Chronic Neck Pain Treatment Kirkland, WA
Body aches and pains can sometimes be a literal “pain in the neck”, as a popular idiom goes.It’s probably how people started using this expression back in the 1900s anyway. A couple of retirees, who get together to pass the time, start talking about their neck pain. The next thing they know, the phrase catches on and everyone’s using it.
Experiencing neck pain can be excruciating or just plain annoying at times, like that stiff neck we get about once a year.About one in ten adults experience this malady at any one point in time, so it is quite common. In most cases, the pain goes away in a couple of days. Chronic neck pain, however, persists over a long period of time, or is a recurring condition that some people experience.
The Cervical Spine
Commonly referred to as “the neck”, the cervical spine is composed of seven bones or vertebrae and is part of the spinal column, which runs through all of our back and is connected to almost every nerve in our body.The neck itself is fragile but flexible.It houses the spinal cord, which sends messages from the brain to different parts of the body.
Common Causes of Neck Pain
So what really causes neck pain and how do we prevent it?
- Age is a big factor. As we age, the intervertebral discs that separate each of the bones along the spinal column, may wear out.This is significant because these discs are the shock absorbers of the spine.
- Arthritis, which comes with age, causes our bones and joints to deteriorate. Arthritis can also affect the bones and joints in the neck. When this happens, this condition is called Cervical Spondylosis. In some cases, arthritis can also lead to a herniated disc.A herniated disc, also called a slipped disc, happens when the cushions between the bones along the spine, push out and pinch or hit one of the nerves along the spine.
- Some kind of strain or injury may also cause neck pain. A prolonged strain from sleeping in the wrong position, could lead to a stiff neck or a sudden impact such as a car accident may cause you to experience whiplash.
- Infection may also be another cause, particularly if there is swelling of the lymph nodes in the throat.Meningitis is a viral or bacterial infection that affects the meninges and also causes stiffness of the neck.There are other infections that are also possible causes of pain in the neck, such as tuberculosis of the neck or a spine infection.
- Tension headaches and migraine can also cause neck pain.
- Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder that is characterized by pain in the bones, muscle fatigue, and tenderness in certain parts of the body, including the neck.
- In rare cases, a tumor in the spine may also cause chronic neck pain, especially if it develops and presses up against a nerve in the cervical area.
How to Treat and Manage Neck Pain at Home
- Use ice packs to reduce the swelling or inflammation.Ice packs can also help numb the pain.
- Massage the affected area gently before and after applying an ice pack to ease any muscle strains and tensions.
- Rest and avoid strenuous activities at this time.It is important that you allow your muscles to heal themselves.
- Practice proper posture while awake.Use a small pillow (such as a neck pillow) to support the natural curve of your neck when you sleep.
- Pain relievers are also a great way to reduce swelling in the affected area.
If the pain doesn’t go away on its own and becomes worse after a few days, or spreads down to the arms and legs, or if you feel any kind of weakness, tingling or numbness, these are signs that you need to see a doctor.If your neck pain is accompanied by fever, chills, a severe headache or unexplained periods of dizziness or nausea, you also need to be checked by a doctor.
You should also see a specialist if your neck pain becomes chronic, meaning it recurs or persists over a period of three months or more, because it could also be a symptom of a more severe medical condition such as cancer, meningitis or some other infection or an autoimmune disease. In cases like these, diagnosis and prompt medical attention is needed to manage the underlying cause.
Treatment and Relief
Chronic neck pain can affect the way you go about your everyday life, but the good news is that it is something you don’t have to put up with.These days, there are nonsurgical treatment options available to manage chronic pain in the neck.
Some of these options are listed below:
- Physical Therapy
Any physical therapy program will depend on your doctor’s diagnosis and recommendation. Physical therapy aims to improve flexibility and strength in the neck by using different methods such as massage, neck-strengthening exercises or heat treatment.
- Chiropractic Treatment
Chiropractors manually adjust your spine to help relieve the pain or pressure in some areas. Manual spine adjustments may also improve your range of motion.
Depending on the underlying cause of your neck pain, your doctor may also recommend steroid, facet or trigger point injections.These injections offer some kind of pain relief to the joints around your neck.However, they are not without some risks as well.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese method that helps relieve pain.These days, it is widely accepted by most patients and is also quite safe.Be sure to find a licensed acupuncturist.It is also important to ensure that sterile needles are used.
Finally, chronic neck pain may be managed by surgery when all else fails, particularly if it is needed to take out a damaged disc or decompress the spinal cord.However, any surgical procedure is still, ultimately, the patient’s decision and something that should thoroughly discussed with your doctor or surgeon.
Learn to Manage Chronic Neck Pain in WA today!
When it comes to treating neck pain, you may need to consult with several specialists and also educate yourself about the condition so you can better deal with it.
At the Kirkland Health Institute in Kirkland, WA, we make it our business to help educate our patients about how to better manage their chronic health conditions. We specialize in integrative care to help correct chronic neck pain and other chronic health issues so that our patients can live full, active lives.
Come to the Kirkland Health Institute today and find out what makes our approach to health care unique and effective.