscle relaxants, or shots of cortisone to relieve discomfort. Talk to your doctor about alternative treatments that may be right for you.
Neck Pain Treatment Options at CSNA
To prevent neck pain from worsening or returning, practice using good posture. Take frequent breaks from sitting at your desk to move around and stretch. Sleep in a good position on a firm mattress with a supportive pillow.
If you are experiencing mild, moderate, or severe neck pain, the Colorado Springs Neurological Associate team can help. We’ll work with you to diagnose the underlying cause of neck pain and come up with a treatment plan to help you feel better.
Call the CSNA office at 719-473-3272 or contact a representative online to schedule an appointment at our Colorado Springs location. You may also like and follow the CSNA Facebook page for news updates and resources.