Introduction to Neck Pain
Neck pain is a common problem, and similarly to a mild headache, it is usually easily managed and doesn’t require medical intervention.
What is Neck Pain?
Neck pain is a common problem, and similarly to a mild headache it is usually easily managed and doesn’t require medical intervention. However, like a headache it may also present as a symptom of a more complex, serious medical condition and therefore should be given medical attention if it doesn’t dissipate after a few days.
What are the causes for Neck Pain?
There are a number of potential causes of neck pain: After a prolonged time in an awkward position or with poor posture you may experience acute torticollis, where you have difficulty moving it for some time due to a strain on the neck muscles. You may experience joint problems such as arthritis or cervical spondylosis, the scientific term for generic wear and tear of the various neck joints, which can lead to a similar pain to what you would experience with knee or back pain. You may also experience neck pain due to whiplash, nerve impingements or due to less obvious psychological causes such as anxiety or depression.
Certain conditions such as meningitis and HIV infection may present with neck pain or stiffness, and as such it is important to bear in mind whether other symptoms have occurred as well that may indicate a new condition you should seek treatment for. If your neck pain comes alongside a clear aversion to bright lights then it is indicative of meningitis for example and shouldn’t be discounted as just aches and pains.
What are the symptoms of Neck Pain?
Neck pain can present itself in different ways depending on how it is caused. It could be a straining, aching sensation caused by sitting or sleeping in abnormal positions or due to poor posture. It may have obvious causes such as acute trauma in which case the symptoms will be similar to any other such injury. The pain may be slightly different if caused by an infection, in which case it will get progressively worse without treatment and may not resolve without medical intervention.
How is Neck Pain treated?
Preventative measures such as correct posture, stretching and relaxation techniques can be used if the neck pain has a musculoskeletal cause, and over the counter painkillers can be used to help manage the discomfort. It is important to remember that if pain is reoccurring once the painkillers wear off you should seek medical attention instead of “masking” the pain. If it is caused by an infection or acute trauma then that particular cause will be treated appropriately and the symptoms should resolve themselves as the primary condition is treated.