The Blog
July 5, 2019

What to Do for Neck Pain: Managing Causes, Symptoms, and Prevention Strategies

Understanding what to do with neck pain begins with recognizing its root causes, which often include poor sleeping habits, excessive use of mobile devices, and various lifestyle choices. In this article, you'll learn the common causes and symptoms of neck pain. We'll also provide strategies for prevention and treatment to help you take control of your health and well-being.

Determining the Cause of Neck Pain

Neck pain is a prevalent issue that affects many people at some point in their lives. It often starts as a dull ache and can progress to chronic pain, significantly impacting the shoulders, causing headaches, and affecting overall well-being. Recognizing the potential severity of neck pain can motivate you to take action for effective treatment.

Sleep-Related Neck Pain

One of the most common causes of neck pain is poor sleep habits. Sleeping for long periods in an uncomfortable position, using an unsupportive pillow or mattress, and sleeping for inconsistent durations can all contribute to neck discomfort.

How to Identify Sleep-Related Neck Pain

Neck pain caused by sleep-related issues usually isn't chronic or serious at the outset. However, if left unaddressed, it can lead to strained muscles that take weeks to heal. Here’s how to determine if your neck pain is sleep-related:

  1. Morning Pain: Note if your neck pain period occurs primarily in the mornings right after you wake up.
  2. Symptom Relief After Stretching: If your pain decreases after you stretch and move around, it is likely related to your sleeping position or support.

What to Do for Neck Pain Due to Sleeping Habits

  1. Adjust Your Sleep Position: Try sleeping on your back or side rather than on your stomach. You can also look for a pillow that keeps your neck aligned with your spine.
  2. Use a Supportive Pillow: You can try using a specialized pillow that supports the natural curve of your neck. Memory foam or specially designed cervical pillows can be beneficial.
  3. Evaluate Your Mattress: Ensure your mattress provides adequate support and comfort. If it’s too firm or too soft, it might contribute to poor sleep posture.
  4. Maintain Consistent Sleep Patterns: Aim for a regular sleep schedule to prevent muscle stiffness and fatigue.

How to Ease Neck Pain

While making these adjustments, you can manage neck pain by:

  • Taking Ibuprofen: Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen can help reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Stretching Exercises: Gentle neck stretches can alleviate stiffness and improve flexibility.

When to Seek Medical Attention

If these adjustments do not alleviate your neck pain, or if your pain persists and worsens, you may need to consult a healthcare professional for further evaluation and treatment.

Persistent and Severe Neck Pain

When neck pain becomes persistent, worsens, or is accompanied by nerve pain or stress headaches, it could be a sign of a more serious underlying issue, such as damaged disks or a pinched nerve. Even sudden jolts to the neck, like those from a car accident, can result in significant neck injuries.

Potential Causes

  1. Damaged Discs: Intervertebral discs can degenerate or herniate, leading to pain that radiates into the shoulders, arms, or hands. This condition often requires imaging studies such as MRI or CT scans for accurate diagnosis.
  2. Pinched Nerve: When the sensitive nerves in the neck are compressed, they lead to sharp, shooting pain and weakness in the arms. This condition often results from herniated discs or bone spurs.
  3. Arthritis: Osteoarthritis can cause the cartilage in the neck joints to deteriorate, leading to chronic pain and stiffness. Rheumatoid arthritis can also affect the cervical spine, resulting in similar symptoms.
  4. Spinal Canal Narrowing: Conditions like spinal stenosis, where the spinal canal narrows or compresses the spinal cord, can lead to severe pain and neurological symptoms.

What to Do if Your Neck Hurts

If neck pain persists despite home treatments or if it is associated with symptoms such as:

  • Severe headaches
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms
  • Weakness in the arms or hands
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control

These symptoms necessitate immediate medical evaluation. Sudden injuries, like those from car accidents, can also result in conditions like whiplash, which require professional care to prevent long-term damage.

Treatment Options

Specialists, such as those at Royal Spine Surgery led by Dr. Abdulhamid, can provide a formal diagnosis through comprehensive assessments and imaging. Treatment plans may include:

  • Physical Therapy: This procedure will help strengthen muscles and improve your posture.
  • Medications: Anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants, or pain relievers.
  • Injections: Corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation.
  • Surgery: In severe cases, surgical interventions like discectomy or spinal fusion may be necessary to relieve nerve compression and stabilize the spine.

"Text Neck" Syndrome

The rise of mobile device usage has introduced new health concerns, particularly "text neck" syndrome. Prolonged use of mobile devices can also contribute to neck pain. When you bend your neck forward to use your device, the weight of your head increases, leading to additional stress on your neck and potentially causing degenerative wear and tear.

Text neck symptoms can include phone neck pain, arm pain and numbness, tightness and spasms of the back of your neck and headaches. It can also affect the normal curvature of the spine.

Recognizing and Preventing Text Neck: Remedies for Neck Pain

With an estimated 1.75 billion smartphone users worldwide, "text neck" syndrome is becoming increasingly common, especially among younger individuals who spend extensive time on their devices. Here's what to do when you have neck pain:

  1. Maintain a Neutral Neck Position: Hold your mobile device up higher in your hands to avoid bending your neck forward.
  2. Look Down with Your Eyes: Instead of bending your neck, look down at your device with your eyes.
  3. Use Voice Recognition: Instead of texting, use your device's voice recognition function to create messages or make phone calls.
  4. Strengthen Your Neck and Back Muscles: Participate in core muscle exercises to help strengthen your neck and back muscles.

Get Expert Help from Royal Spine Surgery

Knowing what to do for neck pain is crucial, especially when home remedies are not enough. Managing neck pain effectively often requires professional intervention.

If you feel persistent or severe neck pain, consider consulting with Royal Spine Surgery. Led by Dr. Abdulhamid, a specialist with extensive expertise in diagnosing and treating neck conditions, the clinic offers comprehensive assessments and tailored treatment plans.

From physical therapy and medications to advanced surgical options, Royal Spine Surgery is equipped to address a wide range of neck pain issues. Trust the expertise of Dr. Abdulhamid and his team to help you find relief and improve your quality of life. Contact us today.

Dr. Abdulhamid

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Abdulhamid

Dr. Abdulhamid is a highly skilled and experienced board-certified neurosurgeon with a passion for providing exceptional spine care. He specializes in minimally invasive spine surgery and has a reputation for achieving outstanding results for his patients. His commitment to excellence and patient-centered approach have earned him the trust and respect of his patients and colleagues alike.

Recent Blogs