Neck Pain: Causes, Symptoms, Prevention, & Treatment

Neck pain is normally acute and fades away with time with treatment. However, if the pain persists for many weeks, it may signify a severe problem.

Sushmita Sharma
Written by: Sushmita SharmaUpdated at: Jan 04, 2023 13:05 IST
Neck Pain: Causes, Symptoms, Prevention, & Treatment

Neck pain or cervicalgia is widespread and mainly occurs in adults. It can be caused due to poor posture, physical strain, mental stress, osteoarthritis, tumours and other health conditions. It can last for days, weeks, or years depending on its cause. 

What Is Neck Pain

Neck pain is the pain near your spine beneath your head. It is caused due to inflammation, injury, or abnormalities that make your neck stiff. It is also caused due to overuse of neck muscles or poor body posture. Neck pain is normally acute and fades away with time with certain treatments. However, if the pain persists for many weeks, it may signify a severe problem.

Symptoms Of Neck Pain

  • Having a stiff neck can cause neck pain 
  • It may feel like a sharp pain that is present in and around the area of your neck
  • You face pain while moving, twisting, or performing any activities
  • Your pain may travel to other body parts, like the head, shoulders, and arms. You may face numbness, tingling sensation, and weakness in your hands or arms
  • Neck pain may also cause headaches known as cervicogenic headaches

Causes Of Neck Pain

Physical Strain

You can suffer from neck pain if you overuse your neck muscles during strenuous activities, which causes stiffness and pain. In addition, poor posture, being overweight, and weak abdominal muscles can also add to your neck pain. 

Injury

You may face neck pain after injuries, which is most common in sports and after accidents. 

Ageing

You can develop neck pain as you age as the cervical spine starts to deteriorate or degenerate. 

Heart Attack

Neck pain may also indicate chances of having a heart attack. Other symptoms that follow it are shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, arm or jaw pain, and sweating.

Other causes include arthritis, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, spinal stenosis, meningitis, and cancer.

Also read: Neck Pain:Are You Suffering from Spondylitis?

Ways To Treat Neck Pain At Home

Perform exercises that can help you in treating your neck pain. In addition, practice meditation and breathing exercises, as stress can cause tension in your body. However, avoid exercising if you have a pinched nerve or serious neck injury.

Taking a hot shower, placing a hot towel, or using a heating pad can relieve neck pain. This is because the heat helps to promote blood flow by loosening your muscles.

Apart from hot therapy, you can also place a cold pack for 15 minutes for relief. This helps to reduce inflammation and swelling. It is advised to use a cold compress instead of a hot one after an injury.

You should quit smoking because it can damage your bone structure and increase degenerative diseases.

How To Prevent Neck Pain

  • It is important to practice good posture to prevent neck pain. Avoid slouching, or straining your neck, keep your back straight and your shoulders aligned.
  • Maintain a good posture when you are sleeping. Pillows can be useful for supporting your head whether you sleep on your back or side. Make sure your head and neck are in line with the rest of your body and don't sleep on your stomach.
  • Exercise and take regular breaks if your job involves more sitting work.
  • Avoid carrying heavy weights on your shoulders. Use bags or suitcases that have wheels on them.

Bottomline

Neck pain is rarely a serious problem but if you face numbness or your pain travels to other parts of your body, contact your doctor. Maintain good posture and exercise daily to avoid neck pain.

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