Our necks consist of seven interlocking bones, called vertebrae, separated by discs, giving our neck its stability as well as its freedom of movement. If you’re suffering from neck pain then you’re not alone; it’s more common than many people might think. And it can vary from a mild symptom that resolves itself after a few days to longer-term aches and pains.
What causes different types of neck pain?
Muscle strain can be caused by sitting for long periods at a computer, poor posture, and sleeping without adequate neck support. It can cause both dull and throbbing pains or sharp pains when moving your head.
Cervical disc degeneration, also called cervical spondylosis, occurs when the discs between the vertebrae begin to wear down and it is more common with ageing. Pain comes from the resulting friction between the vertebrae. If the condition worsens, the discs may bulge, exerting pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, causing greater pain that can radiate to shoulders and arms.
Neck injuries are most commonly caused by sporting impacts such as knocks and falls, diving, and from motor accidents. Torn ligaments, muscle damage, and pinched nerves are often the result.
Osteoarthritis is a typical cause of spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal which, like disc degeneration, applies pressure to the nerve roots.
There are a variety of non-invasive ways to treat your neck pain.
Placing warm or cold packs against the neck will minimise the pain.
Avoid any heavy lifting or playing contact sports as these will aggravate or worsen the condition.
Light exercise, such as gentle neck stretches, yoga or tai chi, can help to relieve the pain. For neck stretches, turn the head slowly to the right, and then the left, and only until you feel a gentle stretch. Hold that position for 10-30 seconds. A visit to a physical therapist or a chiropractor will provide more options for the treatment of your symptoms.
For more serious and ongoing pain, and in particular after an accident, or if suffering headaches, severe pain or fever, you should see your doctor for a diagnosis.
Tips for preventing neck pain.
Good posture is a simple but important preventative measure. When sitting at desks or at a computer, ensure your back is fully supported, your feet are on the floor, and change your sitting position regularly. When standing, maintain a straight and tall frame without slouching, keeping your shoulders back and your stomach pulled in.
It’s also important to ensure you have a supportive pillow for your neck, as well as a supportive mattress.
Take regular exercise, such as walking, running, and swimming. If playing contact sports, ensure you’re wearing suitable protective gear.
Never dive into shallow water, and always have your seatbelt adjusted when in the car.
Following these tips will help prevent neck pain, or relieve an existing condition. For further assistance, contact us at Melville Wellness Centre on (08) 9314 2777 to find out how our friendly team can help.