How To Deal With Neck Pain
Neck pain or having a stiff neck is actually quite a common problem and usually there is no need to worry. Neck pain and stiffness will generally get better within a couple of days and it isn’t a sign that there is something serious going on.
A painful neck can occur if you sleep in an awkward position, if you are sitting in a draft, or you sit at a computer for long periods of time. Anxiety and/or stress can also lead to tension and neck pain.
Treatment for Neck Pain at Home
Whatever cause is behind your neck pain the advice remains the same. Keep on with your normal day-to-day activities and stay active. Take painkillers if you need to for relief of your symptoms. In addition, you can:
> Avoid wearing a neck collar unless prescribed by a doctor
> Check your posture – bad posture can lead to a neck ache
> Don’t drive until the pain and stiffness is gone as the inability to turn your neck can be a hazard
> Place a hot water bottle or heat pack to your neck, which can help to reduce the pain and muscle spasms.
> Sleep on a firm, low – don’t use two pillows because can force your neck into an unnatural position
> Take ibuprofen or other NSAIDs as directed to control pain
> Try to do simple neck exercises
When You Should See a Doctor
You should see a doctor if your neck pain or stiffness doesn’t get better in a couple of days and you are concerned or if you are unable to control your pain using OTC treatments. You should also see your doctor immediately if you have been in any type of accident such as skiing accident, bike accident, car accident, etc.
Your doctor will examine your neck; ask you a number of questions to rule out any underlying condition that could be serious. Your doctor can also prescribe stronger painkillers to help relieve your pain and he/she may recommend you see a physiotherapist.
Bone or Nerve Problems in the Neck
Occasionally neck pain can be the result of wear and tear of the joints or bones in the neck leading to cervical spondylosis, which is a form of arthritis. This occurs naturally with age and there isn’t always symptoms although there can be stiffness in the neck. If the nerves in the area become squashed, it can lead to pins and needles, pain radiating down the arm or numbness in the hand, arm, or leg. This is called cervical radiculopathy and it is often because you have held your neck in an awkward position, twisted, or used power tools that vibrate.
A Locked or Twisted Neck
Sometimes a person will wake up only to find that their neck is twisted to one side and stuck that way. This is called acute torticollis and it happens if the neck muscles are injured. It’s often the result of long exposure to a cold draft or if you neck is in an unusual position for a long period of time. This can take up to a week but usually will bring relief within 48 hours.