Neck pain is a widespread problem. It often appears because of keeping one`s head in an uncomfortable position for a long time; especially by twisting it up and turning your head. Various aged people have it but mostly 40-60 years old.
The pain itself is often repeated and brings a lot of problems; such as, limiting movements in the neck, one can even feel it in an arm. There can often be numbness in the hands especially at night.
Other More Serious Issues
Another serious problem is dizziness and sometimes even problems with balance and unsteady gait. Luckily, it doesn’t happen very often. This happens because of irritation or compression of the vertebral arteries inside the neck. The blood gets running through the back of the brain, where the centers of body coordination are located. Such conditions are called vertebral artery syndrome.
Rough rotatory head movements are not particularly recommended. However, gentle movements can be useful, such as “air” writing letters and words with the tip of the nose. It is very good to draw an infinity sign. These movements must be done very slowly and smoothly, without provoking an increase in neck pain. Put it another way, any sudden movements of the head should be avoided.
Reminder: I just want to say that I am a patient, not a doctor. What I am sharing comes largely from what my doctors taught me and what I have discovered in my own searching.
I am sharing to hopefully help you be informed enough to support friends with this syndrome or possibly acquire informed questions for your doctor. Please talk with your doctor or visit the Mayo Clinic website for official information, diagnosis, and treatment.
In no case, should you allow anyone to perform any maneuvers on your neck such as massage, stretching, etc.
Until you have an MRI and no discal hernia is found, maneuvers on the neck are not allowed by any specialists, manual therapists, nor physiotherapists. Manipulation is especially dangerous for patients who have a hernia in contact with the spinal cord or when the spinal cord is squeezed by a hernial bulging.
People over 40 often have osteophytes in the cervical spine. These spinal bone outgrowths direct themselves towards the spinal cord. If you make maneuvers on the neck, this can lead to damage of the spinal cord with irreparable consequences.
Regardless of where you work and your lifestyle, you can get rid of the cause of pain in the neck. Get rid of bad habits, doing exercises for the neck and properly organizing the workplace. If attacked by sharp neck pain, do the following:
- Wear a neck collar made of special foam materials. You should choose its size so that there is no over-extension of the cervical spine, as this will entail increased pain.
- During the first hours, attach ice wrapped in a towel, or an ice bubble.
- Warm-up after the ice has slightly decreased inflammation, starting with a warm heating pad and ending with a hot shower. Do not over cool after a water treatment!
- Use warming rubbing, but not at the same time as heating pads.
- Take aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, 2 tablets 3-4 times a day after meals.
A set of exercises that relieve neck pain:
- Slowly tilt your head forward, then back.
- Keep your shoulders still. Slowly tilt your head first to one and then to the other shoulder.
- Slowly turn your head from side to side.
- Place your palm on the side of your head, and with the palm of your other hand, push towards the first. Hold for 5 seconds, then relax. Repeat 3 times on one side and the other.
- Do the same exercise, but only by tilting your head forward, showing your palms on your forehead, slight resistance to tilting your head. Putting your palms on the back of your head, show slight resistance to tilting your head back.
- Holding a load of 1.5-2 kg in your hands down, lift your shoulders as if shaking them.
Do each exercise 5 times twice a day. Perform the first 3 exercises for 2 weeks before proceeding to the rest. This workout complex will help to strengthen and relieve the spasm of the neck muscles. Thus, take care of yourself. But do not postpone the solution to the problem of neck pain for a long time.
Bed Position for Neck Pain
Your position in bed is also of great importance when treating neck pain. If the mattress is not orthopedic, place a shield or board under it to prevent excessive bending and extension of the neck. But as soon as you can, it is advisable to buy an orthopedic mattress.
- Sleep with a small down pillow under your head.
- When you lay on your side, it is better to put a not very thick roller on the pillow. It should fill the so-called arch formed by the lines of the shoulder, neck, and head. In this position, the cushion will help maintain a physiological straight position for the neck without subjecting it to bending, extension or lateral tilt.
- On your side, the cervical spine will be located on the cushion, and as a result, the spine, neck, and head will be as if on the same line.
- When lying on your back, it is also good to put such a roller under your neck. You can sew it by yourself, it should not be very hard.
When having significant levels of pain, temporarily limit movement in the neck. A special neck collar would be beneficial and recommended. For the first time, you can make it yourself out of cardboard; covering it with a soft cloth from the inside, and attaching ribbons so that it can be tied behind.
Naturally, all the recommendations above are only the first medical self-help. If the pain continues, you should consult a specialist neurologist or orthopedist involved in spinal pathology. But even if the pains have passed after the implementation of these recommendations, and in the recent past you have already had episodes of such pain more than once, you need to consult a specialist doctor and have an MRI of the cervical spine to exclude serious pathology requiring special treatment.