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Overview

Cervicalgia, often known as neck pain, may affect any part of the neck, including the nape of the neck and the top of the shoulders. It may expand to the upper back and arms, restricting head and neck range of motion. A sports injury or a car collision are the most common causes of neck stiffness, both of which may be avoided. Pain in the left or right side of the neck is often caused by inappropriate sleeping positions, poor posture, and muscle strain.

Neck pain or discomfort is a frequent complaint. Poor posture, such as hunching over a workbench or leaning over a computer may cause neck muscles to be stretched and painful.While sleeping, the neck may get locked in an unusual position resulting in pain. Osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease, is also a common cause of neck discomfort.

Neck pain might sometimes indicate a more severe underlying issue. If you have neck pain that is accompanied by numbness and weakness in the arms or hands, or if you have shooting pain into the shoulder or down the arm, see a doctor.If the pain continues for more than a few days, see a physician for recommendations on medical treatments and non-prescription remedies to try first.

The majority of neck pain causes are non-life threatening and will resolve with time and cautious medical intervention. While neck stiffness may be very debilitating and agonizing, nonsurgical therapy can significantly alleviate a range of symptoms. The doctor may prescribe painkillers or anti-inflammatory medications, as well as muscle relaxants. Restriction of physical activity or the use of a cervical collar may be effective in stabilizing the spine, decreasing movement, and relieving pain and irritation. Trigger point injections, which may include corticosteroids, may temporarily alleviate pain.

If the patient has weakness or numbness in their arms or legs, it is vital that they seek medical attention immediately. If the patient has had any kind of trauma and is now experiencing neck pain, numbness or weakness, they must seek emergency medical assistance from a neurosurgeon.

Causes

Since the neck is flexible and bears the weight of the head, it may be particularly susceptible to injuries and diseases that cause pain and impede upper body and neck motion. Some of the causes of neck discomfort include the following:

Muscle strain: Excessive use, such as slumping over a computer or smartphone screen for a lengthy period of time, is a common cause of muscle strains. Neck muscle tension may be caused by seemingly insignificant acts such as gritting the teeth or reading in bed. Pulled muscle in the neck also causes cervicalgia.

Nerve compression: Bone spurs or Herniated discs in the vertebrae of the neck may exert pressure on the nerves that branch out from the spinal cord, resulting in pain and discomfort including cervicalgia or cervical pain. It is possible that strain on the spinal cord in the cervical area will be a severe concern, since almost all nerves that go to and from the rest of the body must pass via the neck.This may compromise the function of a variety of important organs. When pressure is applied to a nerve, numbness, pain, and weakness may occur in the arm area served by the nerve.

Injury: Neck injury, for instance whiplash that occurs when the head is abruptly pulled backward and then forward, compressing the neck’s soft tissues, results in neck and shoulder pain.

Worn joint: The neck joints, like the rest of the body’s joints, are prone to degradation as the individual gets older. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative illness in which the cartilage i.e. the connective tissue between the bones begins to disintegrate. Bone spurs form as a result of this process, restricting joint mobility and causing discomfort.

Cervical stenosis: It is a narrowing of the spinal canal that causes compression of the spinal cord. Age-related degeneration is the most common cause. The degenerative changes associated with cervical stenosis may affect the vertebrae, causing bone spurs to develop, compressing the cervical spine and nerve roots in the neck.

The health conditions that result in neck pain include:

·         Osteoarthritis

·         Rheumatoid arthritis

·         Certain diseases like cancer or meningitis

Other rare factors associated with neck pain include the following:

·         Infection

·         Fracture

·         Tumor

·         Inflammation

When to see a doctor

The neck pain may be managed gradually at home. If this is not the case, you should see your doctor. If you have severe neck pain as a result of an accident, such as a vehicle accident, diving accident, or fall, get medical assistance immediately.

If you are experiencing neck pain and exhibit any of the following then immediately see your doctor:

·         Severe pain

·         Pain descends the arms and legs

·         Headache

·         Stiff neck

·         Numbness

·         Sore neck

If the symptoms persist for more than a week, you should see a physician.