Cervical Spine Injury And Pain In The Neck Area

pain in the neck Cervical spine injury, is a term that refers to damage to the small circular bones in the neck, known as vertebrae, which are piled on top of each other. Between every vertebra is a spongy disc that cushions the spine and allows it to be flexible.

On the vertebrae, muscles and ligaments are found between and some are attached to it. These muscles and ligaments work together to move the spine as you move. Then there are nerves from the spinal cord passing to the vertebra and branching out to the neck, arms, shoulders and the chest.

Cervical Spine Injury and Neck Pain

A lot of people experience neck pain at some point in their lives. One of the many causes could involve the cervical spine injury.

Pain in the neck can be felt after an accident. Repeated injuries to the neck can result in the degeneration of the cervical spine leading to chronic neck pain. Usually, the recovery from any neck injuries is based on the condition of the cervical spine.

Other possible causes of neck discomfort can be a lack of exercise or poor posture.  In fact, poor posture plays an important role in causing pain in the neck.

Pain in the Neck Area

Having a poor posture puts the head forward causing too much stress on the muscles of the neck and to the shoulders. With this, muscles will contract and can result in discomfort. Even worse, it can lead to cervical spine injury as well.

People who have jobs that entail long hours in one position place a great deal of stress on the cervical spine. This can lead to symptoms such as tight muscles, neck pain and a stiff neck.

When to Seek Help for Cervical Spine Injury

If you are experiencing pain in the neck, when is the right time to schedule for a doctor’s appointment? When is the right time to call for help?

Call your doctor if you think that the pain is sudden or if it gets worse and persist for several weeks. Seek immediate medical care if the pain radiates down to your arms or legs or if you start to experience weakness.

What Will Your Doctor Do?

When you visit a doctor’s clinic, what can you expect? The first thing that doctor’s would do is to take your medical history by asking you questions like: When did the pain started? What activities did you do? What are the remedies that you have done to alleviate the pain? Your medical history will also indicate if you have been on a traumatic situation like a car accident that may result in soft tissue injuries to the neck.

The doctor will then perform physical and neurological exams to determine if there is a limited movement in your neck or cervical spine. Your doctor may evaluate your posture, observing for possible causes of your pain. Neurological exams are done to test the muscles reflexes and strength and to determine if there are any nerve changes or damage.

To assist in obtaining a diagnosis and to determine the cause of the pain, certain imaging tests may be done. The health care practitioner may request an x-ray to further evaluate the condition of your cervical spine injury and to look for any wear and tear in the neck bones or for signs of cervical spine degeneration. They may also perform a computerized axial tomography, also known as CAT scan, or an MRI test to check for any herniated or bulging discs.

Diagnosing a cervical spine injury can be challenging since there are a lot of possible causes of pain in the neck, the symptoms are basically the same. Thus, it might be best to see a spine specialist who will diagnose your problem and help you choose the best treatments.

Morning Neck Stiffness

sleep posture for neck acheNeck ache upon wakening and finding that you cannot move your neck, is that familiar? Sleeping in a wrong position or using a thick pillow can leave you with a pain in the neck. The pain from your stiff neck can range from mild to tormenting, and it may stay with you all day.

The relief for a sore neck is to prevent it in the first place. Here are some things that you can do to avoid waking up with a stiff and sore neck.

Pillows to the Rescue to Prevent Neck Ache!

Sleep with a pillow . When you sleep without a pillow, your neck will not get the support that it needs during the night. Your neck will carry all the weight of the head, which results in straining of the neck muscles. Sleeping with at least one pillow is a great first step in preventing morning neck stiffness.

Limit the quantity of pillows. Sleeping with two or more pillows will increase the chance for you to experience neck ache in the morning. Why? When you stack your pillows to sleep on that will create an imbalance between your spine and neck throwing them out of good alignment. You’ll be sure to wake up with a pain in your neck.

Find a supportive pillow. All pillows are not made equally. Some pillows may give the best head and neck support while others are totally worthless.

The best neck pillows to prevent neck ache are those with medium firmness and new stuffing. It is even better if you can get a contoured cercical neck pillow that is purposely made to follow the curve of your neck and head.

Sleeping  To Prevent Morning Neck Ache

Your sleeping position has a lot to do with whether you’ll wake up with morning neck stiffness. The best sleeping positions that place the least amount of stress on your neck are sleeping on your side and on your back.

Sleeping on the side is the common position for a lot of people. When in this position, be sure that your pillow can support and keep your neck and shoulders relaxed. A pillow that is too high or too low can be uncomfortable.

To make this position even more comfortable and relaxing, place a small pillow in between your flexed knees. This will not only be comfortable but will provide more support to your back.

Sleeping on your back is another great position because it can support not only your head and neck but also the lower back area. If you use a cervical neck pillow, you provide a great support and stress relief on the cervical area.

Avoid sleeping on your stomach. This not only places stress on the neck, but also on your stomach muscles. When you’re in this kind of position, your head and neck is turned to one side of your body for long hours, causing stiffness not only in your neck, but also in your back.

Just a Stretch!

Ease tension in your neck by doing simple stretching exercises before sleeping. During the day, you are faced with a lot of stressors that keep your muscles tense, so if you do not take time to relax, you certain to feel neck ache in the night.

Stretching the neck can also help with pain. Place your hand on the side of your head and gently push your neck against the hand. Also, rotate your head in every direction- front, back, side to side, but not beyond your shoulder. Do this repeatedly for a count of five seconds.

During sleep, our body relaxes, heals and rejuvenates so find a position that is comfortable for you to get the best sleep at night while reducing your chance of waking up with neck ache in the morning.

Stiff Neck Treatment

stiff neck treatment Stiff Neck Treatment solutions take time, effort and research to find the proper care for anyone who suffers a long term stiff neck . Although this condition for some people is usually nothing serious, it can be uncomfortable and even painful and may lay you up from time to time. Fortunately, there are ways that may help alleviate that stiff neck safely and easily.

Cold Therapy and Heat Therapy Stiff Neck Treatment

You can put ice on the area as a stiff neck treatment to help decrease the pain and any inflammation. Ice works by numbing the area creating an analgesic, or pain-relieving effect. Hold an ice pack on your neck and keep it in place for 10 minutes. you can put ice onto your skin over the pain area by wrapping it in a towel if it is to uncomfortable. Freezing water in a paper cup, and applying this to the pain area is another way of doing it. Do not keep it there for too long three to five minutes at a time because nerve damage can occur. Use this ice therapy every two hours until the pain is gone.

You can use heat, such as a heating pad, to improve circulation and ease neck muscle stiffness by opening up blood vessels allowing blood flow. Remember to keep your heating pad set to “low” and be careful not to keep it on for too long to avoid burns.

Many people find it very effective to alternate between the cold therapy and the heat therapy. Use the cold for 10 minutes and then, about two hours later, use the heat. Continue that rotation until you feel relief.

Relax

Muscle tension can be triggered by stress. If you think stress is your problem, find ways you can reduce your stress using relaxation techniques.

Try going to a quiet place and sit or lie down with your eyes closed. Do this once every three hours for at least 30 minutes at a time to rest your muscles, de-stress and relieve tension.

When working, take frequent breaks. If your job requires you to be sitting for long hours or standing in an uncomfortable position, get up and walk for a few minutes every hour. Take the time to do some full-body stretches.

You can also take meditation or yoga classes. Try to develop your own methods of relaxation, like reading a book or listening to music. Do things you believe will work for you.

Get a Massage Its a Wonderful Stiff Neck Treatment

Massage is said to be effective in easing tensed muscles and is a great form of stiff neck treatment. And many people love them! Use an essential, tension-relieving oil such as eucalyptus spearmint massage oil and rub it on your neck using the fingers and applying moderate pressure. With the help of another person, massage your neck in long, downward strokes using firm pressure.

Good Posture

Posture plays a major role with neck pain. The head and spine should always be in balance and properly aligned. When you have a poor posture, the neck curves forward resulting to a strained position.

Prevent stiff neck by improving your posture. Keep your chin in an appropriate level, stand with your back straight and feet flat on the floor. Picture a string running up through your body and being held taut to keep you upright.

Exercises as a Stiff Neck Treatment Solution

Range of motion exercises may be helpful in easing your stiff neck. Sit straight with muscles relaxed. Turn your head to the right, but don’t turn it past your shoulder, and hold it for 5 seconds, then return to the center. Do this exercise to the left side, also, again, not turning past your shoulder. Then drop your chin towards the chest slowly, hold it for a while and return back up. Range of motion exercises should be done three times a day, every day.

Pain Reliever

Over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen and aspirin can help in alleviating pain and inflammation.  But, it is still advisable to ask for your doctor’s advice regarding medications to make sure that it is safe for you as a pain and stiff neck treatment.

Sleep on a firm mattress

A stiff neck can be cause by bad sleeping positions, or the wrong kind of pillow or mattress. Use a firm mattress when sleeping and be sure that your head is kept aligned with the spine. Avoid sleeping on your stomach and don’t use pillows that are too thick.

A lot of our everyday habits can lead to suffering a stiff neck. Hopefully, you have found something in this article to help you keep your neck flexible and pain-free.

Stiff Neck Stretches

stiff neck stretchesNeck stretches is just one way of reducing the risk for stiffness and stress. Day to day routines like working on computers or watching television, poor posture and injury can result in tightening of the neck muscles, causing a stiff neck. A stiff neck can be very painful. Daily stretching exercises can help loosen up those tight muscles.

Let’s Stretch!

The best thing about these exercises is that you don’t have to wait for the right time and right place. These neck stretches can be done wherever you are; working, watching television or cooking in the kitchen. If you do neck stretches on a regular basis, they will really help to loosen and stretch the muscles in your neck.

Neck Twist

As you breathe in, turn your neck gently to the right side and look over your right shoulder, stay in that position for five seconds. Then, come back to the center slowly and do the same thing on the left side. This stretch exercise should be done 10 times on both sides. Do not turn your head beyond your shoulder to avoid injuring your neck.

Forward and Backward Tilt Neck Stretches

For a forward and backward tilt, it is somehow alike to the neck twist but the range of motion is forward and backward. Do this by standing straight, and slowly bend your neck forward while tucking your chin in. As you are doing this exercise make sure that your shoulders are stiff. Then, come back to the center and bend your neck to the back. Repeat this exercise for 10 to 12 times.

Head Rotation Neck Stretches

Stand straight, placing your hands on your waist. Without moving your shoulders, gradually bend your neck forward and slowly rotate it backwards completing one full circle. This exercise should be done clockwise and counterclockwise for 5 to 7 times. This head rotation is helpful in easing stiffness and pain on the neck.

Neck Pain-Buster

Neck pain buster is a neck exercise that is considered to be effective for a stiff neck. This is done while standing straight and rotating your head to the right side, keeping the shoulders down. Then, gradually lower your chin toward the collarbone. Next is to extend your right hand and place it on your left ear, and gently push your neck down. Release your hand slowly and do the same procedure on the left side.

The above exercises can also be done while sitting on a chair. Observe proper breathing techniques when doing the neck stretches.

Proceed With Caution When Doing Neck Stretches

Do these stretching exercises with caution. Always seek advice from your professional health care provider if your stiff neck still continues in spite of all the efforts you have done to correct it. If you have experience stiff neck for too long, it may be a chronic symptom. Remember that neck pain can be an indication of another health problem.

Also, take note that if you suffer from a spine problem, it is important to consult a health care professional before performing neck stretches. It is also recommended that these exercises must be done under the direction of a physiotherapist.

Suffering From Neck Pain?

suffering from neck painsNeck pain? Rest assured, you are not alone. Millions of Americans suffer from these conditions. In fact, up to two-thirds of us have neck pain at some point in our lives.

Neck pain is also known as “cervical pain”. It is felt in the neck area and within the structures of the neck from the muscles, nerves and to the vertebrae and the disks in between.

What Does It Feel Like Suffering From Neck Pain?

As a neck pain sufferer, you know what YOUR neck pain feels like. But you may also be wondering if what you feel is typical pain. Let’s look at what most common neck discomfort may feel like.

The pain is located in the neck area and there is stiffness of the neck muscles. The pain may radiate to certain areas particularly down to the shoulders, arms and hands or up into the head causing headaches. When touching the neck muscles, it feels hard and tense.  Suffering from neck pain is associated with nerves, numbness, tingling sensation and weakness of the extremities can be felt.

Three Types of Cervical Pain

Pain in the neck is classified into three types:

  • axial neck pain
  • myelopathy
  • radiculopathy

Axial neck pains are more on the musculoskeletal system thus there is pure soft tissue and neck pain. Myelopathy happens when there is too much pressure on the spinal cord thus can cause neck pain to occur. Lastly, radiculopathy where the nerves are compressed which could lead to arm and pain on the neck as well.

Acute vs. Chronic Neck Pain

The pain you feel can be either acute or chronic. Acute pain occurs immediately after injury. Usually, this condition can be treated within 7 to 10 days with ice, rest and over-the-counter pain reliever drugs. If symptoms would tend to continue for a few weeks, the help of a primary care physician is needed. With acute neck pains, your professional health carer would perform tests and do therapies like give anti-inflammatory and pain medications, acupuncture, injections and physical therapy.

On the other hand, chronic pain is described as neck pain than occurs from more than three months. If treatments and medications are not effective in treating the chronic pain, intense pain management and surgical interventions may be necessary.

Some Causes of Neck Pain

One of the primary causes of neck pain is stress. Even though you may have a stress free life, there are still stressors in our environment that can affect us, like chemical and physical stressor.

Chemical stress caused by chemicals and pollutants can seriously affect your overall health. Physical stress like wrong sleeping position, excessive fatigue, tedious movements and uncomfortable or abnormal neck positions can all lead to muscle strain and tension.

Secondly, neck pains can be caused by diseases or disorders to any of the tissues in the neck. Some common conditions are neck strain, neck injury and degenerative diseases. Some can be caused by infections like a throat virus infection which could lead to swelling and pain in the neck.

There are also conditions that can affect the neck muscles like fibromyalgia. Neck pains can also be caused by traumatic accidents or falls that causes neck injuries like fractures, blood vessel injury, whiplash and paralysis.

Risk Factors of Neck Pain

Perhaps the biggest risk factor is aging. As you get older, your neck is suffers from years of wear and tear. This causes conditions such as arthritis, which is common with age.

The occurrence of neck pain is also high if your occupation requires your neck to be in one position for a long period of time.