Neck pain is basically a temporary condition that is caused by injuries or certain disorders that cause discomfort or limit the motion. The neck is comprised of vertebrae that starts at the upper torso and ends at the base of the skull. Unlike with the rest of the spine, the neck is not fully protected and can be vulnerable to injuries. In some cases, neck pain must be diagnosed by a doctor and appropriate treatments are provided to relieve the symptoms.
Causes of neck pain
Neck pain can be due to abnormalities in the ligaments, muscles and the nerves as well as the bones and disks in the spine. The common causes of neck pain are abnormalities to the soft tissues due to injuries or extensive wear and tear conditions. In rare circumstances, tumors or infections can lead to pain. For some individuals, neck problems are the source of pain in the shoulders, upper back or arms.
- Injuries can easily damage the neck since it is flexible and vulnerable to injury since it supports the head. Vehicular accidents, falls and contact sports can result to injuries in the neck. This is the reason why it is important to use seat belts when driving to prevent or minimize the risk for injuries. During a rear end vehicular collision, it can result to hyperextension which is the backward motion of the neck more than its normal limits or hyperflexion which is the forward motion beyond the normal limits. Common neck injuries typically involve the soft tissues. In severe injuries that involves dislocation or fracture; it can damage the spinal cord resulting to paralysis.
- Cervical disk degeneration occurs among individuals 40 years old and above. In this condition, the center of the disk between the bones in the neck degenerates and the space between the vertebrae narrows.
When to seek medical care?
If there is severe neck pain right after an injury, the medical team will immobilize the individual to minimize the risk for further injury and possible paralysis. Always remember that falls, vehicular and diving accidents require emergency assistance.
Immediate medical care is also required in any injury that causes pain in the neck that radiates to the arms and legs. The radiating numbness or pain in the legs or arms resulting to weakness without remarkable neck pain must be checked.
If the neck pain is severe, continuous, persistent, accompanied by radiating pain on the legs or arms as well as headaches, tingling and numbness, it is best to seek medical care.
Majority of individuals typically seek orthopedic care when it comes to neck pain since these are specialists who are specifically trained to diagnose, treat and help prevent problems involving the bones, muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments in the neck.