Many causes can contribute to a “pain in the neck,” and depending on the reason for the condition, there are numerous types of neck pain treatment. The cervical region of the spine refers to the neck and consists of the top seven bones, or vertebrae of the spinal column. Each vertebra has a cushiony disc that is found between the bones, and tissues such as muscle and ligaments, lymph nodes, the thyroid gland, veins and arteries and of course skin surround the spine. Other structures found in the neck include the trachea, the esophagus and the larynx. With all of these tissues and structures, the causes of this pain can be varied, and diagnosis of the area must be narrowed down the source of the pain. With a good diagnosis, pain treatment can begin.
Causes of Neck Pain
Muscles often are a source of pain and can be caused by playing contact sports, strenuous exercise or being in an accident. Other sources are problems with the discs that can be slipped, ruptured, herniated or just degenerated from osteoporosis causing spinal compression fractures. Sometimes this pain is caused by common infections such as strep throat or other virus infection in which the lymph glands are swollen. Rare infections that need pain treatment include meningitis or tuberculosis, as well as medical conditions that can directly affect the muscles of the neck, including fibromyalgia and rheumatica.
Medical Neck Pain Treatments
Should a patient’s neck pain be significant, or lasting more than three months when it is termed “chronic,” it is best if the individual go to see a physician. After a through history is given and diagnostic tests performed, a patient may have various treatments to relieve the pain. The origin of the pain will determine what type of treatment is prescribed. A ruptured or herniated cervical disc in which the disc is pressing on a nerve may require cortisone or anesthetic injections, traction or soft collar traction, or possibly physical therapy. An incident involving whiplash may need massage, as the muscles are involved, as well as the treatments mentioned above. A physician may prescribe muscle relaxants or pain medication, and topical anesthetics, topical pain patches are also available. Serious neck issues may require surgery, yet a simple strained neck from overuse or poor posture may just require rest or other home remedies.
At-Home Neck Pain Treatments
Analgesics are the first round of medications to be taken and can provide temporary relief for pain treatment. A heating pad used for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day will help relax the muscles in the case of a strained neck. Stretching and exercise will relax and strengthen the muscles to provide future support of the neck. A warm Jacuzzi on the neck can do wonders for improvement, as can a specialized neck pillow purchased online and at bedding stores.
Prevention is a good way to eliminate the need for neck pain treatment, and good posture, daily stretching and good sleeping habits will go a long way to avoid needing future care.