neck pain

Neck pain

Acute neck pain is very common and usually nothing to worry about. Tense muscles are often to blame, for instance after working on the computer for a long time, being exposed to a cold draft, or sleeping in an awkward position. But in many cases there’s no clear cause. Acute neck pain usually goes away within about one to two weeks. In some people it comes back again in certain situations, such as after work or intensive sports.

If the symptoms last longer than three months, it’s considered to be chronic neck pain. Psychological stress is frequently a factor if the pain becomes chronic.

Some people who have neck pain avoid doing physical activities for fear of making things worse or injuring themselves. But there is no reason to worry as long as no warning signs of more serious problems arise. It’s even a good idea to stay active and carry on as usual despite the pain. Exercises that target the neck can help to prevent neck pain. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/neck-pain-and-stiff-neck/

neck pain

WHAT CAUSE NECK PAIN WHEN WAKING UP

Waking up with painful neck can be caused by one or more of the following:

  • Sleeping position. When you sleep on your stomach, while you are sleeping your neck may be twisted to one side for hours at a time. This can strain your neck muscles, and make them feel sore and stiff in the morning.
  • Pillow. Your head and neck spend many hours every night on your pillow, which is why choosing the right pillow is key to a healthy pain-free neck. A pillow that doesn’t support your head and neck properly can create tension in your neck muscles, and cause neck pain.
  • Sudden movement. Sudden movements, like sitting up quickly can strain your neck muscles. Tossing and turning while you’re sleeping, or trying to sleep, can also create tension and stress in your neck.
  • Previous injury. Some kinds of injuries, like sports injuries, may not always hurt at first. The full physical effects may only be felt days later. If you were injured in a way that might have hurt your neck, you may go to bed feeling okay, but wake up the next morning with a very sore, stiff neck.
  •  Other common causes of neck pain include: poor posture during the day, working too long at a computer, or watching television for too long without changing positions, osteoarthritis in one of the upper spinal joints, nerve compression caused by a herniated disk or bone spur in your neck. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/neck-pain-and-stiff-neck/
neck pain, Uncategorized

3 main causes of neck stiffness

1. Muscle strain

Any activity that places your neck in an awkward position for an extended amount of time could cause neck muscles to become fatigued and spasm. For example, holding your phone against your shoulder while you talk, sleeping with your neck at an awkward angle, carrying a heavy bag on one shoulder, or having to look too far downward or upward to view your computer screen can all cause neck stiffness.

2. Cervical spine disorders

The cervical spine encompasses all of the discs, bones, joints, muscles, and nerves in your neck. The spinal cord also runs through the centre of the vertebrae (bones) in your cervical spine.

3. Infection

A stiff neck caused by an infection is rare compared to the other causes above, but it is a serious medical condition. For example, meningitis can cause a stiff neck by infecting and inflaming the meninges, which are the protective membranes surrounding the spinal cord and brain. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/neck-pain-and-stiff-neck/

neck pain

How to loosen tight muscle around the neck?

Forward and Backward Tilt is one of the ways to loosen tight muscle around the neck:

neck pain

Prevention of neck pain

To help prevent neck pain, keep your head centered over your spine. Consider trying to:

  • Adjust your desk, chair and computer so that the monitor is at eye level. Knees should be slightly lower than hips. Use your chair’s armrests.
  • Use good posture. When standing and sitting, be sure your shoulders are in a straight line over your hips and your ears are directly over your shoulders.
  • Take frequent breaks. If you travel long distances or work long hours at your computer, get up, move around and stretch your neck and shoulders.
  • Avoid tucking the phone between your ear and shoulder when you talk. Use a headset or speakerphone instead.
  • Avoid carrying heavy bags with straps over your shoulder. The weight can strain your neck.
  • Sleep in a good position. Your head and neck should be aligned with your body. Use a small pillow under your neck. Try sleeping on your back with your thighs elevated on pillows, which will flatten your spinal muscles. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/neck-pain-and-stiff-neck/
neck pain

CAUSES OF NECK PAIN

Neck is flexible and supports the weight of your head, so it can be vulnerable to injuries and conditions that cause pain and restrict motion. Some causes of pain in neck include:

  • Muscle strains. Overuse, such as too many hours hunched over your computer or smartphone, often triggers muscle strains. Even minor things, such as reading in bed or gritting your teeth, can strain neck muscles.
  • Worn joints. Just like the other joints in your body, your neck joints tend to wear down with age. Osteoarthritis causes the cushions (cartilage) between your bones (vertebrae) to deteriorate. Your body then forms bone spurs that affect joint motion and cause pain.
  • Nerve compression. Herniated disks or bone spurs in the vertebrae of your neck can press on the nerves branching out from the spinal cord.
  • Injuries. Rear-end auto collisions often result in whiplash injury (Acute neck sprain), which occurs when the head is jerked backward and then forward, straining the soft tissues of the neck.
  • Diseases. Certain diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis or cancer, can cause neck pain. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/neck-pain-and-stiff-neck/
neck pain

Best sleeping position for neck pain

If you’re dealing with neck discomfort, the best positions for sleep are on your back or side. These positions are both less stressful on your spine than sleeping on your stomach.

It may be difficult to change your sleeping position since your preferred position is often determined early in life.

However, over time, you’ll become more comfortable as the new position becomes familiar.

Most people move around in the middle of the night, so having extra pillows around can help you stay comfortable even if you shift.

Sleeping on your back helps maintain your spine’s natural curves. You can use a thinner pillow in this position than you would when sleeping on your side. Your head position should be only slightly raised so that it’s at a similar angle as when you’re standing. Using a memory foam pillow can help support your head or neck. https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08N12M5QS?ref=myi_title_dp

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Sleeping on your side is one of the best ways to keep your head neutral, with your chin straight ahead. When sleeping in this position, it’s a good idea to use a pillow high enough to keep your neck neutral but not so high that your upper ear is forced toward your shoulder.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08N12M5QS?ref=myi_title_dp

If you’re dealing with neck pain, it’s a good idea to avoid sleeping on your stomach. In this position, your head is forced to one side for hours at a time. This faulty alignment can put excess stress on your neck. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/neck-pain-and-stiff-neck/

neck pain

HEADACHES AND NECK PAIN

Two types of headaches that cause neck pain:

(1) Tension headaches

A tension headache is the most common. When someone has a tension headache, they may feel like a band is squeezing around their forehead, putting pressure on the head. The pain is usually all over the head. Some people also feel pain in the back of the neck and their shoulders when they have a tension headache.

People with high-stress levels often report having tension headaches. Poor posture and repetitive movements can also contribute to tension headaches.

There are two types of tension headaches. Episodic headaches often develop as a result of stress. Once the stressful situation is over, the headache usually eases up. Chronic headaches frequently occur, sometimes on a daily basis.

(2) Migraines

This is another common headache type. While the pain from a tension headache is often dull, migraines typically cause throbbing pain. The pain is usually located on one side of the head and might be in the neck, too. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/tension-headaches/

neck pain

WHEN IS NECK SURGERY A GOOD IDEA FOR NECK PAIN?

Neck surgery usually is considered a treatment for neck pain only when all other approaches have failed. Most doctors would rather encourage a patient first try treating their neck pain using medicine, rest, and physical therapy.

If cervical degeneration causes myelopathy (spinal cord dysfunction), radiculopathy (dysfunction of nerves to the neck or arms), or abnormal neck motion, surgery may be necessary. The surgical goal is to reduce pain and restore spinal stability. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/neck-pain-and-stiff-neck/

neck pain

HOW IS NECK PAIN DIAGNOSED?

Along with a complete medical history and physical exam, diagnostic procedures for neck pain may include:

  • Blood tests. These tests can help diagnose underlying inflammatory disease.
  • X-ray. A test that uses electromagnetic energy beams to make images of bones onto film.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This procedure uses large magnets and a computer to make detailed images of organs and structures within the body. MRI can often identify damage or disease of internal structures within our joints, or in a surrounding ligament or muscle. 
  • Computed tomography scan (also called a CT or CAT scan). An imaging procedure uses X-rays and computer technology to make images of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general X-rays.
  • Electromyogram (EMG). A test to evaluate nerve function. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/neck-pain-and-stiff-neck/