Minor neck aches, pain, and stiffness are something we all suffer from time to time. They are usually brought on by overwork or holding the head in an awkward position, such as sleeping or incorrect posture. And sometimes are just minor situations that may clear up after a day of rest or a good night’s sleep. But they can also be indications of much more serious underlying problems that have been developing silently for years.
The Biomechanics Of Neck Pain
There are seven cervical vertebrae in the neck which have highly mobile joints, allowing you to bend your head forward, backward and rotate as necessary. Because of this extreme flexibility, the neck is easily susceptible to injury, and pain.
The spinal canal in your neck is the vital passageway for the spinal cord that allows your brain to communicate to the rest of your body, allowing it to coordinate almost all body functions. Even minor injuries can easily cause damage not only to the supporting muscles, tendons, ligaments and vertebrae of the neck, but also to the nerves and spinal cord. This, if left untreated, can cause major disruption to even the most basic of body functions. So even a seemingly simple injury, when left untreated, can eventually become a lot more than just a simple pain in the neck.
Neck pain can be serious. Before you get to the point of regular neck pain, spinal degeneration or worse, schedule a consultation with Dr. Crill at (916) 789-0222.
5 Easy ways to prevent simple common transient neck pains:
- Don’t sleep on your stomach. This can cause harmful compressing of the vertebral facets, and stretching and twisting of the neck muscles.
- Don’t stack several pillows while sleeping. This forces the head and neck into abnormal positions that stress the upper back and neck.
- Don’t watch television or read while lying down. This can contort the neck. Always sit upright.
- Take breaks to do stretching exercises, and change positions frequently when doing work that requires you to bend your neck downward or face the same direction for a long period.
- Don’t use heavy purses or bags with a shoulder strap. The weight can pull on the neck and disturb the nerves that support the shoulders, arms and hands. Instead, tie a knot in the shoulder strap and carry the purse or bag in your hand. (or switch sides often)
Recurring Neck Pain
Recurring aches, pains and stiffness in the neck can often be a symptom of a more serious problem. In fact, repeated episodes of stiff neck often indicate the early stages of joint or disc degeneration.
If these underlying problems are left untreated, they can lead to permanent damage to the neck and a life of constant pain.
Is My Neck Pain Serious?
Often symptoms can tell a lot about the underlying causes of neck pain. For instance:
- A neck that is relatively pain-free in the morning and worsens as the day goes on frequently indicated strain, fatigue or muscular weakness.
- A neck that is stiff and painful in the morning and feels better as the day goes on may indicate underlying disease such as arthritis..
- Neck pain that is aggravated by coughing or sneezing may indicate serious disc involvement.
- Dizziness, light-headedness, or pain that develops when the head is in certain positions is strong evidence of a more serious neck problem.
The Following is a test to help measure the severity of neck pain. Check any of the following symptoms that you have experienced or are currently experiencing:
- Recurring stiff neck
- Constant pain in the neck, face, ears or scalp
- Frequent headaches
- Recurring pain in the shoulder or arm
- Numbness or tingling in the hands or fingers
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pains
If you checked any of the above, you may have the symptoms of a serious neck problem. Call Dr. Crill now for a free no risk preliminary consultation at (916) 789-0222.