Neck Pain

What is Neck Pain?

Neck pain is a common problem that is often caused by strained muscles as a result of an impact injury or poor posture although other serious conditions can cause neck problems such as osteoarthritis. Worn joints and nerve compression can also cause neck pain.

Neck pain, in most cases, will disappear after a few weeks of self-treatment although symptoms and problems can persist of the problem is severe.

The pain can be found in the joints and the soft tissue that is found in the neck area.

Diagnosing Neck Pain

Your doctor will discuss your medical history with you and will determine how painful it is and where the pain is located by asking several questions. They will then undertake a physical examination where the will check for tenderness, numbness and weakness in the muscles. They will also move the head in several directions to determine when the pain is caused but also the range of movement.

You might be asked to have a blood test in order to rule out any other problems but to also find out whether there is evidence of inflammatory or infectious conditions present. Imaging tests might be required such as X-ray, CT Scan or an MRI scan might be required to identify the problem and the area that needs treating while also being able to identify the cause of the problem.

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Treating Neck Pain

There are several forms of treatments that can be used to treat neck pain. Patients can be given painkillers including Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory drugs to help ease the pain and reduce inflammation while muscle relaxants can also be prescribed.

If further treatment is required then physiotherapy can be used to help improve posture, while also utilising a number of treatments to help ease the pain and prevent the problem of re-occurring. The pain can be relieved through the use of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation while in some cases, short term immobilisation might be required, where a soft collar has to be worn.

In some instances, patients can be given a steroid injection near the affected area to help with the pain while surgery could be an option in some cases such as nerve compression or spinal cord compression.

Managing Neck Pain

Patients can manage the problem at home with over the counter painkillers and through alternating hot and cold treatments. There are exercises that can be used to gently stretch the muscles and other soft tissues located in the neck.

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Neck Pain FAQs

How to get rid of neck pain?

Relieving your neck pain as quickly as possible will depend on the cause. You may be prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication to help reduce swelling and pain. You may also be given muscle relaxants that can also quickly ease the problem. Depending on your condition, you may need physiotherapy to help strengthen your neck and steroid joint injections to reduce pain and inflammation.

How to get rid of neck pain from sleeping wrong?

Waking up regularly with neck pain can indicate that you are sleeping incorrectly. There are some common causes for waking up with neck pain, such as leaving a window open at night. The cold air from outside can cause the muscles in your neck to stiffen up. Immediate treatments to relieve pain and swelling can include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, physiotherapy, and steroid joint injections.

How to help neck pain?

To help relieve neck pain, you can be prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, muscle relaxants, or steroid joint injections. Your doctor may also give you a neck brace or collar to help support your neck while your treatments take effect. It can help to sleep on your side with a pillow supporting your head and neck to help keep your spine straight. You can also develop neck pain from sleeping on your stomach or using a pillow that is too thick or stiff. Your doctor can also show you how to perform some gentle neck stretches to help release tension in your neck.

What Causes Pain on the Left Side of the Neck?

Pain occurring on the left side of the neck can be due to many different causes. It could be a pinched nerve in your neck or muscle strain. In most cases, the cause isn’t serious. You may have slept in an odd position where your head was at an angle that strains the muscles and tendons in the left side of your neck. The pain will usually subside on its own with rest and over the counter pain killers. However, if the pain persists for longer than a week, see your GP.

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