Neck pain: what to do and how to treat it?

A huge number of people, regardless of age, social status, habits and even health status, can experience such an unpleasant symptom as neck pain. Why does this happen?

Neck pain is an insidious symptom that can be serious, indicating active inflammation or tissue destruction. Feelings of varying intensity are often accompanied by numbness in the occiput, as well as loss of hand sensitivity, local redness and even swelling. Often, with pain in the neck, headaches and dizziness are observed.

Pain in the neck

Determining the causes of neck pain is not easy. To accurately diagnose the problem requires a comprehensive diagnosis, which includes computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), as well as ultrasound (ultrasound) and laboratory tests.

Neck pain relief is carried out using medications, as well as physiotherapy methods.

general information

Neck pain occurs in 70% of the adult population. Sensations can vary in intensity and duration, depending on many factors. So, even one and the same person can periodically experience both short-term discomfort and severe pain syndrome, which worsens the quality of everyday life.

Often the pain is localized in the cervical spine, as well as along its anterolateral surfaces. The diagnosed cases indicate that more often patients experience a sharp "lumbago", followed by severe discomfort.

The pain can be given not only to the neck, but also spread to the shoulder, scapula, occipital region and be of a different nature:

  • throbbing;
  • tingling;
  • contracting.

In most cases, the soreness increases with various head movements, which forces the entire body to rotate.

The structure and functional features of the cervical spine

The cervical region is the upper part of the spinal column (seven interconnected vertebrae), which carries a fairly large amount of stress every day.

The joints connecting the vertebrae to each other form the section of the spinal canal in which the spinal cord is located.

The neck muscles are responsible for regulating the movement of the head, and also allow you to keep it in the anatomically correct position. Each muscle attaches to bones using strong connective tissue (tendons).

Having studied the structure, one can come to the conclusion that pain is provoked by pathologies of various types, the development of which is concentrated in any of the components of the cervical region of the ODA.

Neck pain classification

Today, it is customary to distinguish several types of neck pain:

  • cervicalgia - painful sensations of various types, having origins of various types;
  • cervicago or cervical lumbago - acute, sudden pain caused by compression of the nerve roots;
  • cervicobrachialgia - soreness that manifests itself in the neck and spreads as it grows to the upper limbs;
  • cervicocranialgia is a common condition when neck pain and headache are felt at the same time.

Why does the neck hurt?

Among the causes of neck pain, there may be a large list of diseases that have a similar list of clinical manifestations, but with different mechanisms of progression.

Sore throat causes

Most people immediately associate scratching and scratching with colds, however, in a number of diseases of this type, manifestations of such force may be present that the patient may feel pain in the neck.

Severe discomfort and high rates of soreness accompany conditions such as:

  • laryngitis;
  • viruses;
  • bacterial infections;
  • allergic reactions;
  • foreign body in the tissues of the pharynx;
  • vitamin deficiency, lack of trace elements;
  • reflux;
  • malignant neoplasms.

Causes of front neck pain

Are the unpleasant sensations concentrated mainly in the front, under the chin? Such a limited area can tell a lot, because there is a large number of fabrics of different types. If the discomfort increases when swallowing and performing head turns, then among the reasons for this condition are:

  • pathological processes progressing in the tissues of the thyroid gland;
  • suffered injuries;
  • inflammatory processes of various types;
  • purulent diseases;
  • damage to the tissues of the lymphatic system;
  • respiratory diseases;
  • angina pectoris.

Causes of pain in the cervical spine

If the patient's complaints speak of discomfort on the back of the cervical spine, then there is a risk of diagnosing serious pathological conditions.

In a situation of this kind, as a rule, there are "lumbago", due to which the mobility of the head and even the shoulder girdle is sharply limited.

The experienced sensations of this type indicate the presence of such pathologies as:

  • destructive processes localized in vertebral tissues;
  • trauma;
  • damage to the ligamentous or muscular apparatus;
  • development of infectious processes;
  • the presence of vertebral anomalies.

Neck pain with osteochondrosis

Special attention should be paid to one of the most common problems - neck pain with osteochondrosis. Osteochondrosis is one of the most common pathological diseases on the planet.

Neck pain with osteochondrosis is a serious symptom, skipping which you can lose the opportunity for full recovery, missing the initial stage of the development of pathological processes that can be treated.

Causes of side neck pain

Discomfort and intense pain, concentrated in the lateral surface of the neck, can migrate to the shoulder girdle or ear. Tingling, throbbing and burning sensations become an additional nuisance.

The most likely causes of lateral neck pain are:

  • pathological processes of blood vessels;
  • prolonged stay of the cervical spine in an uncomfortable position;
  • muscle spasms;
  • neoplasms;
  • congenital pathologies;
  • complications after illness or surgery.

When is it time to seek medical help for neck pain?

Often, a person experiencing soreness in any spinal region prefers to refuse to visit the doctor and let everything go by itself. In order to prevent a serious deterioration in health, it is important to seek professional help in a timely manner.

Regardless of what type of neck pain is present, it is necessary to consult with a specialist and determine the cause of their occurrence.

Special indications to look out for are:

  • severe headaches;
  • traumatic effect on the cervical spine;
  • feeling of numbness, weakness in the limbs;
  • ineffectiveness of the use of drugs.

Ignoring the symptomatic picture can lead to irreversible consequences that seriously worsen the quality of life.

There are situations when a visit to the attending physician is required urgently. It is customary to refer to these:

  • increased body temperature, accompanied by pain in the neck and head;
  • severe stiffness of the cervical spine (inability to reach the chin for the chest);
  • the presence of signs of a heart attack (chest pain, rapid breathing, increased sweating, nausea).

Diagnosing neck pain

To form a high-quality treatment plan for any disease, it is necessary to correctly diagnose it, taking into account all the patient's complaints, the existing history and the results of the examinations.

Considering that the overwhelming majority of cases are caused by pathological conditions of the spinal region, in case of neck pain, it is best to seek help from a chiropractor (osteopath), vertebrologist or neurologist.

The whole complex of diagnostic procedures is the use of instrumental and laboratory methods, each of which is aimed at visualizing the affected area and forming a quality base for identifying the symptoms of concomitant diseases.

Let's consider the most informative diagnostic methods.

X-ray examination

Radiography is a key diagnostic method. With the help of the images obtained during the examination, it is possible to assess the configuration of the vertebrae and form an understanding of the condition of the cartilaginous tissue.

Thanks to X-ray examination, it is possible to identify such pathological conditions as:

  • displacement of the elements of the spinal section;
  • formed hernias and other neoplasms;
  • extensive growth of bone tissue, etc.

X-ray images display all the information necessary for diagnosis, which allows the specialist to form an accurate diagnosis and determine the key areas of treatment.

However, there are cases when radiography is not enough to identify a number of pathologies. Sometimes, it is completely inaccessible due to contraindications. In this case, other solutions come to the rescue.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Examination by MRI involves obtaining a three-dimensional image in several projections, which makes it possible to assess the state of all types of tissues of the cervical spine.

Functional diagnostics

Due to the fact that one of the causes of pain in the cervical spine is muscle spasms, it is appropriate to talk about the probable damage to tissues of this type.

In order to identify lesions and their degree, methods such as electromyography (determination of the level of bioelectric activity and the ability of nerves to transmit an impulse) are used.

Also used are electroneurography (recording an electrical signal at the time of its propagation along the examined nerve) and Forestier test (revealing the ability to take an anatomically correct position).

Laboratory blood test

The results of a general and biochemical examination of biological fluids (blood, urine) indicate or deny the presence of inflammatory processes, which are the causes of pain.

In laboratory diagnostics, special attention is paid to the concentration of hormones.

Additional studies are considered to be bacteriological culture of sputum and throat smear.

Neck pain treatment

Regardless of the nature of the pain experienced, its elimination and treatment of the underlying causes should be dealt with exclusively by a doctor. It is important to remember that the absence of treatment or the use of inadequate therapy (self-medication) sooner or later leads to an aggravation of the pathological condition and irreversible consequences (from loss of mobility to death).

Patient with neck pain at doctor's consultation

What to do before a diagnosis is made?

Have a neck pain? Do not delay your visit to the doctor. However, if the diagnosis has not yet been established, and the pain is in no hurry to recede, you should know how to deal with it.

First of all, in order to limit yourself from the likelihood of such an unpleasant syndrome, you should avoid excessive harshness in movements, as well as take care of protection from drafts and hypothermia.

If the pain has already manifested itself and the discomfort is only growing, it is permissible to take analgesics once.

Important! Drugs cannot be taken for a long time without a doctor's prescription.

Conservative therapy methods

The initial stages of any disease are eliminated by conservative methods of treatment, to which it is customary to include drug therapy.

In order to relieve the experienced sensations, as well as eliminate pathological processes, drugs of various pharmacological groups are used, which include:

  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that eliminate inflammation and relieve an unpleasant syndrome;
  • muscle relaxants, relieving muscle spasms;
  • anesthetics that relieve pain;
  • antibiotics, the action of which is aimed at eradicating bacterial and purulent processes;
  • vitamins and minerals used to support the level of nutrients in the body;
  • chondroprotectors that accelerate the regenerative processes in the articular tissues.

It is worth noting that drugs of the chondroprotective group are especially important at the stage of eliminating pathological conditions of ODA.

Physiotherapy treatment as a method of eliminating neck pain

The best activator of conservative methods is a complex combination with physiotherapy treatment.

To relieve unnecessary tension in the neck, methods such as:

  • mud baths and thermal compresses;
  • electrophoresis with the use of drugs of the group of anesthetics;
  • manual therapy;
  • exposure to magnets or needles;
  • visiting massage;
  • use of complexes of medical physical culture.

Surgical intervention

When diagnosing pathologies of the spinal column, accompanied by pain localized in the cervical spine, radical methods of treatment may be required.

In order to reduce excessive pressure on the nerve roots, discectomy (open surgery, removal of a hernia), foraminotomy (low-traumatic intervention aimed at decompression of the nerves) or laminectomy (neurosurgery designed to eliminate compression) are used.

In especially difficult cases with severe degenerative lesions, it may be necessary to carry out fusion (artificial fusion of the vertebrae in order to purposefully immobilize them).

Prevention of neck pain and ODA disorders in general

Anyone who at least once faced the problem under consideration repeatedly asked the question: "What methods of struggle exist? "First of all, it is worth noting that the best treatment at all times is considered to be prevention, which consists in creating optimal comfortable conditions for the functionality and nutrition of the spinal column of the human ODA.

It is important to create such conditions, the observance of which will be not just continuous, but literally lifelong. This is the secret of the success of preventive measures.

There are several components to preventing neck pain. Let's consider each of them.

Physical activity and sports

A key component in the prevention of destructive processes in the musculoskeletal system. Moderate exercise helps maintain optimal health.

Workplace safety

Ergonomics of working conditions largely determines the state of human health, because people spend a lot of time at the workplace.

If it is impossible to organize comfortable conditions, then it is necessary at least to strive for systematic stress relief, systematically performing simple warm-up exercises.

Special diet

The lack of useful vitamins and minerals negatively affects the state of the skeleton of the human body. In order for the tissues to have everything you need, it is important to ensure a balanced diet.

The daily diet should be moderately enriched with sources of not just energy, but also vitamins and microelements.

Do not forget about the drinking regimen. To ensure the desired level of metabolism, it is necessary to drink from 1. 5 to 2 liters of pure water per day.

Reception of chondroprotectors

The use of preventive courses of taking chondroprotectors helps to maintain the optimal state of the articular tissues, and also makes it possible to accelerate the regenerative processes when they are damaged.

Preference should be given to extremely reliable drugs that have proven themselves in the modern pharmacological market.

Want to enjoy a fulfilling life? It is time to start the prevention of ODA diseases today. Adhering to the principles of preserving your own health, you can forget about poor health and enjoy all the joys of life.