People of different professions and ages may experience pain that radiates down the neck, felt in the shoulder area and arms. Let’s look at the causes and treatment of this pain.
Pain that radiates down the neck is a typical grievance. Neck muscular tissues can be stressed from bad pose — whether it’s leaning over your computer or hunching over your workbench. Osteo arthritis additionally is an usual source of neck discomfort.
Seldom, neck discomfort can be a signs and symptom of an extra major problem. Seek treatment if your neck discomfort is accompanied by feeling numb or loss of stamina in your arms or hands or if you have shooting pain into your shoulder or down your arm.
Symptoms and signs consist of:
- Pain that’s commonly worsened by holding your head in one area for long periods, such as when driving or operating at a computer system
- Muscle tightness as well as spasms
- Lowered capacity to move your head
Causes of Pain That Radiates Down the Neck
Your neck is flexible and supports the weight of your head, so it can be susceptible to injuries and conditions that cause pain and limit movement. Neck pain triggers consist of:
- Muscle strains. Overuse, such as a lot of hours stooped over your computer or smartphone, often triggers muscle strains. Even small things, such as reading in bed or gritting your teeth, can strain neck muscles.
- Worn joints. Just like the other joints in your body, your neck joints tend to wear down with age. Osteoarthritis triggers the cushions (cartilage) in between your bones (vertebrae) to degrade. Your body then forms bone spurs that impact joint motion and cause pain.
- Nerve compression. Herniated disks or bone stimulates in the vertebrae of your neck can continue the nerves branching out from the spine.
- Injuries. Rear-end car crashes often result in whiplash injury, which happens when the head is jerked backward and then forward, straining the soft tissues of the neck.
- Diseases. Particular diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis or cancer, can trigger pain that radiates down the neck.
The majority of neck pain is connected with poor posture integrated with age-related wear and tear. To help prevent neck pain, keep your head centered over your spine. Some simple changes in your everyday routine might help. Consider attempting to:
- Use good posture. When standing and sitting, make sure your shoulders remain in a straight line over your hips and your ears are directly over your shoulders.
- Take regular breaks. If you take a trip fars away or work long hours at your computer, get up, move around and extend your neck and shoulders.
- Change your desk, chair and computer so that the display is at eye level. Knees ought to be slightly lower than hips. Utilize your chair’s armrests.
- Prevent tucking the phone between your ear and shoulder when you talk. Utilize a headset or speakerphone rather.
- If you smoke, stop. Smoking can put you at higher danger of developing neck pain.
- Avoid bring heavy bags with straps over your shoulder. The weight can strain your neck.
- Sleep in a good position. Your head and neck must be aligned with your body. Use a little pillow under your neck. Try sleeping on your back with your thighs elevated on pillows, which will flatten your spinal muscles.
The most common kinds of mild to moderate neck pain usually react well to self-care within 2 or three weeks. If neck pain persists, your medical professional might advise other treatments.
Your medical professional might recommend stronger pain medicine than what you can get non-prescription, in addition to muscle relaxants and tricyclic antidepressants for pain relief.
- Physical treatment. A physiotherapist can teach you fix posture, alignment and neck-strengthening exercises, and can utilize heat, ice, electrical stimulation and other measures to help alleviate your pain and prevent a recurrence.
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). Electrodes placed on your skin near the painful areas deliver small electrical impulses that might alleviate pain.
- Traction. Traction utilizes weights, wheels or an air bladder to gently stretch your neck. This treatment, under supervision of a physician and physiotherapist, may supply relief of some neck pain, specifically pain related to nerve root inflammation.
- Short-term immobilization. A soft collar that supports your neck might assist eliminate pain by taking pressure off the structures in your neck. However, if used for more than 3 hours at a time or for more than one to two weeks, a collar might do more harm than good.
Surgical and Other Treatments
Steroid injections. Your physician may inject corticosteroid medications near the nerve roots, into the small element joints in the bones of the cervical spine or into the muscles in your neck to aid with pain. Numbing medications, such as lidocaine, likewise can be injected to alleviate your neck pain.
Surgery. Seldom required for neck pain, surgery might be an option for eliminating nerve root or spine compression.
What You Can Do at Home
Self-care steps you can attempt to ease neck pain include:
- Over the counter painkiller. Attempt over the counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), naproxen sodium (Aleve) and acetaminophen (Tylenol, others).
- Alternate cold and heat. Decrease inflammation by applying cold, such as an ice pack or ice covered in a towel, for up to 20 minutes a number of times a day. Or alternate the cold treatment with heat. Attempt taking a warm shower or using a heating pad on the low setting.
- Home exercises. Once the worst of your pain has gone away, start gentle extending workouts daily. Your doctor or a physiotherapist can advise you in the correct technique. First warm your neck and back with a heating pad or in the shower or bath. Then gently tilt, bend and rotate your neck.
Talk with your medical professional if you’re interested in attempting alternative treatments for your neck pain. Your physician can go over the advantages and threats. Alternative treatments consist of:
- Acupuncture. Acupuncture includes the insertion of thin needles into various points on your body. Research studies have found that acupuncture might be handy for many kinds of pain. However research studies in neck pain have actually been blended. For best outcomes, you may need to go through a number of acupuncture sessions. Acupuncture is typically considered safe when performed by a qualified professional using sterile needles.
- Chiropractic. Performed mainly on the spine, a chiropractic modification applies a regulated, abrupt force to a joint. Chiropractic treatments to the neck can offer short-term pain relief, and, for many individuals, carry very little threats.
- Massage. During a massage, a qualified practitioner manipulates the muscles in your neck with his/her hands. Little scientific proof exists to support massage in individuals with neck pain, though it might provide relief when combined with your medical professional’s suggested treatments.