Neck pain or chronic neck pain
The neck, a risk area
The nape of the neck is one of the most fragile areas of the spine. Why? Because the cervical vertebrae are constantly called upon to carry the weight of the head, which varies from 5 to 8 kg depending on the individual.
The neck is made up of 7 vertebrae, named Cervicale 1, 2,... up to 7.
The vertebrae are separated by intervertebral discs. These discs contain a gel that ensures mobility of the neck and allows it to absorb shocks. Without these discs, the vertebrae would rub against each other, causing the mechanics to squeak.
The whole is surrounded by muscles, tendons and ligaments which must support the joints of the spine, giving them both stability and mobility.
Many people complain of back pain, and many of them suffer from localized pain in the neck area.
Neck pain affects 30 to 50 of the adult population. This is explained by the aging of the population, but also by the more sedentary lifestyle, the prolonged maintenance of seated positions in front of computer screens.
Women are more prone to neck pain than men. Certain categories of workers are more exposed than others, for example painters or joint fencers who must maintain the neck in a position of prolonged flexion or extension. The same applies to people working with a microscope or a computer.
Neck pain has effects that are more or less inhibiting, depending on the case. This ranges from discomfort in rotating the neck sometimes to one side more than the other, to pain in the upper neck, upper back and even shoulders. Some experience headaches, others experience dizziness. There are even people who experience numbness or even tingling sensations in the arms or hands. Neck pain is sometimes accompanied by fever and can cause sleep disturbances.
Most of the time, neck pain goes away within a few days or weeks, unless the neck vertebrae are affected by a rheumatic disease called osteoarthritis, and more specifically cervical spondylosis.
Multiple origins: what are the causes of neck pain?
Neck pain, so called neck pain, have multiple origins:
- They can occur because of a shock: this is the traumatic neck pain caused by the rabbit's neck in an accident or by a fall.
- Neck pain can be visceral, caused by infection or other problems in the larynx-pharynx or esophagus. A strong sore throat can, for example, trigger pain in the neck.
- There are also neck pain mechanical that affect the joint. This is the case with cervical osteoarthritis, for example. Osteoarthritis gradually destroys the discs that separate the cervical vertebrae. And the spinal cord, present in the spine, is compressed. This causes tingling in the extremities.
- And then, very often, neck pain is the postural origin. It is caused by a bad posture, at home or at work. Bad postures repeated daily lead to neck pain over time. It is the muscles but also the joints that may be affected.
- Not to mention a new disease affecting mobile phone users: the syndrome of text-neck, neck pain due to bad head positions when using smartphones.
Neck pain has many forms
If the origins of neck pain are numerous, the forms which can take are just as many:
- Cervical pain, which is also called whiplash can occur at the time of a car accident, when the head is thrown forward and then back. But it can also result from a violent impact during the practice of a sport.
- The torticollis results from an involuntary muscle contraction, a form of spasm, which occurs on the side of the neck, or at the back of the neck. The head gets stuck in certain positions. Any neck movement becomes painful, if not impossible. Most often stiff necks come on suddenly, sometimes in a time of high stress.
- Meningitis sometimes causes severe stiffness in the neck which can be confused with stiff neck. But it is then accompanied by fever, vomiting and/or severe headaches which invite to consult a doctor as soon as possible.
- The cervical tensions and muscle stiffness comes from prolonged bad postures or repetitive movements that cause muscle contractions in the shoulders and neck. These tensions eventually become painful and can escalate into chronic illness.
- Cervical spondylosis (or cervicarthrosis) is one of the forms of rheumatism that affects the vertebrae at the top of the column. It is more common in women who sometimes suffer from it as early as the age of 35, while it most often does not occur until their fifties in men. It primarily affects people who have already suffered minor incidents in the neck. It can cause headaches, dizziness when changing position or ringing in the ears, and even vision problems.
- In 10 of the cases, neck pain is caused by an inflammation of the joints callede arthritis (see Article on Rheumatism).
Better safe than sorry: how to prevent and cure neck pain?
There are preventive measures that prevent musculoskeletal problems in the neck. It is a series of daily actions that can have a beneficial effect in the short and long term.
Avoid bad postures
You should never sit still for too long without changing your position. Moving and correcting your attitude consciously helps to avoid stiff necks.
You have to adapt your workstation to your size: adjust your chair and especially the height of the screen if you are working on a computer. The center of the screen should be at eye level, so that the head does not tilt forward or back.
Avoid talking on the phone for too long with the phone wedged between your shoulder and neck, or keeping your head down for too long, to avoid text-neck pain.
In the standing position, adopt a straight posture by moving your pelvis forward a little. The back will be less strained and the spine will keep its natural curvature.
The three simple exercises shown in this video can also be very effective in relieving neck pain and working on posture.
The use of a posture corrector is providential when bad habits are well established. It is very difficult to correct your posture habits without a great dose of self-help. A posture corrector helps you get back to good habits for faster and more effective change.
Flee the drafts
Air currents can cause contractures and pain in the neck. When it is cold or humid, it is safe to wear a scarf or scarf to protect your neck. Beware of air conditioning which often causes colds that are dangerous for the joints.
Choosing the right pillow
During sleep, the head and neck should be well aligned. You must therefore choose your pillow very carefully. Give preference to ergonomic or anatomical pillows that conform to the shape of the head and neck. Avoid pillows that are too bulky or too soft.
Practice physical exercises
There is nothing worse than keeping your neck still when squeezing neck pain. On the contrary, it is necessary to set in motion to decrease the tension which contracts the muscles.
Exercises help prevent stiffness, swimming and walking are particularly recommended. Physical activity stimulates the production of endorphin which acts as a natural pain reliever.
Release the stress
Stress causes muscle tightness which affects most sensitive points of the body, such as the neck.
Avoiding stressful situations will relieve the whole body and the neck in particular.
If stress persists or recurs, yoga or relaxation sessions can provide physical relief.
Acupressure achieved through a acupressure mat is a good way to help you get rid of stress.
Take all the opportunities that present themselves, on a daily basis, to return to the awareness of the moment and of its bodily presence.
Feel the nape of an Magnetic and Heating Cervical Collar, the heat relaxes the muscles.
Lie down on a yoga mat and stretch gradually to regain its straightness. Take care of your neck and body.
We will then understand that non-intrusive and effective solutions exist to relieve neck pain but also other related ailments!
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Source: Universalis Encyclopedia