The neck is one of the most complex elements in our anatomical structure, and most importantly, it connects our head to our bodies. Over 20% of the population suffers from neck pain that interferes with their daily lives and impairs their mobility. So, what are the causes of neck pain, how is it diagnosed, and how can we treat it?
Short and sweet
While not as celebrated as other organs in the body, the neck is one of the most complex elements in our anatomical structure. In the neck, where the chest is connected to the skull, the spinal cord runs down all from the brain stem to the low back. It is also home to the esophagus, the trachea, and the voice box.
What causes neck pain?
The neck muscles are designed, among other things, to help the head rotate. Because of this flexibility, this complex system is the subject of many complaints, injuries, and aches.
Generally speaking, the neck is often subjected to heavy burdens from our bad posture (ask those who are on the computer all day, but other conditions like spinal cord issues can cause neck pain.
Only a medical examination will rule out serious illnesses. Still, the good news is that in many cases, neck pain is relatively simple to treat, even without the need for physical therapy.
How common is neck pain?
A study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 20 percent of people suffered from neck pain in the past three months before the study.
How is neck pain diagnosed?
After ruling out other problems such as cervical disc ruptures or multiple joint injuries, the most common diagnosis is muscle strain. Occasionally, your doctor will send you for x-rays or other imaging to rule out other problems.
How long does neck pain last?
The tension, which is due to muscle strain, can go away within a few days, but can also stay with you for a few weeks or more.
Can neck pain be dangerous?
If your neck pain is unbearable, you have a sharp stabbing sensation, or severe headaches, you should contact your doctor immediately.
How is neck pain treated?
In the case of neck pain, the most effective solution is to rest. But remember – resting doesn’t mean lying in bed all day, but rather keep moving but paying attention to what causes pain and what doesn’t. It’s also essential to correct our posture when we are working, standing, and driving.
Physical therapy exercises to correct your posture and strengthen your neck will also help. When working in front of a computer, multiple breaks, relaxation, and posture changes must be performed, along with the exercises.
Additionally, changing your workspace to ease tension from your back and neck is important, for example, adjusting your chair height to the height of your computer screen.
It is also advisable not to sleep on your belly, as this posture creates a strain on the neck muscles.
And this is an excellent opportunity to experiment with advanced pain relief technologies, most notably home appliances such as “Olynvolt™ Pocket,” a lightweight, simple, and user-friendly device.
How to avoid neck pain in the future?
- Pay close attention to your posture when working in front of a computer and change it occasionally.
- Stretching (sideways, forwards and backward) and circular head turns must be performed at a slow and controlled time. Another exercise: lifting the shoulders up or bringing the neck closer to them.
- During pain (and in general, if you have neck pain frequently), it is recommended to sleep with a special pillow for the neck.
- If possible, treat yourself to a gentle neck massage with a professional.
- Avoid activities such as sports when you are in pain.