What is Chronic Neck Pain?
Chronic Neck Pain and Headache is among the most common types of pain disorders experienced by most people. About 34-43% of the total world population reported having neck pain at a point in their lives.
Neck pain is considered chronic if the pain lasts more than six months. About 14-22% of the world population was reported to suffer from chronic neck pain at a point in their lives.
Patients that suffer from chronic neck pains experience very painful hurt and the area is very sensitive when it is being touched.
Chronic pain is typically more painful than normal neck pain. Patients who suffer from chronic neck pain could also experience headaches.
Causes of Chronic Neck Pain
Neck pain can result from a number of diseases and disorders. Persistent muscle tension is a common cause of neck pain. However, there are also several conditions that could lead to neck pain. They include:
- Neck Strain
- Degenerative disc disease
- Cervical spondylosis
- Spinal stenosis
- Poor posture
- Neck associated injuries such as herniated disc, Whiplash, or a pinched nerve.
- Infections such as virus infection of the throat, tuberculosis of the neck, spine bone infection or meningitis.
- Polymyalgia rheumatic
- Bad positioning of the neck while sleeping.
Symptoms of Neck Pain
There are several symptoms of neck pain. Some patients with neck pain experience moderate pain while some other patients experience very severe pain. The symptoms associated with neck pain include:
- Pain experienced when turning the head
- Arm numbness
- Sharp shooting pain
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Difficulties to move the neck
- Swishing sounds in the head
- Lymph node swelling
- Shoulder pain
- Facial pain
- Upper back or lower back pain
Treatment of Neck Pain
There are different treatment of neck pain depending on the severity of the pain. In case of moderate or mild neck pain, a patient can easily treat it by him/herself.
Self-care for neck pain include:
Ice or heat pack
You can apply an ice pack to reduce the inflammation or swelling. Heat is used to reduce the pains in the affected area and improve blood circulation.
Most neck pain will go on their own after some few days. Proper rest and positioning of the neck will help in the healing process.
Poor posture is one of the most common causes of neck pain. When you are sitting on a chair for a long time, always position in a way that keeps your body, head, and neck aligned. When you are sleeping, use a pillow to support your neck and sleep in a better position.
Don’t keep your neck in one position for too long
Always try to change the position of your neck.
Massaging helps to soothe the muscle tensions and reduce pains
Medical care for Neck Pain include:
There are several pain relievers that can be prescribed for you by your physician. These medications help to stop neck pains, however, they shouldn’t be used for a long time.
You may need to undergo some physical therapy to improve the strength of your neck and increase flexibility. The diagnosis and condition of the neck will determine the program you will need to undergo.
Cervical facet injections
Injections of steroids into the specific joints is used if the pain is caused by irritation of the facet joints. Radiofrequency ablation of the sensory nerves can sometimes be used if the facet injections yield predictable temporary pain relief.
Cervical epidural steroid injections
This is injecting cortisone steroid solution into the cervical epidural space. The reason is to reduce the inflammation of the nerve or tissues as a result of disc herniation.
Acupuncture is a traditional method of treatment. It involves inserting small needles into the body to treat different ailments. It can also be used to treat neck pains.
This is done by a specialist such as a chiropractor or a professional health worker. It is the manual adjustment or manipulation of the neck to help align the neck and reduce the pains.
What is a Headache?
Headache is one of the most common medical complaints from a lot of people. Almost every adult has experienced headaches at a point in their lives. Anybody can experience headache regardless of age, gender or race. It is the most common medical condition experienced by people.
Headaches could result from some medical conditions such as migraine, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, stress or emotional distress.
Headache is categorized into primary and secondary.
Primary headaches are caused by stress, excessive activity, or problems with the head that are pain-sensitive. Examples of primary headaches include tension headaches, migraines, and cluster headaches.
Secondary headaches are caused when another condition stimulates the pain-sensitive nerves of the head. This means that the symptoms of the headache could be attributed to another cause.
Conditions that could cause secondary headache are a brain tumor, blood clot, alcohol-induced hangover, concussion, dehydration, carbon monoxide poisoning, glaucoma, influenza, panic attack, overuse of pain medications, brain freeze, bleeding in the brain, and stroke.
Different types of headaches include:
- Tension headaches
- Rebound headaches
- Cluster headaches
- Thunderclap headaches
Treatment of Headache
Treatment of headache depends on the severity and duration of the headache. However, headache can be treated by;
Avoid headache triggers
If you know what triggers your headache avoid them. Headache triggers could be noise, caffeine, alcohol, certain food types or excessive activity.
Self-care are home remedies that you can use in treating the headache. These include the use of ice packs, sleeping in a quiet dark room, get some caffeine (if it doesn’t trigger your headache).
You can take some OTC medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen, acetaminophen or some other OTC meds for headache.
Chiropractic and osteopathy
Spinal or cervical manipulation and realignment can be used to ease and treat the headache.
Acupuncture can also be used in the treatment of headache.
This entails meditation, relaxation and how to handle emotional stress.
Botulinum toxin is FDA approved for the treatment of chronic migraine headaches in adults.
Deep breathing, visualization, and other hypnosis therapy relieves stress and helps in the treatment of headache