Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Causes of Neck Pain

Pain in neck is a common occurrence these days. Any of the tissue in the neck is affected by disease and causes pain. Common diseases affecting neck are degenerative disk disease, herniated disk, neck injury, neck strain, fibromyalgia. Some infections causes pain in the neck such as viral infection of throat, tuberculosis of neck, osteomyelitis, septic discitis, and meningitis.
drthind_neck pain
Cervical spondylosis is an age related wear and tear of spinal disks in the neck. Pain and stiffness is the main symptom in cervical spondylosis. Cervical spondylosis narrows the space through which nerve roots passes. If the compression of nerve roots is severe then the damage can be permanent.
Pain around the shoulder blade is a common symptom. Pain may come in arm and fingers that may increase on standing, sitting, backward tilting of neck, sneezing or coughing. Pain is accompanied by muscle weakness which makes it difficult to raise the arms or hold object firmly, stiff neck, headache, tingling or numbness in arms or legs. Loss of bowel or bladder control is a symptom that occurs less frequently.
As age progresses, wear and tear occurs in bones and cartilages. Cervical spondylosis is a result of this wear and tear of bones such as dehydrated disk, herniated disk, bone spurs and stiff ligaments.Besides increasing age other risk factors causing cervical spondylosis are occupations demanding lots of overhead work and wrong posture, neck injuries and genetic factors.
Self care:
• Regular exercise.
• Apply heat or cold to the painful area and see what gives you relief.
• Wear soft neck brace for a short period of time as prolong use weakens neck muscles.
Ankylosing spondylitis is a chronicinflammation of spine and sacroiliac joints. Chronic inflammation results in pain and stiffness in and around the spine. Ankylosing spondylitis leads to complete fusion of vertebrae and results in immobility of spine. Ankylosing spondylitis can also affect other tissues in body hence it is also called systemic disease. Ankylosing spondylitis is more common in men than women. Ankylosing spondylitis is genetically inherited disease.
Inflammation of spine results in pain and stiffness in neck, low back, upper buttock area. Onset of symptoms in ankylosing spondylitis is gradual, symptoms progressively worsens with loss of range of mobility over months. Pain and stiffness is worse in morning or after long rest.
Ankylosing spondylitis affects joints other than spine. Inflammation in tissues of bottom of foot is a common occurrence in people with Ankylosing spondylitis. Occasionally joints of toes, cartilage of breastbone and tendons get involved. Other than joints Ankylosing spondylitis also affects eyes, heart and kidneys.
Self care:
• Avoid smoking. Ankylosing spondylitis affect mobility of rib cage, smoking damage lungs therefore ability to breathe is further compromised.
Whiplash is injury to neck when the neck is moved backward and forward very suddenly. Whiplash injury can be mild or severe. In whiplash muscles and ligaments of neck are extended beyond its range of motion. Whiplash causes pain in neck, stiffness and discomfort, pain at base of skull and dizziness. Less common symptoms are difficulty in concentration, memory problems, ringing in the ears, disturbed sleep, irritability. Recovery from whiplash occurs within few weeks to two to three months, depending on the severity.
Self care:
• Apply heat or cold pack to affected area. Ice reduces inflammation and should be used in early recovery period. Heat is helpful in relaxing muscles.
• Exercise regularly after controlling pain to restore range of motion of neck.
Torticollis is a condition when neck is painfully twisted and tilted. In torticollis neck twists to one side causing the head to tilt. Muscles of neck and shoulder become tense and tender and there is abnormal contraction of muscle at one side of neck, hence resulting in tilting of head to one side. Other symptoms may include shoulder pain, back pain, neck camps, headache, burning sensation and muscle tightness. Torticollis can develop slowly if there is family history or the condition can develop acutely due to trauma or adverse reaction to medications. Doctor will check nerve and motor function to rule out spinal cord injury.
Polymyalgia rheumatica affects various parts of body. Polymyalgia rheumatica is an inflammatory disorder that commonly affects shoulder, neck, arm, thighs and hips. Symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatica are pain and stiffness in affected area, limited range of motion in affected area, mild fever, fatigue, and loss of appetite.
Pain and stiffness causes difficulty in performing daily activities like getting dressed, bathing, combing hair, getting up from sitting position.
Self care:
• Calcium and vitamin supplements.
• Physical therapy.
• Limit salt in diet to prevent fluid buildup and high blood pressure.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder. Normally our immune system is made of complex organization of cells and antibodies that destroy invaders of the body, mainly infections. In autoimmune diseases there are antibodies in the blood that target body’s own healthy tissues. In rheumatoid arthritis inflammation of joint occurs in addition with inflammation in tissues around joint. Other organs in the body also get inflamed and injured. Multiple other organs of body get affected; hence the disease is also called systemic illness or rheumatoid disease. The exact cause of autoimmunity in rheumatoid arthritis is unknown. It is thought to be genetically inherited. Normally a bone joint allows smooth movement of body parts. Arthritis results in swelling, pain, stiffness and redness in joints. In chronic cases destruction of cartilage, bone and ligaments occur that result in deformity of joint.
Women are at more risk of having rheumatoid arthritis then men. Rheumatoid arthritis can occur at any age; most common occurrence is between 40 and 60 years. When rheumatoid arthritis occurs in children it is called juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. When any family member is affected with rheumatoid arthritis then the risk of having the disease increases.
Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis come and go, depending on the degree of inflammation of tissues. The disease is said to be active when the body tissues are inflamed, disease is inactive when inflammation subsides. During the inactive period symptoms disappear and the patient generally feels well. During the active phase of disease patient experience symptoms like pain in joint, joint becomes tender, inflamed and warm, muscle and joint stiffness in morning and after long rest, joints are affected in symmetrical pattern, fatigue, loss of energy, fever and lack of appetite.
Self care:
• Maintain healthy bodyweight.
• Eat diet rich in calcium and iron.
• Plenty of fruits and vegetables.
• Cut down intake of fat and sugar.
• Take rest during pain.
• Walking, cycling and swimming are good exercises.
• Apply heat or cold: warmth helps in relaxing tense and painful muscles. Cold reduces muscle spasm and it may dull the pain.
Exercise to relieve neck pain fast:
1. Neck retraction:
Sit down comfortably and bring the head straight back, keep the eyes on horizon. Return to initial position and repeat 10 times.
2. Head drop:
Retract your neck. Move head up and then backwards and stretch as far as you can do comfortably.
3. Side bend:
Place the right hand over head and with the help of hand move head towards right shoulder. When a stretch is felt on left side of neck, stop and return to neutral position. Repeat this exercise 5 times on each side.
4. Rotation:
Bring head neck retraction position and turn your head to right side. Return to neutral. Repeat 5 times in each direction.
5. Flexion:
Do neck retraction, clasp hands behind the head and guide the head forwards and downwards. When a stretch is felt at the back of neck stop stretching and return to starting position. Repeat it 5 times.
6. Shoulder blade pull:
Raise arms, bend at elbow to make 90 degree angle, keep the arms and neck still draw shoulder blades close together so that muscles between shoulder blades are squeezed. Relax and repeat it 5 times.