Understanding Neck Pain

Neck pains, or cervicalgia, are what they literally are-pains felt at the neck area. Episodes usually vary from how intense or frequent it may be.

Causes of neck pains

Generally, neck pains are, most often than not, acquired through lifestyle. Excessive physical activity which leads to muscle strain is a common factor. So does sitting in front of the computer for several hours. Sometimes, even sleeping in a wrong position contributes to sustaining such pains.

Though neck pains are a common problem among people, it is seldom associated with systemic diseases. Persistent it may be, it remains for a minimum of two weeks to most people but to a majority it can linger up to a maximum of eight weeks.

However, as an ailment, there can be several other causes, namely, osteoarthritis, spinal disc herniation and spinal stenosis.

Osteoarthritis – occurs when there is a narrowing of the intervertebral discs which is located between the vertebrae of the spine. Spurs grow as pressure increases on them. As a result, the bony development causes pain confined in the neck or shoulder area.

Arm pains – arm pains rather than neck pain occurs more in spinal disc herniation. The compression of the nerves in the neck triggers intense pain in the upper arm (brachialis). This can lead to the loss of nerve functions such as loss of sensation, reflex and muscle strength.

Spinal stenosis – happens there is a narrowing of the spinal canal. It results in the constriction of the spinal cord in the neck, termed medically as cervical myelopathy. Bulging of the discs, accumulation of spurs and stiffening of the ligaments in the spine results to the narrowing of the spine. This will then result to numbing and weakening of the legs.

Other causes of neck pains

Accidents, like suffering from whiplash injuries can also be a major factor. Generally, people who have gone through devastating rear-impact ordeals in motor vehicle collisions may experience such neck pains.

Only ten (10) percent of the population experience episodes of neck pains each year. Women may experience neck pains more frequently than men do.

How to treat neck pain?

Massage therapy like the application of ice on painful areas of the neck can alleviate the pain as it relaxes the muscles. Warm therapy, application of heat, should be applied to pains lasting more than 48 hours. Certain drugs like aspirin or any muscle relaxant drug can also be taken by individuals with confined movement and muscle stiffness.

How to avoid neck pains?

Neck pains are best avoided through awareness of how to prevent it. It usually starts on a change of lifestyle. Exercising daily, not smoking, even a simple stretching activity especially if sitting in front of the computer for a long time helps mitigate the occurrence of such.