Understanding Pain in the Neck

Neck pain is one of the top reasons for doctor visits in the United States.  While each person may experience the symptoms of neck pain in unique ways, there are some very common pain features associated with conditions affecting the neck.

Neck Pain Symptoms

Rather than a definitive medical condition, neck pain is actually a symptom. The physical complaint may be one of pain, stiffness, weakness or numbness in or surrounding the neck area.  This indicates to doctors that something is wrong with the vertebrae, muscles, nerves, ligaments or tendons in the neck. Understanding the symptoms associated with neck pain and more importantly, when to seek help for them is crucial.

In medical terms, the section of seven vertebrae that makes up the neck portion of the spine is called the cervical spine. Unlike other areas of the spine, the vertebrae in the neck are much more mobile and designed for rotation. Uniquely tasked with supporting the skull which can weigh up to 15 pounds, the neck has more limited muscle and ligament support than the rest of the spine, which can also make it more prone to injury from h2 and sudden movements. There is a wide range of conditions that can affect the cervical spine and thus, a number of neck pain symptoms that may arise as a result.

Sometimes, the symptoms associated with pain in the neck can start gradually and build up over time. In other cases, the neck pain symptoms can be sudden as in the case of a traumatic injury or accident. Getting to the bottom of what is causing the neck pain is crucial for your doctor to determine the best course of treatment for it. Usually, your physician will evaluate your neck pain symptoms based on how the pain started (whether it was gradual or sudden), what the pain is triggered or worsened by (injury, physical exertion, stress or poor posture, for example,) and whether the neck pain is accompanied by any additional symptoms including stiffness or a decreased range of neck motion, a feeling of weakness in the muscles surrounding the neck, tingling or numbness in the shoulder, arm, hands or fingers, a loss of coordination or balance, headaches and in some severe cases, even the loss of bladder or bowel control.

No matter the symptoms associated with any type of neck pain, getting to the bottom of what is causing it is crucial. People suffering from neck pain symptoms should seek immediate medical attention if the pain is severe, followed by an accident or injury, is accompanied by an otherwise unexplained fever, headache or pain or tingling or numbness that radiates to the limbs as these can be signs of more serious neck pain conditions that require prompt attention.

Even if the pain isn’t accompanied by other symptoms, people who are suffering from chronic pain in the neck (pain that has lasted for three months or longer), a proper diagnosis is key to ensuring that the condition causing the pain doesn’t worsen or place undue stress or damage on the rest of the spine.

No matter how it is being felt, pain in the neck isn’t normal and no one should be prevented from living an active and healthy life because of it. If you or someone you know needs help in resolving neck pain symptoms once and for all, the expert team at BASIC has the vast experience, advanced-training and specialty qualifications to help.

Health Tips For Neck

  • Stretch & Exercise Neck Muscles
  • Sleep on your back & consider a cervical neck pillow
  • Use proper posture & position computer screen at eye level
  • Don’t hold telephone between ear and shoulder
  • Carry weight evenly – no heavy bags or satchels on one side of body

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