Pain In The Neck? It Might Be Serious
If you’re experiencing neck pain, you’re not alone. It is very common. In fact, two out of three people will experience acute, sudden-onset, neck pain at some point in their life. Neck pain can be severely painful and mobility limiting, but most types can be treated with minimal and non-invasive therapies.
What’s Causing It?
Nonspecific neck pain (also known as “simple” or “mechanical” neck pain) includes pain that develops in the neck and then spreads to the shoulder or base of the skull. It is usually caused by a small muscle strain or poor posture, which is why simple neck pain is seen more often in people with desk jobs who tend to hunch forward over computer keyboards. This type of neck pain usually improves on its own over the course of a few days to a few weeks. Some people develop chronic neck pain flare-ups that come and go and often benefit from a holistic approach to pain management and neck pain prevention.
Did You Simply Sleep Funny?
If you’ve ever woken up with a kinked neck or turned your head quickly and felt pain shoot through your neck, you may have experienced sudden-onset torticollis. Torticollis (which literally means “twisted neck”) or “wry neck” can be caused by sleeping in a poorly aligned position, carrying unbalanced loads, or even just a sudden turn of the head. Like nonspecific neck pain, the pain usually subsides and goes away over the course of a few days. If you experience torticollis, you should gently try to exercise your neck so it doesn’t stiffen up. Heat packs can also help shorten your recovery time.
Or Was It Caused By An Accident or Injury?
More serious injury like whiplash can also cause neck pain and stiffness to the point where moving the head at all is difficult. You might feel pain across your shoulders, headaches, and even dizziness or blurred vision. These symptoms usually go away after a few days, but talk to a doctor if they persist.
This is Your Body. Take It Seriously. Invest In It.
Since neck pain can also be a symptom of more serious illness or injury, seek medical care if your neck pain comes with loss of strength or numbness in your arms or hands, if you feel shooting pain that moves from your neck into your shoulder or arm, or if your neck pain persists more than a few weeks. If you experience any symptoms like this, you should see a physiatrist immediately.