Does the backside base of your skull give you horrible time? Back of neck pain can really stand in your way through the day, you can’t:
-stand up much
But don’t worry because in this post we’ll mention ways to relief you from this burden, and ways to prevent the pain from coming back.
Neck pain (acute and chronic):
Acute neck pain definitely affects a huge part of the population. In other words, it targets about two thirds of people one stage or another aiming specifically at middle age individuals. Unfortunately, the pain may persist and become chronic in around 10% of people if not taken care of.
Causes of backside neck pain:
•Musculoskeletal or neurologic disease leading to muscle or tendon injury, and nerve compression
•Genetic factors that cause progressive degeneration in the spinal cord
•Psychosocial factors such as stress, anxiety, mood swings, distress, and cognitive functioning
•Bad posture while sleeping or driving while staying in one position for so long
•Long computer or office hours
•Collision injuries like car accidents that damage the neck soft tissues due to backward and forward head movement
•Red flags (rare) leading to serious pathology such as myelopathy, atlantoaxial subluxation and metastasis (cancer).
What is used in diagnosis?
In order to determine the cause of cervical spine pain, it is efficient to lean towards the medial interview approach rather than the physical testing. Besides, biochemical tests are not actually used in this case. Thus, physical examination only complements an accurate patient history approach since they lack specificity to be independent. Finally, Imaging and electrodiagnostic tests have indefinite usage in chronic or degenerative cases.
-For acute neck pain: mainly muscle relaxants and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs [NSAIDs]. However, alternatives can be used giving either strong response (example: exercising) or weak response (example: yoga, massage, acupuncture and spinal manipulation). Usually, this type of neck pain resolves in 2 months.
-Cervical radiculopathy: epidural steroid injections.
-Facet arthropathy: radiofrequency denervation.
-For radiculopathy or myelopathy: Surgery is an effective therapy but only in the short term.
-Other solutions: heat or cold contact with the pain area, mobilization, returning to normal activity, multimodal treatment, patient education, physical treatments, pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) treatment, soft collars and special pillows, traction, stretching, and transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS).
When to see a doctor?
Patients should consult a physical medicine and rehabilitation spine specialist within 48 hours of the pain start time.
Ways to prevent neck pain:
•Having a good posture will save a lot of trouble, sit and stand with your back and shoulders being straight
•Using your phone all day while bending your neck isn't going to end well, so avoid it
•Do not carry heavy things over your neck or pick them up with your back bent like an arc no matter the reason
•Even though you are obliged to work long computer or office hours, travel long hours, or even wash a big pile of dishes make sure to take a break and stretch that legendary neck
•When the head and neck are aligned with the rest of your body while you sleep, you tend to avoid the pain the next day since your spinal muscles were relaxed
•It's a very bad idea to tuck the phone between your ear and shoulder, you better avoid it
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-Childress MA, Stuek SJ. Neck Pain: Initial Evaluation and Management. Am Fam Physician. 2020 Aug 1;102(3):150-156. PMID: 32735440.
-Popescu A, Lee H. Neck Pain and Lower Back Pain. Med Clin North Am. 2020 Mar;104(2):279-292. doi: 10.1016/j.mcna.2019.11.003. Epub 2019 Dec 20. PMID: 32035569.