Do you suffer from neck pain? This acute or chronic pain condition can have a huge impact on your quality of life — your work, your relationships, your joy. In this article, we discuss the major aspects of neck pain conditions, including methods for finding neck pain relief. Neck pain is a condition that develops quite often in adults, especially women. More specifically, reports show that 15% and 25% of males and females, respectively, whose ages range from approximately 21 to 55 years of age experience both neck and shoulder pain during their lifetime. In addition, this condition often becomes the cause of chronic pain and discomfort. Furthermore, there is some evidence to support the notion that a large number of individuals who experience pain in the neck may continue to suffer from it up to six months after the pain has begun. In other words, neck pain tends to be recurrent, and a specific event that causes neck pain increases the susceptibility of experiencing frequent neck pain. Clinicians also report that patients who are aware of the incident that initiated their neck pain tend to suffer from this condition more frequently than those who never had a problem with neck pain. As a result, a previous condition or injury to the neck dramatically increases the probability of suffering from recurrent neck pain. Although neck pain is typically localized to a small region, it can lead to dramatic functional and mobility impairments. Subsequently, the serious complications that neck pain may cause has been linked to a high number of disability cases, most of which hinder individuals from working properly and even functioning normally at home. In actuality, more than 10% of people who have persistent pain in neck have to discontinue working. It is, therefore, not surprising that neck pain is now reported as one of the main health issues that have a negative impact on the economy. Decreased work productivity and significant increases in medical treatment have also been attributed to recurring neck pain. In particular, studies have reported that up to 50% of patients who have neck pain need to receive medical treatment to help manage their discomfort and painful symptoms. Accordingly, theoretical as well as empirical research regarding neck pain is gaining an increased amount of attention. For the past decade, research has specifically focused on identifying factors that indicate the onset of neck pain. Furthermore, clinical trials are being continuously conducted to determine if various types of treatments can effectively reduce neck pain or completely alleviate the symptoms.
Due to the complex structure of the neck and cervical spine, neck pain can develop from a variety of issues. The degeneration of muscle or tissue in the neck, which may gradually occur over time, often causes neck pain. Ligament, muscle, or joint damage in the neck are also among the primary causes of acute or persistent neck pain. Even though these types of problems commonly result in neck pain, sometimes the source cannot be accurately identified. The cervical spine is the highest portion of the spine and it is connected to the base of the head. This spinal region appears to cause neck pain in the majority of cases. The cervical spine contains seven spinal bones called vertebrae, which are connected to each other by facet joints. The facet joints in the neck can easily become irritated, inflamed, or damaged. Fractured or dislocated spinal bones tend to cause neck pain as well, especially if these conditions are not treated. An additional condition that can lead to neck and back pain is stenosis. This is a condition in which the spine becomes compressed and causes the spaces between the spinal bones as well as the tissue that surrounds them to become very narrow. There are several common causes of stenosis. However, the primary cause is scar tissue formation on the spinal cord. In addition, neck pain may be the result of bulging disc syndrome, which causes discs that are located between the spinal vertebrae to push outward. This leads to the painful compression and irritation of spinal nerves. A similarly, common problem that causes neck and headache pain is whiplash, which refers to a quick jolt that causes the neck and head to jerk back and forth. Rollercoaster rides and car accidents are highly associated with the occurrence of whiplash. Whiplash has never proven to be fatal, although it can lead to persistent pain. An injury such as this damages neck muscles, spinal bones, and the ligaments as the neck abruptly whips forward and backward. whiplash Various factors can increase a person’s risks of developing chronic neck pain. A few include gender, due to women being more susceptible to neck pain than men, having a frequent history of neck pain, a loss of function in the wrists or hands, cycling on a regular basis, a quality of life that is poor, frequent anxiety attacks or stress, and age, especially for adults over 40.
The number of potential underlying issues that may result in neck and cervical pain warrant a thorough discussion of the specific symptoms that are being experienced with a doctor who can determine what the most appropriate treatment plan should be. Furthermore, as the incidence of neck pain continues to increase so does the amount of research regarding this health issue. More importantly, several current interventions that are typically used to help patients find neck pain relief have been studied extensively through empirical research. Clinically, it has been shown that the disabling symptoms and pain that may develop as a result of neck or cervical pain do not exclusively arise due to bodily injuries or illnesses. It is actually now understood that certain unexpected factors may also contribute to pain intensity and disability level. For instance, a patient’s feelings about the pain and personal beliefs regarding how disabilities are defined can influence the intensity of an individual’s pain and their level of mobility impairment. In addition, persistent pain can elicit an emotional response and cause psychological stress that can affect the amount of pain that is experienced as well. Therefore, individuals with major concerns regarding whether their neck pain will limit them long-term should speak with a doctor who can address their apprehensions. Once a thorough examination has been performed, the doctor can more specifically address questions about the neck pain prognosis as well as potential treatment options. Moreover, the doctor can offer helpful information and even educational pamphlets about this painful condition. However, if the pain in neck is not serious and has not resulted in mobility problems, a doctor will probably suggest that the patient slowly begin to engage in easy activities that were a part of the normal routine before the pain started.
Neck and cervical pain is a potentially disabling and common condition that affects different components of the cervical spine as well as the shoulders. Most individuals with this condition will experience neck pain at least one or more times during their lives. Neck pain may even result in dramatic functional impairments and mobility issues. Therefore, cervical pain has been associated with increased cases of disability that detrimentally affect an individual’s ability to function properly at work and at home. Moreover, neck pain tends to be recurrent and a specific event that causes neck pain increases the susceptibility of experiencing frequent neck pain. The degeneration of muscle or tissue in the neck, which may gradually occur over time, often causes neck pain. However, ligament, muscle, or joint damage due to injury is also a primary cause of acute or persistent neck pain. Even though these types of problems commonly result in neck pain, sometimes the source cannot be accurately identified.
Conventional treatments such as pain relievers, acupuncture, and physical therapy have repeatedly been shown to improve the symptoms of almost all patients who are suffering from pain in the cervical spine. These treatment approaches aim at increasing a patient’s limited range of motion and elasticity in the neck muscles. However, additional research should be conducted to investigate the relationship between psychological aspects (e.g., emotions) and the response to pain as this may also help doctors select the appropriate treatment.
Additional alternative as well as unconventional treatment approaches may also be performed for resistant pain. These include steroid injections, biofeedback training, and spinal cord stimulation with implants. Scar tissue removal may also be targeted through the use of specific techniques (e.g., vertebroplasty) that are minimally invasive. A number of novel approaches have demonstrated the ability to effectively reduce neck pain. Talking with a clinician is an important step in receiving the best medical care for your pain.