Neck Pain

What can cause Neck Pain?

Neck pain may be caused by many different things. Among the most common are muscle strains due to overuse during prolonged reading or bending over to look at your phone. Some other causes of neck pain may be caused by herniated disks and normal wear and tear due to the degeneration of the joint space that comes with aging.  These things may limit the range of motion and subsequently cause pain in the neck. Another common cause of neck pain is trauma sustained after a car accident or a fall. This leads to whiplash or straining of the muscles in the neck. Click here to learn more about more causes of neck pain.

What are the symptoms of Neck Pain?

  • Symptoms of neck pain include:
    • Stiffness
    • Tightness 
    • Soreness 
    • Headache 
    • Dizziness 
    • Muscle spasms 
  • Contact your doctor if you have any of these symptoms:
    • Nausea or vomiting 
    • Fever 
    • Trouble breathing
    • Numbness or tingling 
    • Inability to move your extremities 
    • Bladder or bowel dysfunction

How to diagnose Neck Pain?

Neck pain is diagnosed mainly by the patient’s history and physical exam. The medical provider will start by inspecting the neck and the shoulders, feeling along with the neck muscles and spine, testing the range of motion and reflexes. The strength and sensation of the surrounding muscles may also be evaluated. Imaging studies like an X-ray, CT scan, or MRI scan may also be done to provide better insight into what is causing the pain. 

How to manage Neck Pain?

The most common types of neck pain can be managed at home and will be relieved within 2 weeks. Some self-care remedies include over the counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen, Aleve, or Tylenol. In addition to this, by applying an ice pack and alternating it with a heating pad- you may be able to find relief and decrease inflammation. Home exercises are also a great way to gently stretch your neck muscles. To watch a video about stretching exercises that you could do at home, click here. Alternative treatments may include physical therapy, acupuncture, massage, or chiropractic care.  To watch a video about neck strengthening exercises for neck pain that you could use in addition to physical therapy, click here. If your neck pain is unrelenting, gets worse or if you have any of the symptoms above make an appointment with your medical provider to find out what treatment will work best for you.

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