Why Does Your Neck Hurt & What To Do About It?
Are you one of those people whose neck hurt all the time and doesn’t seem to function as it should. It’s really annoying to have your neck hurt all the time. But a good news for you, if your neck is not being your friend right now, you’ve come to a right place.
What Is Neck Pain?
A human neck is formed of seven cervical vertebrae from C1 to C7. These vertebrae have cervical discs in between which act as shock absorber.
Apart from these bones i.e. cervical vertebrae, neck has muscles and ligaments too. And all of these together support your head and allows it to move swiftly.
Neck Pain or as many people like to call it, neck stiffness occurs because of inflammation, abnormality or any injury in one of the above srtucures.
Mostly it’s not a serious health issue and can be corrected with various neck pain relief exercises but if it gets unbearable,immediately consult your chiropractor.
The most common cause of neck pain is poor posture but let’s see what else could it be.
Neck Pain Causes
There can be end number of causes of a neck pain, but few and most important ones are listed below.
1. Poor Posture
This is one of the major and common causes of neck pain in adults. And you know why this happens,thanks to our dear phone. The way we are always bending our necks all the time while facebooking and instagramming, we’ll definitely screw our necks one day.
You’ll be surprised to know even young teenagers are suffering from cervical spondylitis with increasing numbers every day. And not only phones, our desk jobs with us staring at our screens all the time, the problem keeps getting bigger.
Poor posture causes our neck muscles to strain which ultimately results in neck stiffness.
Other causes of muscle strain:
- Wrong Sleeping position.
- Prolonged working hours at a desk job.
There are several injuries which make our necks vulnerable to fracture. Some of these are falls from heights, car accidents and sports injuries.
Sudden jerking of head might also lead to a neck injury called as Whiplash.
3. Nerve Compression
Sometimes the nerves passing through the neck, mainly spinal nerves, get injured or compressed which end up causing neck pain. This pain can be felt as sharp,shooting or like pins and needles pinching on your neck. Whenever you see these symptoms, consult your physician or a chiropractor.
4. Various Diseases
Certain diseases have neck pain as their symptom. Some of these are:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Cervical spondylosis
- Spinal Stenosis
Other symptoms along with neck pain
As I’ve personally experienced, my neck doesn’t hurt alone. I experience a variety of other symptoms along with it and mine is due to poor posture. Other symptoms that are usually experienced particularly if it’s due to poor posture:
- Headache: Neck pain causing headache feels so frustrating. I end up taking so many NSAIDs because of it.
- Nausea: I start to feel so nauseas whenever I’m sitting in a poor posture for prolonged periods.
- Neck stiffness: I have so much trouble in my moving my neck whenever I’m having this neck pain episode. It feels like someone has tied a rope around it.
Whenever your neck hurts and it’s getting unbearable and you’ve tried everything, please consult your doctor because instead of easing your pain, you’ll end up ruining your neck.
The doctor will perform a physical exam and might suggest you some tests like blood tests, X- rays,CT scans,MRI etc.
Don’t forget to tell your doctor all the OTC (over the counter)drugs you’re taking. Pain killers sure seem like a quick fix but trust me, they are not a permanent solution.
Neck Pain Remedy At Home
These are certain remedies which might help you ease your neck pain but they aren’t a sure shot treatment. So consult your doctor before practicing these.
1.Hot and Cold therapy: Putting ice or a heating pad over neck muscles may ease your overly strained muscles.
2.Neck pain relief exercises which include stretching and physical therapy.The most common neck pain relief exercise is: Forward and Backward tilt
- Start with your head over your shoulders and a straight back.
- Lower your chin to your chest and hold it for 15-30 seconds and lift it back up.
- Tilt your chin towards the ceiling, hold it for 15-30 seconds and move it back to the same position.
- Repeat the set several times
3. Take OTC( Over the counter) pills
These over the counter pain killers might help reduce your neck pain:
- ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil)
- naproxen sodium (Aleve)
- acetaminophen (Tylenol)
4. Yoga for neck pain
If you take my opinion, this has worked best for me. Yoga has made my life so much easier and it also makes me feel so calm and relaxed too. These yoga exercises will relieve your neck pain.
5. Massaging your neck
Massaging your neck with some essential oils may break those tight knots that you have causing that tension in your neck.
Alternative therapies may include:
- TENS(Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation)
- Neck collars
- Muscle Relaxants
- Antibiotics, if it’s due to any infection
- Corticosteroid injections
- Surgery, rarely
All these therapies are only done when advised by your physician or chiropractor. It’s strongly recommended that you don’t practice these without doctor’s consultation.
Precautions you can take
- Maintain a good posture either consciously or by a back brace. Do consult your doctor before getting a back brace.
- Keep your phone or a laptop screen at a right level i.e. at eye level.
- Avoid sitting at a same position for prolonged hours, keep taking walks in between.
- Exercise your neck everyday with slow stretches.
- Avoid cradling your phone between neck and shoulders.
- Avoid activities or sports that cause unnecessary tension to your neck muscles.
- Neck pain even occurs from stress, so you might want to destress yourself.
- Use a right height pillow while sleeping.
- Don’t sleep in a bad position, one of the most common causes of neck pain.
What did we learn?
Neck is a vey important and beautiful part of your body. Don’t take it for granted. These days even youngsters are facing these problems and that’s mostly due to prolonged screen times. We get so involved with the virtual world that we forget we are damaging our real bodies in the process.
Even if you’re having neck pain from a long time. you can still correct it. Don’t take this lightly. As they say
Prevention is better than cure
It’s time we practice this. Now you know what to do next time your neck hurt!
Does your neck hurt too? Tell us in the comments what you did to get a relief, you might end up helping a lot of people!
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