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Neck Pain: Causes And Prevention

Neck pain is a common complaint. If it’s leaning over your monitor or hunching over your workbench, neck muscles may be stressed from bad posture. Osteoarthritis is a common source of pain in the neck as well.

Neck pain can seldom be a symptom of a more serious issue. If your neck pain is followed by numbness or lack of strength in your arms or hands, or if you have pain in your shoulder or arm, seek medical attention.

Symptoms

Symptoms and signs include:

  • Pain that is often exacerbated by holding your head for long periods in one position, such as driving or working at a computer
  • Tightness in the muscles and spasms
  • Decreased capacity for the head to travel
  • Headaches

When to see a doctor

With home care, most neck pain improves gradually. Consult the doctor if not.

If extreme neck pain occurs from an injury, such as a motor vehicle crash, diving accident or fall, seek medical treatment.

Contact a doctor if you have pain in the neck:

  • is serious,
  • Persist without relief for several days
  • Spreads arms or legs downwards
  • Headache followed by, numbness, fatigue or tingling

Causes

Your neck is flexible and supports your head’s weight so that it can be susceptible to injuries and conditions that cause discomfort and limit movement. The causes of neck pain include:

Strains of muscles.

Overuse, like being hunched over your screen or smartphone for too many hours, also causes muscle strains. Even small things can strain your neck muscles, such as reading in bed or gritting your teeth.

Worn joints.

Your neck joints tend to wear down with age, much like the other joints in your body. Osteoarthritis causes weakening of the cushions (cartilage) between the bones (vertebrae). Your body then produces bone spurs that impair joint function and cause pain.

Compressing nerves.

The nerves branching out from the spinal cord can be pressed on

by herniated disks or bone spurs in the vertebrae of your spine.

Accidents.

Rear-end auto accidents often lead to injury by whiplash, which happens when the head is jerked sideways and then forward, straining the neck’s soft tissues.

diseases.

Neck discomfort may be caused by many conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, meningitis or cancer.

Prevention

Combined with age-related wear and tear, most neck pain is associated with bad posture. Hold your head balanced above your spine to help avoid neck pain. Some simple changes can assist in your daily routine.

Consider attempting to:

  • Take breaks regularly. Get up, walk about and stretch your neck and shoulders whether you’re travelling long distances or working long hours on your computer.
  • Adjust the desk, chair and computer so that the display is at the level of the eye. Slightly lower than the shoulders should be the feet. Using the armrests of your chair.