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Neck Pain: What is it?

A severe sensation of discomfort in the region of the neck and around the shoulders.

It can range from mild to acute and severe.

Neck pain is a serious problem that can limit your ability to perform everyday tasks.

Symptoms of Neck Pain

  • Pain that is often worsened by holding the head in one place for long periods
  • Muscle tightness and spasms
  • Decreased ability to move the head
  • Headache

Along with neck pain, other symptoms may occur, such as weakness in your arm or hand, headaches, or pain that extends to your back.

Causes of Neck Pain

  • Injury or trauma
  • Stress
  • Anxiety and worry
  • Nerve compression
  • Sleeping in an awkward position
  • Prolonged sitting hours at a computer work desk
  • Whiplash injuries (Neck strain)

Diagnosis of Neck Pain

Your doctor will take a medical history and do a physical exam.

Blood tests provide evidence of inflammation or infections that might be causing neck pain.

Imaging Tests

  • X-rays
  • CT scan
  • MRI
  • Electromyography (EMG)

Prevention of Neck Pain

In most cases, neck pain is associated with poor posture and age-related wear and tear.

Tips that may help to prevent neck pain include:

  • Use good posture
  • Take frequent breaks from sitting for long periods of time; get up, move around, and stretch your neck and shoulders.
  • Adjust your chair, desk, and computer, so the monitor is at eye level.
  • Quit smoking, as it can increase the risk of developing neck pain.
  • Avoid putting strain on your shoulders by carrying heavy bags with straps.
  • Sleep in a healthy position

Treatment for Neck Pain

  • Medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (electrical impulses that may relieve pain)
  • Soft neck collar (takes the pressure off the neck)
  • Steroid injections
  • Surgery (rare cases)

Physiotherapy for Neck Pain

Chin Tucks

  • Sit or stand with your shoulders relaxed.
  • Gently tuck your chin in towards your chest, keeping your head level.
  • Hold for 5 seconds, then relax.
  • Repeat 10 times.

Shoulder Blade Squeezes

  • Sit or stand with your shoulders relaxed.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together as if trying to hold a pencil between them.
  • Hold for 5 seconds, then relax.
  • Repeat 10 times.

Neck Rotations

  • Sit or stand with your shoulders relaxed.
  • Turn your head to the left as far as possible, then hold for 5 seconds.
  • Return to the center, turn your head to the right, and hold for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat 10 times.

Neck Flexion and Extension

  • Sit or stand with your shoulders relaxed.
  • Gently tilt your head forward, bringing your chin towards your chest.
  • Hold for 5 seconds, then slowly raise your head back up.
  • Then, gently tilt your head back, looking up towards the ceiling.
  • Hold for 5 seconds, then slowly lower your head back down. Repeat 10 times.