Today’s youth often experience severe neck pain or stiffness because they constantly study or play on their PCs, etc. Poor posture due to working non-stop can cause extreme cervical pain. Generally, neck pain is not a severe condition and lasts for only a few days, but in some cases, it could result in a severe injury.
Support to your head is provided by your neck’s bones, ligaments, and muscles. These allow for motion. Neck pain or stiffness can be because of any abnormality, inflammation, or injury. Numerous people often experience neck pain. Most of the time, cervical pain is from poor posture, overuse, or sleeping in an uncomfortable position. It can also be caused by injury from an accident or by playing sports.
Mostly, neck pain is not severe and can be relieved within a few days. But sometimes, a neck injury can be serious, and you might require a doctor’s care.
Seek medical attention immediately if you are facing neck pain that continues for more than a week.
Symptoms of Neck Pain
In some cases, neck pain may be mild, but in others, it may become chronic and cause disability. The symptoms of neck pain can vary in severity and duration, which include-
- Stiffness- Cervical pain can cause a reduced range of motion which may result in feeling as though the neck is stiff or stuck.
- Pain- Sometimes, neck pain may feel sharp, or you may experience stabbing pain that is specific to one area. When you move, twist, or extend your cervical spine up and down, neck pain may exacerbate. It may also increase whenever your cervical spine is palpated.
- Numbness- If your condition involves the compression of any nerve, you may experience a tingling feeling, numbness, or weakness in either of your hands. The cervical pain you face may radiate to your head, trunk, shoulder, and hands. Sometimes neck pain is caused due to a pinched nerve which may feel like a burning pain that begins from the neck and travels down the arm.
- Headaches- A headache that is caused due to neck pain is known as a cervicogenic headache. However, if you have a severe headache and are also experiencing neck pain at the same time, it may be because of a migraine.
If you experience any of these symptoms, consult a doctor.
Causes of Cervical Pain
People face neck pain or stiffness because of a variety of reasons, such as:
- Muscle tension and strain: Muscle tension and strain are caused due to several activities like-
- Bad posture
- Working without changing position
- Sleeping in an uncomfortable position
- Exercising while jerking your neck
- Injury: The neck is not very strong and prone to injuries, especially during car accidents, sports, etc. It is vulnerable to injuries, especially in conditions where the muscles and ligaments of the neck have to move outside their normal range.
If the cervical vertebrae are fractured, it can lead to damage to the spinal cord as well. Whiplash is a common neck injury usually because of jerking the neck very quickly.
- Heart attack: Cervical pain can be a symptom of a heart attack. If your neck is hurting and you have other symptoms of a heart attack, such as shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, vomiting, etc., call up emergency medical services without delay.
- Meningitis: You may experience neck pain if you have meningitis. It is an inflammation of the thin tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Other symptoms of meningitis include a stiff neck, headache, nausea, fever, etc. It is a medical emergency. Therefore, if you face any symptoms of meningitis, you must seek medical help immediately.
Conditions that Cause Cervical Pain
- Rheumatoid arthritis- When pain, swelling of the joints, and bone spurs occur in the neck area, neck pain can be caused.
- Osteoporosis- It weakens your bones and can result in a small fracture. In some cases, this condition can occur in the neck.
- Fibromyalgia- It leads to muscle pain throughout the body, particularly in the neck.
- Spondylosis- The degeneration of cervical discs is known as spondylitis or osteoarthritis. It can narrow the space between the vertebrae and increase joint tension.
- Spinal stenosis- It happens when the spinal column narrows, which creates pressure on the spinal cord. It can cause immense pain in your neck. It can be due to long-term inflammation.
In some rare conditions, neck pain occurs due to-
- Congenital abnormalities
Most people worldwide experience cervical pain due to poor posture and muscle strain. It is because of the working conditions among the youth of today. To prevent neck pain, practice good posture and rest your neck muscles whenever you feel sore. If the pain is chronic, consult a doctor, as delay in treatment may cause severe complications.