June 17, 2011

Are You Suffering From Neck Pain?

neck painAre You Suffering From Neck Pain?
At some point in their lives, most people will complain of neck pain. Neck pain can be acute, i.e. it comes on suddenly, often as the result of an underlying infection or other problem, and can last from a few days to a few weeks. Sometimes people suffer from what is known as chronic neck pain and this refers to pain that is recurrent and ongoing over a longer period of time. Chronic neck pain can also be the result of an underlying problem, but the cause is often more serious than that experienced with acute neck pain. Chronic neck pain does not always have a serious cause, sometimes all that is needed is a minor lifestyle change to deal with the problem.

Common Causes of Neck Pain
People who regularly complain of neck pain may indulge in hobbies that result in their being hunched over a work bench or desk. If this happens to you then you may need to look at new ways of engaging in your hobby where you are not hunched over all of the time. If you spend a lot of your time working on a computer then your head should be on a level with the top of the computer monitor, if you constantly have to bend your head back a little to see the screen, or bend it down, you will suffer from neck pain. Studies show that people suffer a lot less with neck pain when they have a chair that has an adjustable height and adequate arm and back support.

For short term, chronic neck pain, you can get over the counter remedies such as aspirin or ibuprofen to help alleviate the pain, but you should also pay attention to your posture and to your seating arrangements at work. If you find that these simple remedies don’t work and you are still suffering from neck pain then you should see your doctor because the pain may be the result of some other, underlying condition.

Underlying Causes of Neck Pain
Neck pain can be the result of wear and tear on the joints and muscles, if the pain continues you should see your doctor immediately. In older people neck pain may be the result of osteoarthritis – the kind of arthritis that comes from general wear and tear. In both cases the pain will be chronic and you may experience stiffening of the neck and should seek medical help.

Chronic neck pain could be the result of an injury to the discs, where the jelly like cartilage seeps through the disc’s outer covering; when this happens you could have pain in other, nearby areas such as the shoulders and top of the spine because the nerves are affected. Neck pain may also be the cause of an accident that results in an injury known as whiplash, if you do have an accident that results in a sudden and unexpected jolting of the neck, you could have whiplash. You need to seek specialist help for whiplash as you may need to wear a collar or neck support for a while.

If you suffer from persistent neck pain then your doctor may suggest that you see a physiotherapist who will recommend a series of exercises to strengthen the neck muscles and ease the problem. You may be prescribed what is known as TENS, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, this is where electrodes are placed on the neck because the tiny electrical pulses can help relieve the pain.

Your doctor may prescribe stronger pain medication for chronic neck pain such as strong anti-inflammatory medicines or a narcotic medication such as tramadol. If you have a neck injury or disc problems then your doctor may want you to have a collar fitted that restricts neck movement.

There are many causes of and treatments for, neck pain; no two people will experience things in the same way. If you have ongoing neck pain or have been involved in an accident then the only safe thing to do is to see a medical professional.

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