Neck pain is pain that appears in the neck, can be on the back, left, right, or front of the neck. Neck pain can result from pulled neck muscles , pinched nerves, or calcification of the joints .
Neck pain or neck pain is generally not a serious condition that needs to be watched out for. This condition can heal in a few days or a few weeks without special treatment. Even so, neck pain can also occur due to certain diseases.
Causes of Neck Pain
Neck pain can be caused by disorders or abnormalities in the tissues in the neck, including:
1. Neck muscles tighten
Bending over, looking down, grinding your teeth frequently, or reading in bed can cause neck muscles to become tense. This condition will eventually cause neck pain.
2. Damage to the neck joints
In general, damage to the neck joints or cervical spondylosis results from osteoarthritis . This condition can cause thinning of the cartilage and calcification. Calcification of the neck bones can interfere with the movement of the neck joints and cause pain.
3. Pinched nerves
Neck pain due to a pinched neck nerve is known as cervical radiculopathy. This condition is caused by protruding bearings between the vertebrae ( hernia nucleus pulposus ).
4. Injury _
Injuries that cause neck pain can occur from traffic accidents, falls from heights, sports injuries, or blows to the face, upper head, or back of the head.
Apart from the four conditions above, several other medical conditions that can cause neck pain are:
- Infection in the neck
- Rheumatoid arthritis in the neck
- Narrowing of the spinal cord
- Torticollis , which is a disorder of the neck muscles that causes the head to lean in one direction, such as sideways or backwards
- Meningitis , which is an infection of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord
- Cancer around the neck or spine
Neck Pain Symptoms
A sore neck can be mild to severe. The pain can feel like pressure, sharp, or throbbing. The pain may get worse when you make certain movements, such as looking down, looking up, or turning your head, or when you touch it.
Apart from complaints of pain in the neck, there are other symptoms that can also appear, depending on the cause. These accompanying symptoms include:
- Difficulty moving the neck
- Difficult to swallow
- Pain in the face
- Shoulder pain
- Pain in the upper or lower back
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Hands numb or tingling
When to see a doctor
Examination by a doctor needs to be done immediately if complaints of neck pain arise after an injury, for example after a traffic accident or after a fall. Accidents can cause injury to the spinal cord causing pain in the neck .
A sore neck also needs to consult a doctor if it gets worse or doesn't improve with pain relievers. You also need to consult a doctor if neck pain is accompanied by the following symptoms:
- Nausea and vomiting
- A lump appears on the neck
- Arms or legs feel weak
- Hard to breathe
Diagnosis of Neck Pain
Initially, the doctor will ask about the patient's symptoms and medical history. After that, the doctor will do a physical examination, especially on the neck.
During the physical examination, the doctor will ask the patient to move his head forward, side or back, to determine the range of motion of the neck. If needed, the doctor can also carry out the following examinations:
Scans with X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs are done to check for abnormalities in the neck, such as pinched nerves or osteoporosis.
This method is used if the doctor suspects that the neck pain is caused by a pinched nerve. EMG aims to find out whether the nerves are still functioning normally.
If neck pain is suspected to be caused by inflammation or infection, the doctor will do a blood test to detect the bacteria that cause the infection.
lumbar puncture _
Lumbar puncture is the process of taking a sample of cerebrospinal fluid from the spinal cord, to then examine it in the laboratory. From this examination, it can be seen the possibility of a viral or bacterial infection in the lining of the brain or spinal cord.
Neck Pain Treatment
Most neck pain usually gets better on its own within 2–3 weeks. However, this also depends on the cause. To reduce pain in the neck, the following are ways that can be done:
Use the appropriate pillow
Avoid using a pillow that is too high or hard, because it can make your neck stiff. We recommend using pillows with memory foam material that can follow the contours of the neck and head.
Do neck exercises
. Move your neck up and down, to the right and left, and turn your head. This stretching movement can stretch tense neck muscles.
compresses Compress neck pain with ice cubes wrapped in a towel for the first 3 days. After that, compress with a bottle filled with warm water to relieve pain in the neck.
Avoid neck movements that are too tight
Avoid sudden and too tight neck movements, to reduce inflammation and relieve pain in the neck.
Sore neck massage Massage can relieve neck pain
and make you more relaxed. Ask someone else to do a gentle massage on the neck
If the neck pain you are experiencing is severe enough and does not go away despite the above efforts, the doctor can provide the following treatment:
In physiotherapy , the therapist will correct problematic body postures with certain movement exercises. Therapy can also be done with neck traction . A tool such as a hanger to support the head is used to stretch the patient's neck.
In addition to physical therapy, doctors can also provide nerve stimulation with electricity called TENS. This therapy is carried out by channeling electricity to the affected part so that the pain subsides quickly.
Neck supports or neck collars can be used during daily activities as a complement to physiotherapy. The neck collar will reduce pressure on the neck structure thereby relieving neck pain complaints. However, this support can only be used for a maximum of 3 hours per day for 1-2 weeks.
Drugs that can be given to reduce pain in the neck are paracetamol or ibuprofen . In addition to oral medication, topical pain relievers can also be given.
The doctor will give other types of pain relievers if the pain experienced by the patient is unbearable or prolonged. Examples of drugs that are often given for this condition are muscle relaxants and tricyclic antidepressant drugs .
If needed, the doctor can inject corticosteroid drugs into the joints in the cervical vertebrae, to relieve inflammation that causes pain.
Although rarely done, surgery can also be an option. This procedure is performed if there is pressure on the spinal nerves that does not improve with medication and physiotherapy.
Even though it seems mild, the problem of neck pain can require a lot of medical expenses. Therefore, you can consider choosing a trusted health insurance to help offset these costs.
Complications Neck pain
Complications from neck pain vary, depending on the cause. You need to be aware of complications of neck pain caused by spinal cord injuries, including:
- sexual dysfunction
- BAK and CHAPTER disorders
- Orthostatic hypotension
- Sensory disturbances, such as not being able to feel touch, heat, or cold temperatures
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Pulmonary embolism
Neck Pain Prevention
Neck pain can be prevented by getting used to good posture for the head, namely the position of the head that is not too forward. In addition, do regular neck and shoulder stretches in the following ways:
- Roll your shoulders back 10 times
- Lift and squeeze your shoulders 10 times
- Tilt your head up for 30 seconds
- Attach ear to shoulder, do it on each side 10 times
Apart from routine neck stretching, there are several other routines and ways you can do to prevent neck pain, namely:
- Make sure your posture remains stable. For example, when standing or sitting, keep your shoulders perpendicular to your hips.
- Do stretching or stretching , especially when traveling long distances or working at a computer.
- Do not hold the phone or cell phone between your shoulder and ear while on a call. Better to use a headset or turn on the speaker.
- Do not smoke, because this habit can increase the risk of developing neck pain.
- Adjust the height of the desk and chair so that the computer screen is at eye level. Also make sure your knees are lower than your hips.
- Sleep on your back with your thighs propped up with a pillow.
- Use a head pillow that is not too high or too hard.
- Avoid using a mattress or mattress that is too soft, because it cannot support the neck properly.
- Do not use a sling bag to carry heavy loads, as this can strain your neck.