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What is neck pain?

General pain located in the neck area, as well as stiffness in the neck muscles. The pain may radiate down to the shoulder or between the shoulder blades. There may be a prickly or tingling sensation in the arms and fingers It may also radiate out into the arm, the hand or up into the head, causing a one-sided or double-sided headache. The muscles in the neck are tense, sore and feel hard to the touch. Acute pain can give rise to abnormal neck posture in which the head is forced to turn to one side. This condition is known as torticollis.


What are the different types of neck pain?

Neck pain is a common condition and is more frequently seen in women than men.
Most people will experience pain in the neck at some point in their life.
It can range from mild discomfort to severe, burning pain.
If the pain is 'acute' sudden and intense it's called a crick in the neck, facet syndrome or muscular rheumatism.
If the pain has lasted more than three months, it's termed 'chronic' neck pain.

What causes neck pain?
Neck pain can be cause by inappropriate working posture. Neck pain may result from abnormalities in the soft tissues- the muscles, ligaments, and nerves- as well as in bones and joints of the spine. The most common causes of neck pain are soft-tissue abnormalities due to injury or prolonged wear and tear to the neck resulting in cervical disc bulges. For most people, no specific reason for the pain can be found. Many things can trigger neck pain. These include trauma or injury, worry and stress, falling asleep in an awkward position and prolonged use of a computer keyboard.

What is neck pain with arm pain?
Pain that radiates down the arm, and possibly into the hands and fingers, is frequently caused by a cervical herniated disc or foraminal stenosis pinching a nerve in the neck. The pain may be accompanied by numbness or tingling in the arms and/or hands. The symptoms may start suddenly or develop over time.

What is cervical disc degeneration (cervical spondylosis)?
The disk acts as a shock absorber between the bones in the neck. In cervical disk degeneration (which typically occurs in people age 40 years and older), the normal gelatin-like center of the disk degenerates and the space between the vertebrae narrows. As the disk space narrows, added stress is applied to the joints of the spine causing further wear and degenerative disease. The cervical disk may also protrude and put pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots when the rim of the disk weakens. This is known as a herniated cervical disk.

When Should You Seek Medical Care?
Medical care should be sought immediately. Immediate medical care should also be sought when an injury causes pain in the neck that radiates down the arms and legs. Radiating pain or numbness in your arms or legs causing weakness in the arms or legs without significant neck pain should also be evaluated. If there has not been an injury, you should seek medical care when neck pain is:

  • continuous and persistent
  • severe
  • accompanied by pain that radiates down the arms or legs
  • accompanied by headaches, numbness, tingling, or weakness
This information is for educational purposes only and should not be relied upon as medical advice. It has not been designed to replace a physician's independent judgment about the appropriateness or risks of a procedure for a given patient.

 


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