Neck pain is the most frequent complaint characterized by strained neck muscles due to poor posture either due to leaning over computer or hunching over workbench. Mostly neck pain is caused by osteoarthritis.
Neck pain presents as:
- Pain in the neck which is worsened by keeping head in one position for long time like during driving etc
- Reduction in the range of motion of head
- Tightness or spasm of neck muscles
As neck is a flexible structure and hold the weight of head it is vulnerable to injuries and conditions that result in pain and reduce range of motion. Main causes are:
- Muscle strain
- Worn joints
- Compression of nerve
- Rear-end auto collisions injuries
- In some disease like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis or cancer
Diagnosis of neck pain depends upon detailed medical history and complete general physical examination of the patient. Other tests include:
- Imaging tests like CT scan, Xray, MRI
- Blood tests
- Electromyography (EMG)
- Medications like over-the-counter painkillers, muscle relaxants, tricyclic antidepressants for pain relief
- Therapies including physical therapy, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), traction, short-term immobilization
- Invasive procedure like steroid injections for pain and surgery incase of spinal cord compression is considered.
Lifestyle and home remedies
- Taking over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen etc
- Alternatively applying ice packs and heating to relieve pain and inflammation.
- Light exercising at home
- Massaging of neck by trained practitioner