Neck pain

Neck pain, which affects all age groups, young, old and children, impairs the quality of life, sometimes with headaches and sometimes back pain. It is reported that one out of every 3 people experience neck pain at least once in their lifetime. The pain is usually mild and transient, but in rare cases it can be very painful or even severe enough to cause disability.

The neck is the area between the head and the body that allows the head to move and the body to remain in balance during this movement. The structure through which the very important vessels feeding the brain and the spinal cord pass is also the exit region of the nerves going to the arms. It is the most mobile part of the spine and has a complex and different joint, muscle and ligament structure than other spinal regions.

Causes of neck pain

Neck pain is mostly caused by the muscles around the neck and neck-shoulder belt, especially in young people. Neck hernias called slipped disc in the neck are also among the rarer but important causes. Calcification, which occurs due to damage to the vertebrae, discs and ligaments with aging, is also a common condition.

Most neck pain is caused by posture disorders. Working in the same position for a long time (for example, those who work at a desk) and activities where the head is constantly looking up (such as painting) pose a risk. From this point of view, it is a table in which occupational risk factors are at the forefront. Many occupational groups such as those working in front of a computer, working in a workshop standing still, handicraftsmen and painters are at risk.

In addition, traffic accidents, falls, sports injuries, falling asleep in the wrong position, use of high pillows, bad travel conditions can cause injuries and cause neck pain.

Neck Calcification

The degenerative changes that cause neck calcifications actually progress starting at the age of 20-30, but usually do not cause any complaints. Over time, damage to the joints also causes changes in the surrounding muscles and ligaments. When a factor that increases the neck pain mentioned above is encountered, or sometimes it manifests itself with pain. If the growth of the bones in the vertebrae and joints due to damage is at an advanced stage, there may be compression on the nerve roots coming out of the neck or the spinal cord itself.

Neck hernia

It is the clinical picture that occurs as a result of the overflow of the tissue called the disc, which acts as a cushion between both neck vertebrae, towards the nerves that go to the spinal cord and arm. Depending on the size of the press, many different complaints may arise. Only neck and arm pain or loss of strength in the arm muscles, numbness in the hands, numbness and clumsiness may also be seen. In case of compression towards the spinal cord, difficulty in walking, weakness in the legs and urinary complaints can also be seen. Fortunately, neck hernias actually occupy a lesser place among the causes of neck pain. However, it is a situation that should be evaluated carefully because of the problems it may cause, especially muscle strength loss.
inflammatory rheumatic diseases

The neck region is one of the involvement areas of some common and well-known rheumatic diseases such as ankylosing spondylitis and rheumatoid arthritis. Patients with such a rheumatic disease should be evaluated from these aspects.

Soft tissue (muscle) rheumatism

The neck region is a region that is used a lot, is under stress and does not have much opportunity to relax, due to the necessity of keeping the head upright and being the starting point or attachment point of the muscles attached to the shoulder. In addition, it is the region with the most muscle contraction when people are upset, tense and bored. With this contraction that occurs with stress, the tension in the joints of the muscles causes neck and even headaches.

Although the most common diseases of the neck regions are the ones mentioned above, cancer or cancer spreads, bone tuberculosis, diseases involving the bone are also conditions that should be kept in mind. Another important issue is that shoulder pain is very confused with neck pain. Situations such as pain or limitation of movement when raising the shoulder or turning it back, and the inability to lie on the affected side support that the pain may originate from the shoulder.

Diagnosis in neck pain

In the patient presenting with neck pain, the duration of the pain, the reasons that increase or decrease it, occupation, whether the pain spreads to the arm, whether there is pain, numbness or muscle weakness in the arms and hands, whether the patient has an additional rheumatic disease, and sleep status should be questioned. Afterwards, with a very careful examination, it should be determined whether the pain originates from structures such as bones, discs, or muscles originating from the neck. Careful neurological examination should be performed because of the possible risk of compression on the spinal canal or nerve roots. Afterwards, imaging methods such as direct X-ray, MR or tomography, and EMG can be performed to identify or differentiate conditions related to nerve involvement. If necessary, the diagnosis can be supported by blood tests.

Neck pain treatment

A sore and stiff neck may get better in a matter of days or weeks without any specific treatment. Usually all that is required is to maintain a position that is as comfortable as possible. When neck pain is severe and lasts for a long time, the following treatment methods can be used.

Medication

Medications can be used to reduce pain in low back pain. For this purpose, analgesic/antirheumatic drugs, muscle relaxants, adjuvant drugs, weak opioids can be used. These drugs can be taken orally or used as a gel/cream applied externally.

Non-Drug Treatments

-Rest: Another treatment method is rest. For this purpose, the use of a neck collar can be recommended.

Complementary medicine methods: Complementary medicine methods such as acupuncture, neural therapy, ozone therapy, mesotherapy, prolotherapy can be used to control neck pain. Among these treatments, acupuncture, neural therapy and ozone therapy are used in our clinic. These 3 methods are the methods we prefer because they allow the treatment of other systems that can cause neck pain with their low side-effect profile, ability to control pain quickly and with a holistic perspective.

-Physical therapy: Combined use of physical therapy tools in neck pain is recommended because it is one of the successful treatment methods that have been used for many years. It can control pain in the neck region by reducing muscle spasm, reducing edema and increasing blood flow.

Exercise

The purpose of exercise is to strengthen the muscles around the neck, shorten the muscles that have been shortened due to spasm, and stretch the ligaments. In this way, a balanced and natural corset is formed around the neck.

Since muscle tension has a great effect on neck pain, stretching exercises must be performed on the neck and shoulder girdle muscles.

In addition, exercises that work large muscle groups called aerobic exercises and increase the heart rate and respiratory rate should also be done. These exercises also increase the endorphins, which are called happiness hormones, and improve the patient’s mood and reduce pain. These exercises are exercises such as running, walking, swimming, dancing. The patient should do what he likes more. Because aerobic exercises must be done for at least 8 weeks for the expected effects to occur.

Useful advice for people with neck pain

  • Do not lift, pull or push heavy objects, divide the loads you will carry into two equal parts and carry them close to your body.

  • Do not carry a load with your head. Do not lift loads above head level.

  • Do not keep your neck bent forward or in the same position all the time (reading, doing crafts, writing, etc.)

  • Do not pinch the phone between the neck and shoulders while talking.

  • While sitting, keep your back straight and recline.

  • If necessary, reinforce your neck with a neck pillow that fits your neck curve.

  • Do not use excessively high pillows.

  • Organize your working terms and conditions well.

  • Change positions every 30 minutes, especially at the computer and desk.

 

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