Two thirds of all people will experience neck pain at some point in their lives, which is a rising trend across the globe. The majority of research show a higher frequency of neck pain in women, in people who experience anxiety or depression, and in office workers who have a poor ergonomic setup for their keyboard and screen. You willing to find solution to your neck pain has brought you to the right place. Therefore, let’s dive into neck pain and the right way how to treat it.
Small bones called vertebrae make up your neck and back. The spinal column is created by stacking them on top of one another.
Your head is supported by the spinal column, which also shields the spinal cord. This is the fundamental support structure that connects your body’s extensive network of nerves. This network carries messages that carry sensations like pain to your brain.
Your neck is made up of the cervical vertebrae, which are the top seven spinal bones C1-C7. Facet joints hold the bones together. You may turn your head in any direction thanks to the tiny joints between your vertebrae and your neck muscles.
There are cartilage discs in between the vertebrae. The flexibility of the spine is provided by the discs, which also serve as shock absorbers.
Pain & Stiffness
Your neck pain could be in the centre or on either side, but it could also radiate to your shoulder or upper chest.
Your arms might hurt or feel weakened.
You might suffer from tension headaches, which cause pain to radiate to the back of your head, occasionally into your ear, and occasionally behind your eye.
If you’ve spent a lot of time sitting or sleeping in one position, it may hurt to move your neck and your muscles may feel tight.
When attempting to glance over your shoulder while reversing the automobile, for example, you could discover that your neck won’t turn as much as it usually does.
When the muscles, bones, or tissues close to a nerve exert excessive pressure, a pinched nerve can result. You might experience numbness, pins and needles, or tingling down your arm, occasionally down to your fingers, as a result.
When the issue is resolved, the numbness and tingling will disappear as well. The doctor may be able to give medications that target the pinched nerve, such as gabapentin or pregabalin, if your symptoms are severe.
As you move your head, you might notice or hear clicking or grating. It is known as crepitus, and it can be brought on by air bubbles bursting in the joint or by tissues and bones rubbing against one another. Other joints frequently make noises like this too, but because your neck is closer to your ears, it usually seems louder. They might also be easier to hear at night. Although it may sound scary, this common symptom is not harmful.
The sudden stiffening of one or more muscles in your body is known as a muscle spasm. They can be quite uncomfortable and frequently have no known explanation. It usually produces discomfort and stiffness down one side of the neck, making it challenging to turn your head.
It seldom lasts for more than a couple of hours or days.
Causes Of Neck Pain
Most people will have neck pain at some point in their lives because it is so frequent. Neck pain typically results from keeping your neck in one position for an extended period of time. However, there are additional factors that may potentially contribute to or cause neck pain.
Stress and tension. Uncomfortable sleeping, an event that can result in whiplash, a sprain or strain, or a flare-up of cervical spondylosis, which can occur as the discs and joints in the spine deteriorate.
Many people experience a stiff and uncomfortable neck without any apparent cause. After sitting in a draft or suffering a small twisting injury, such as during gardening, it may occur. The term for this is non-specific neck ache.The most frequent sort of neck pain, as long as you keep gently rotating your neck and take breaks as needed, usually goes away within a few days.
With the help of simple stretches and over-the-counter medicines, you can frequently treat brief neck pain episodes on your own. However, it makes sense to see a doctor or other healthcare provider if your neck issue persists or seriously interferes with your daily activities.
How To Treat Neck Pain The Right Way?
Different symptoms require different treatment approaches. Espcially because our conditions are all individual and neck is a very sensitive part of the body. Because of that you should always seek professional medical assesment from your doctor or physical therapist.
In most cases you should not be afraid to move your neck as movement is your number 1 medicine. But if your neck pain has occurred together with traumatic injury/event then you should be more careful when moving your head. This is why, once again, you should always seek a professional.
Physical Therapy For Neck Pain
One of the most effective forms of treatment for persistent neck discomfort is physical therapy. The majority of neck pain physical therapy programs entail using treatments to lessen discomfort and/or stiffness sufficiently to start a neck strengthening and stretching exercise program. Physical therapy treatment plans can differ from person to person, as can the precise techniques and exercises performed.
Physical therapy is recommended for most of your neck issues. From unspecified neck pain to recovery from injury and/or surgery.
As mentioned above, physiotherapist will provide you with indvidualized mobility and strengthening program. In some cases even tips regarding mindfulness and you mental state as phyisical activity has many benefits on your mental health.
Mobility Exercises For Neck Pain
Neck CARs (Controlled Articular Rotation)
One of the methods employed by FRC to accomplish these gains in mobility is controlled articular rotations (CARs). To encourage articular adaptations, CARs use active rotation movements at the extreme ends of each joint’s range of motion. Additionally, CARs indicate neural regulation of the outer ranges for increased kinaesthetic awareness and joint stability.
Instead of just keeping a static stretch, CARs require the patient to actively move through their range of motion and use it while under muscular and neurological control. The idea behind CARs, which are essentially “circular” joint motions, is that we attempt to produce a “bigger circle” each time to better control at the outermost points of our useful range.
Basically, what it means, is we’re going to take our neck through its full pain-free range of motion. And that’s very important. Make sure that these motions don’t cause any pain. If they do, just back off a little bit, should be okay.
So, you’re gonna start taking your head, and rotating it as big as you can. Make sure it’s pain free, nice, and controlled. Don’t speed through these motions. You wanna make sure that you’re scraping the outer limits of your range of motion, and then with every single rotation, start to increase the level of intensity. And what I mean by that, is go against a little bit of imaginary resistance.
So you’re gonna start fighting through this range of motion a little bit more intense every single time, as if the air is getting thicker and thicker.
What you’ll notice is that you’ll start to gain control of ranges that you might not have had. So if your head’s kind of skipping through as you make the circle, make sure you smoothen it out as much as possible.
Lateral Neck Stretch
Allow your head to drop toward your shoulder while maintaining good posture. You can apply pressure with your hand, on the side which you tilt your neck to. With the other hand, you can continue to grip onto your chair. Hold for three times—at least one minute each.
Strengthen Your Neck
Maintain a neutral head position at all times. The following head pressure positions should be applied for 5 seconds, then released. Put your hand on your forehead to flex. Hand extension: position it behind the head.
The chin tuck exercise is one of the best postural exercises for treating neck pain. This exercise extends the scalene and suboccipital muscles as well as the upper thoracic extensors, which are the muscles that pull the head back into alignment over the shoulders.
Patients are often instructed to stand with their spine up against a door jamb and their feet about 3 inches from the bottom of the door jamb when performing the exercise for the first time.
Pull the upper back and head backward until the head meets the door jamb while maintaining the spine against the door jamb. To ensure that the head is pulled straight back and not looking up, it is crucial to keep the chin down.
Later you can perform this exercise lying down on your back as well. You just tuck you chin forwards towards your chest.
Hold the chin tuck position for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.
The prone cobra is a more challenging exercise that trains the neck, upper back, and shoulder girdle muscles. Gravity serves as resistance during this strengthening exercise, which is performed while lying face down on the floor.
For comfort, use a hand towel that has been rolled up on the forehead while lying face down.
- Put the arms at your sides with the palms facing the ground.
- Put the tongue on the mouth’s roof (this helps stabilize the muscles in the front of the neck to assist in strengthening).
- Lift the hands off the ground while pinching your shoulder blades together.
- Thumbs up, palms out, and elbows rolled in.