Neck pain causes and ways to prevent/treat

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How often do you wake up with a sore neck or worse end your day with sore neck? The answer is often. As ubiquitous and many a times benign- neck pain has several causes. As a health personnel who deals with this presentation very frequently in the clinic, we believe that neck pain can be nipped in the bud.

Read on to know common causes of neck pain and ways to prevent them.

1. Uninterrupted assumption of end range postures :

With most jobs bound to desk, we often work in the same postures for hours together. Be it that deadline that has to be met, that paper that needs to be finished reading. Our necks remain in the forward posture more than they can sustain.

Prevention : Establish a desk routine that includes neck and arm movements, breathing exercises. This not only breaks the cycle of unhealthy postures but also, facilitates relaxation. This routine can likely improve work efficiency and thus productivity.

2) Stress :

Challenges abound, stress continues to be a source of several diseases and neck pain is one of them. Stress usually causes laborious breathing patterns, carbon dioxide retention and muscle fatigue.

Prevention : Work and life balance can be delicate to juggle. However, enough time must be set aside each day for leisure, meditation and relaxation.

3) Trauma or injury :

: Sports injuries, occupational accidents, road traffic accidents can injure cervical vertebrae, the supporting connective tissue, muscles and in severe cases the network of nerves.

Treatment : Rest, support to the injured structures and pain modulation through medicines and physiotherapy. Once the healing is complete, a criteria driven exercise program to return to play and/or occupational activity.

4) Referred pain :

At times, conditions like meningitis could present with neck pain. While the pain is in the neck, the structures in the neck aren't the source of pain.

Treatment : Referral to a neurologist and prompt arrest of increasing infection.

5) Chronic pain syndromes and metabolic causes :

Fibromyalgia, myositis, Ankylosing spondylitis, osteoporosis. These conditions can often cause neck pain.

Prevention and/or treatment : Establishing healthy pain free movements to correct the fuzzy pain perception maps. A referral to a personnel well versed with forms of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Symptomatic treatment with pain medications. Nutritional supplements to correct deficiencies.

-Vaishnavi Chiddarwar
MPT(Sports Physiotherapy)
Physiotherapist at Pune Spine Institute, Kalyani Nagar- Pune