Neck pain seems to be an inevitable problem since most of us spend our time working on a computer or gazing at the smartphone these days. Driving for a long time at a stretch would also result in a stiff neck or neck pain. Most of the time, when the issue is not so serious, neck pain can be relieved within a short period of time. However, at certain times, neck pain indicates serious illness or injury, which requires a doctor’s attention.

Immediately seek medical advice if the neck pain is severe, continues to bother you for more than a week or is accompanied by a few more symptoms such as numbness in your arms, stifnness, tingling sensation

Causes of Neck Pain

There could be different reasons for neck pain or stiffness. Common causes include:

  • Muscle tension and strain
  • Poor posture
  • Sports injuries
  • Bad sleep habits
  • Gritting the teeth
  • Pinched nerves
  • Repetitive motion
  • As a symptom of heart attack
  • Meningitis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Spondylosis or osteoarthritis of the neck
  • Herniated cervical disk
  • Spinal stenosis

In rare occasions, neck pain or stiffness can occur due to:

  • Spine cancer
  • Tumors
  • Abscesses
  • Infections
  • Congenital infections

Prevention

Poor posture is associated with most cases of neck pain. Sometimes it happens in combination with age-related wear and tear. While it is essential to keep the head centered over the spine to prevent neck pain, there are also some changes if done will definitely help. Consider trying to:

  • Use good erect posture- While sitting and standing, ensure the shoulders are in a straight line over the hips and the ears are directly over the shoulders.
  • Exercise and take frequent breaks to stretch- For people who work long hours on the computer or travel long distances on a regular basis, it is important for them to take breaks in between. Get up, move around and stretch the neck and shoulders at regular intervals. However, avoid sudden movements while stretching. Do short sets of strengthening exercises throughout the day. Chin tuck exercise is one of the simplest of exercises. Exercise with strengthening the muscles that
     
  • Positioning Car Seat Properly- Ensure sitting in a proper posture while driving. The seat of the car should be adjusted accordingly to give you the most support.
  • Create an ergonomic workplace- Sit straight with the feet flat on the floor. The knees need to be rested slightly below the hips. The monitor should be kept at eye level. Thus, adjust the chair accordingly. It is good to use the armrests of the chair. Use an ergonomic set of keyboard and mouse.
  • Proper usage of the phone- Avoid tucking the phone between the ears and the shoulders while talking. If the hands need to be free for other work, better use a headset or talk on speaker mode. It is better to limit the usage of the phone or at least take a break hourly from the phone. Stretch to relax the muscles after using the phone.
  • Avoid carrying heavy bags- The weight of the bag can strain the neck especially if you are carrying heavy items in a bag that has straps and needs to be carried over the shoulder.Ensure placing the straps on both shoulders.
  • Sleep in a good position- Keep your head and neck aligned with the body while sleeping. Use a small pillow under the neck. Sleep on your black and keep the thighs elevated on pillows. This will flatten the spinal muscles.

Treatment and Remedies for Neck Pain and Stiffness

  • Apply ice or heat alternatively to the painful region. Use ice for 48 to 72 hours followed up with the heat. Heat is to be applied by means of a hot compress, heating pad or warm showers. Ensure not to fall asleep while using an ice bag or heating pad to avoid skin injuries.
  • Take OTC medicines(anti inflammatory, pain killers) if the pain becomes unbearable.
  • Exercises and stretching help prevent neck pain. They are to be done to treat the condition as well. Doing slow range-of-motion exercises, ear to ear, and side to side to stretch the neck muscles.
  • Get a massage by a trained practitioner to help stretch and loosen the neck and back muscle.
  • Acupuncture is another mode of treatment to relieve neck pain.
  • Reduce stress to help relieve neck pain. Listen to music, meditate, go on a vacation or have a hobby to help relax and be stressfree to get rid of neck pain.
  • Limit physical activity until the pain or stiffness gets resolved. Take a break from sports or athletics if you are a sports person or athlete.
  • Start using a different or a special pillow for sleeping.
  • Keep changing your position while sitting or standing and ensure maintaining a proper posture at all times.

When to See a Doctor?

Visit the doctor if the symptoms continue to exist for more than a week. You should also consult a doctor if you have:

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Lump in the neck
  • Swollen glands
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Numbness
  • Weakness
  • Trouble breathing or swallowing
  • Severe neck pain without any known reason

Nightingales can help you get rid of neck pain and stiffness effectively. We have experienced and certified physiotherapist working with us who would be able to provide you therapy at the comfort of your home. Visit https://www.nightingales.in/services/physiotherapy to book an expert physiotherapist at the earliest.

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