Neck Pain
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Signs & Syndromes

Neck Pain

Constant movement of the neck, along with its position and the number

of structures within it, make it

particular vulnerable to problems, which includes:

  • Locked Neck - Movement of neck limited
  • Neck Rigidity - Stiffness and pain on movement
  • Wry Neck - An abnormality in the head's position
  • Net Swelling - Swelling of any of the structures in the neck
  • Whiplash Injury - symptoms may occur immediately or may be delayed for some time: they include pain, stiffness in the neck, headaches, impaired vision, and weakness.
Common Causes
  • Locked Neck - Overstrain of ligaments or muscle spasms caused by a an awkward or sudden movement, often occurring during sleep
  • Neck Rigidity - Caused by neck muscle spasms. Wry Neck - Caused by permanent twisting of the neck, possibly due to muscle damage sustained at birth, a whiplash injury, or a visual problems.
  • Arthritis - Both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis can damage the joints in the neck, causing pain and stiffness.
  • Whiplash Injury - A sudden force (such as a car collision) causes a violent bending of the neck in one direction, followed by relax muscle contraction which throws the neck in the opposite direction. The ligaments connecting the vertebrae are stretched or torn , causing prolonged pain and disability.

Typical care for neck or back pain often involves some pain medication and visits to a physical therapist, orthopedic surgeon or chiropractor. For chronic pain, the kind that sticks around year after year, these mainstream treatment options can be a bit ineffective.

Acupuncture for neck pain

The latest study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found that treatment with acupuncture works better than the usual methods for dealing with chronic pain, like over-the-counter or prescription pain medications. The pain relief was modest … but real. "It's not some sort of strange healing ritual," Andrew J. Vickers, Ph.D.,lead author of the study, told the New York Times.

Neck pain may be frustrating, but it's almost never an emergency. Take the time to find the right treatment for you, and prepare yourself for a long healing process. Whether it takes weeks or months, relief is worth the wait.

Neck pain prevention

For neck pain caused by posture

  • Sit straight in your chair with your lower back supported, feet flat on the floor, and shoulders relaxed. Don't sit for long periods without getting up or changing positions. Take short breaks several times an hour to stretch your neck muscles
  • When talking on the phone, don't cradle the phone between head and shoulder. If you're on the phone often, switch to a headset or speakerphone.
  • If you are reading or typing from other materials, raise the pages to eye level.
  • Adjust the seat of your car to a more upright position that supports your head and lower back. Make sure that you are not reaching for the steering wheel while driving. Your arms should be in a slightly flexed, comfortable position.

For neck pain caused by sleep habits

  • Don't sleep with too many pillows or with a pillow that's too thick.
  • Don't sleep on your stomach with your neck twisted or bent.
  • If you read in bed, prop up the book so you aren't using your arms to hold it up and bending your neck forward. Consider using a wedge-shaped pillow to support your arms and keep your neck in a neutral position.

Other prevention tips

  • If stress is adding to your neck pain, practice relaxation exercises. Consider getting acupuncture or acupressure.
  • Strengthen and protect your neck by doing neck exercises once a day.
  • Stay at a healthy body weight