Neck pain is a common complaint and you have surely experienced it at least once. Most of the common causes of neck pain have relatively simple solutions. However, you need to know what is causing your pain to treat it properly. If you experience neck pain, learn about the causes and consult a doctor for an accurate diagnosis.
This is the most common cause cause of neck pain and results from overusing a muscle, muscle fatigue or improper muscle use. When you wake up with pain in the neck, this is typically the cause. A cold compress, heat pack and over-the-counter medications are typically adequate for controlling the pain. However muscle strains can also be severe enough to need immediate attention from your doctor. Some common symptoms that can be experienced with a muscle strain include:
- Limited range of neck movement
- Muscle spasm
- Weakness of the arms
- Muscle soreness
If your symptoms persist for more than three days, becomes worse or if there was a significant traumatic injury, always seek medical attention.
As you get older, the joints in the neck start to degenerate. This leads to a slow onset annoying ache that many people learn to ignore. Unfortunately the degeneration will progress with time, getting more severe, sometime causing a sudden increase of pain. Weakness, numbness and pain of the arms can also be experienced when the nerves in the neck become affected. Muscle spasms in the shoulders and neck also tend to make the discomfort worse. Many people and even doctors attribute this to age and “wear and tear”, accepting that “nothing can be done” while it gets progressively worse. This is fortunately no longer true and it is important to seek proper preventive treatment as early as possible.
Herniated Disc in the Neck
A herniated disc in the neck can result from aging or trauma. When herniation occurs, the jelly-like substance inside the disc leaks out and can press on nearby structures. The symptoms that occur depend on the location of the nerve root that is being pressed on by the damaged disc:
- C4-C5: Shoulder weakness and pain
- C5-C6: Bicep weakness, tingling and numbness on the thumb side of your hand
- C6-C7: Tricep weakness, tingling and numbness in your middle finger
- C7-T1: Handgrip weakness and pain in the little finger side of your hand
If your neck pain is chronic and you experience any of the above symptoms, consult a doctor and good physiotherapist as soon as possible.