I recently had a question come across my desk, asking about the different causes and treatment options for neck pain. Neck pain is one of the more common conditions that we see on a daily basis, so I thought I would share my response:
Neck pain is a common medical condition that can be very bothersome if not treated properly. There are many causes of neck pain, some of the more common causes being:
1: Muscle Strain
This happens when the soft tissue of the neck and upper back are strained throughout the course of many common, everyday activities, such as:
- Sleeping in a position that strains the neck muscles
- Sports injuries that strain the neck
- Any activity that involves repeatedly turning the head from side to side, such as swimming
- Poor posture, such as slouching while viewing the computer monitor
- Excessive stress, which can lead to tension in the neck
- Holding the neck in an abnormal position for a long period, such as cradling a phone between the neck and shoulder.
2. Cervical Spine Disorders
Many problems in the cervical spine can lead to neck stiffness. The stiffness may be secondary to the underlying disorder in the cervical spine. For example, a cervical herniated disc or cervical osteoarthritis can lead to neck stiffness, as the structures and nerve pathways in the cervical spine are all interconnected and a problem in any one area can lead to muscle spasm and/or muscle stiffness.
A stiff neck, in conjunction with a high fever, headache, nausea or vomiting, sleepiness and other symptoms, may be indicative of meningitis, a bacterial infection that causes the protective membranes of the brain and spinal cord to be inflamed. Other infections can also cause stiff neck symptoms, such as meningococcal disease, an infection in the cervical spine. Any time a stiff neck is accompanied by a fever it is advisable to seek immediate medical attention to check for these possibilities.
The treatment of neck pain varies and depends on its precise cause. Typical treatment options would include rest, ice/heat, passive modalities including low intensity laser therapy, ultrasound, muscle stimulation, active rehabilitation consisting of soft tissue/myofascial therapy, joint mobilization/adjustment, decompression, mobility, postural, or strengthening exercises, acupuncture, massage therapy, etc. The first step in treatment is to see a qualified health professional ( Physiotherapist, Massage Therapist, Acupuncturist etc) that will spend time discussing with you your health history followed by a thorough exam to determine the cause of the pain and establish a diagnosis. Sometimes, diagnostic imaging is required to further assess the problem. When the cause of the problem and complicating factors are understood, a comprehensive treatment plan can then be implemented to get you back on the road to good health.
So if you are having neck pain, and have questions about treatment options, reach out. Our team of health professionals has the training, tools and expertise to help you get back to living.
If your injury is persistent, inflammation may be part of your pain. Bioflex Laser Therapy is our go-to treatment to lessen pain and inflammation and to promote the body’s natural healing processes. Laser Therapy offers drug free pain relief and is part of our physiotherapy treatments, if recommended for your best healing results.
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