What to do if your neck hurts?

The doctor conducts a diagnostic examination of a patient with neck pain

Neck pain can occur for a variety of reasons. Let's answer the question "What to do if your neck hurts? " And tips on best treatments.

Neck pain can cause significant discomfort to each of us. At the same time, the usual way of life is disturbed and the person is deprived of the opportunity to perform daily work. There is often dizziness, tinnitus and visual impairment. The reasons for such violations can be of very different nature. We will talk about them later.

What neck pain is there?

Neck pain can be temporary and cause only mild discomfort to a person, or it can be more intense and disrupt the normal rhythm of life. As a rule, patients notice an acute muscle spasm in this part of the body, which is accompanied by severe pain. It can be throbbing, sore or tingling.

One woman is worried about a sharp pain in the back of her neck

In this case, there is an increase in discomfort during physical activity or prolonged stay in one position. For these reasons, one should make turns with the whole body to prevent increased strain on the neck.

Thus, neck pain can be classified as follows:

  • Sharp. Duration not more than 10 days;
  • Chronic. Anxiety of the face for a long time;
  • Vertebrogenic. They occur in the presence of degenerative-dystrophic changes in the cervical spine, including compression of the spinal cord roots and damage to the intervertebral discs;
  • Nonvertebrogenic. They occur against the background of other negative factors, including inflammatory and infectious processes in the muscular area, disorders of the lymph nodes and thyroid gland.

In case of painful sensations of vertebrogenic nature, there is discomfort in the area of the upper limbs, the back of the head, the shoulder joint and the arms. In this case there is a loss of sensitivity, limitation of motor activity and numbness in the extremities, which is considered to be a consequence of compression of the spinal roots. In addition, in these cases the patient noted a syndrome of acute pain in the head, dizziness and seizures, which indicates the presence of a herniated disc.

The need for an urgent visit to a specialist is indicated by the presence of painful sensations of an acute nature, which are accompanied by loss of sensitivity in the back of the head, the appearance of tinnitus and dizziness.

A neurologist examines a patient who has neck pain

Causes of neck pain

Before deciding what to do if your neck hurts, you need to accurately diagnose the nature of the disease. In some cases, it can be difficult for a person to distinguish between sore throat and cervical spine discomfort, as the sensations can be intense and associated with pain throughout the neck. If at the same time the patient feels fever or sore throat, this may indicate the presence of viral infections, which include: pharyngitis, laryngitis, tonsillitis, ARVI and others. In addition, similar symptoms may occur when:

  • Insufficient intake of vitamins in the body;
  • In case of foreign objects in the throat area;
  • Increased synthesis of cortisol from the adrenal cortex;
  • The presence of pathological neoplasms in the throat;
  • Gastroesophageal reflux.

But, as a rule, patients are able to distinguish diseases of the throat from neck pain, which can be localized in the front, back and sides.

Patient with pain in the front of the neck

Causes of pain in the front of the neck

The appearance of discomfort in the front of the neck or under the chin can be observed against the background of:

  • Inflammation of the muscles associated with nerves and ligaments;
  • Pathological processes in the thyroid gland;
  • Acute insufficiency of myocardial blood supply;
  • In the presence of abscesses and cystic formations;
  • Destructive processes in the area of lymph nodes.

It should be noted that the factors causing pain in this part of the body are difficult to determine. In such cases, it is better to make an appointment with an experienced specialist for an accurate diagnosis of the disease.

It is important to note that discomfort in the front of the neck can occur when the nerve roots are compressed and with pathological changes in the intervertebral discs.

Causes of pain in the back of the neck

One of the most frequently asked questions among modern people is: "What should I do if my neck hurts in the back? "lead to pathological disorders of the vertebrae and as a result provoke the appearance of pain in the neck.

Protrusion of the intervertebral disc causes neck pain

Therefore, if your neck hurts from behind and you do not know what to do with unpleasant symptoms, we recommend that you first contact an experienced vertebrologist or mechanic. The fact is that the above signs most often indicate serious pathologies of the spine, which include:

  • Osteochondrosis. It is characterized by degenerative-dystrophic disorders in the area of intervertebral discs, as well as reduction of their strength and height;
  • Protrusion. We are talking about a protrusion of the intervertebral disc, which increases the likelihood of pinching the arteries and nerve roots;
  • Disc herniation of the spine. In the absence of timely therapeutic measures, the pulpal nucleus may enlarge and penetrate the spinal canal. In this case, the spinal cord and nerve roots are compressed. At an advanced stage, the contents of the intervertebral disc are able to separate and "float freely" in the spinal canal. This in turn can cause a complete lack of motor activity of the spine;
  • Spondylosis. We are talking about a disease in which pathological bone growths appear at the end of the vertebrae. In this case, flattening of the intervertebral discs occurs, which can gradually provoke pathological connections of the nearby vertebrae and reduce the motor activity of the neck;
  • Myofascial syndrome. Pathological process characterized by the appearance of spasms in muscle tissue and as a result of the occurrence of acute pain syndrome during movement;
  • Compression fractures. This process occurs in the vertebral area in the elderly. Manifested as a result of a whiplash or as a result of osteoporosis and poses a serious danger to the human body;
  • Ankylosing spondylitis. It is accompanied by pathological fusion of the vertebrae, damage to all joints and total reduction of motor activity.

In rare cases, pain in the back of the neck occurs against the background of osteomyelitis or tuberculosis of the spine.

The deposition of cholesterol on the inner walls of blood vessels provokes pain in the side of the neck

What is the cause of neck pain?

Usually the pain on the side of the neck is throbbing or tingling. In addition, the pain can radiate to the ear or shoulder joint, which often leads to curvature of the neck to the lesion. Similar situations occur in the presence of the following diseases:

  • Vascular pathologies, including the deposition of cholesterol on the inner walls of blood vessels;
  • Muscle spasms that occur due to excessive strain on the neck, exposure to heat factors or a sudden change in head position;
  • The presence of malignancies in the larynx, pharynx or thyroid gland.

Diagnosis of neck pain

So to understand what to do if the neck hurts, you must first understand the etiology of the origin of the disease. The most common cause of discomfort is a pathological process in the cervical spine. Therefore, when the first unpleasant symptoms appear, a visit to a vertebrologist, neurologist or manualist is recommended.

MRI of the cervical spine is the best method for diagnosing neck pain

After listening to the patient's complaints and performing the necessary diagnostic measures, the doctor will give clear recommendations for further treatment. Not only will you be able to figure out what to do if your shoulders and neck ache, but you can also figure out the cause of the discomfort.

However, it is the pathological changes in the spine that most often provoke the appearance of the above disease. In fact, even minor pathologies in the spinal area can provoke disturbances in the transmission of nerve signals from the spinal cord to the internal systems of the body.

This is due to the fact that each part of the spinal cord controls the work of a particular organ, and in the case of disorders in the cervical region, the muscles of the neck and shoulder area, as well as ENT organs and thyroid gland are affected. The intensity of the pain syndrome depends on the degree of development of the disease.

Therefore, if you have pain in the back of the head and neck, before looking for a way out, what to do, you need to make a thorough diagnosis. In the course of it the following activities are implemented:

  • A blood test is done;
  • Ultrasound examination of the thyroid gland, cervical vessels and salivary glands is performed;
  • A blood test is performed for the presence of thyroid hormones;
  • An X-ray is taken of the cervical spine;
  • Electromyography is prescribed;
  • NMR;
  • CT.

In this case, the most informative diagnostic method is MRI. In the course of it it is possible to make a detailed analysis of the condition of the intervertebral discs, to study the condition of the blood supply organs and to identify the symptoms of spinal cord compression. Thanks to this method it is possible to assess the presence of a particular disease in advance, in its initial stages of development, which significantly increases the effectiveness of future therapeutic measures.

Treatment of neck pain

To understand what to do if the left, front or back of the neck hurts, you need to consider individual points, which include the intensity of the pain syndrome, the severity of existing changes, the presence of chronic pathologies and the relevant expert opinion. In addition, patients with the same type of disorder may be recommended different therapeutic measures, as in this case the age factor and individual characteristics of the organism are taken into account.

However, even if a person has very severe neck pain, there is no specific way to correct the situation. The recommended therapeutic measures are always complex in nature and are aimed both at eliminating the negative manifestations of the disease and at combating its causes.

The main components of the proposed treatment include:

  • The use of drugs;
  • Manual treatment;
  • Osteopathy;
  • Massage procedures;
  • The use of physiotherapeutic methods;
  • Visit to a rehabilitation specialist.

In addition, when a pathological process in the area of the cervical spine is detected, the patient must adjust to his usual way of life. For example, office workers and drivers are encouraged to introduce regular physical training and change body positions more often during the working day.

You also need to enrich your diet with healthy foods. This will make it possible to speed up the body's recovery process.

Medicines for neck pain

The nature of the prescribed drugs depends on the diagnosis and the presence of chronic pathologies. The following is a list of medications that are recommended for most patients when diagnosing such a disease:

Medicines for neck pain
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. They have a powerful anesthetic effect, relieve inflammation;
  • Corticosteroid hormones. Helps to deal with inflammation in situations where non-steroidal drugs are inactive;
  • The use of drugs that eliminate muscle spasms, which can significantly reduce the intensity of the pain syndrome;
  • A group of drugs whose main components are glycosaminoglycans (chondroprotectors). Promote the regeneration of cartilage tissue, have increased efficiency in the early stages of diseases of the spine;
  • Vitamin D. Promotes the restoration of brain function, improves the condition of the skeletal system;
  • Vitamins of group B. Allow to improve the process of transmission of impulses from the spinal cord to the internal systems, as well as to normalize their normal functioning;
  • Antibacterial drugs, antihypertensive drugs, hormonal drugs, etc.

In case of painful manifestations of considerable intensity, a solution containing anesthetic and corticosteroid hormone is injected into the area of the nerve endings of the neck. However, during the application of the blockade there is a possibility of injury and infection of the nerve, which requires high professional training.

Palliative care session for neck pain

Manual neck treatment

One of the most effective methods for eliminating neck pain and the reasons that provoke their appearance is manual therapy. The method is based on a direct effect on the spine and nearby tissues. The main difference between this procedure and therapeutic massage is the ability to train not only the muscles of the neck and back, but also to affect the spine.

With the application of manual treatment by a competent specialist, it is possible to achieve a noticeable improvement in the patient's condition after the first procedures. It is possible to get a healing effect due to:

  • Bringing the vertebrae to the correct position and restoring the axis of the spine;
  • Expansion of the intervertebral space and release of pinched vessels and roots. This allows you to normalize the functioning of the internal systems of the body, especially the brain;
  • Relieve muscle spasm and stiffness in the neck, which can reduce the intensity of pain;
  • Restoration of blood supply to tissues.
Tightening the spine can help relieve neck pain

Physiotherapeutic treatment of neck pain

The main goal of physiotherapy procedures is to increase the effectiveness of therapeutic measures. They are used only outside the exacerbation stage. With a competent professional approach, physiotherapy has a pronounced analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect, and also allows you to improve blood flow to tissues and restore muscle tone.

Most often the patient is advised to take courses that include 10-15 sessions. They include:

  • Ultrasound method;
  • Use of laser radiation;
  • Exposure of the affected area with direct electric current in combination with the application of drugs;
  • Shock wave therapy;
  • Traction of the spine;
  • Treatment with mud, etc.

The number of procedures and the frequency of their implementation are determined individually. Individual methods of exposure can be performed simultaneously, the rest must be performed at certain intervals.

Shock wave treatment for neck pain

Effect of shock wave therapy for neck pain

You should refuse the possibility of self-medication, as this can not only worsen your condition, but also lead to irreversible consequences. For example, if your neck hurts in the back of the base or a pinched nerve, it is better to contact an experienced specialist in a proven clinic.

In good clinics, modern and effective methods of treatment are applied, thanks to which each patient has the opportunity to normalize the condition of the neck without dangerous consequences for the body. Thanks to the use of innovative and highly efficient equipment, as well as the participation of specialists of the highest level in medical procedures, you can count on a long-term and reliable result.

The completed course of shock wave therapy will allow you to quickly stop the pain syndrome, deal with the causes of the disease, as well as eliminate the possibility of complications in bone tissue and muscle area. You will be able to feel a noticeable improvement in your condition even after the first procedure of exposure to shock waves.

Exercise therapy to relieve muscle tension in the cervical spine

Physiotherapeutic exercises for neck pain

If your neck hurts after sleep or it hurts to turn your head, a mandatory stage of treatment, among other methods, is medical therapy. Because the cause of cervical pain is often excessive muscle tension and concomitant degenerative-dystrophic changes in the vertebrae, exercise therapy should be performed daily.

The exercise program is designed individually for each patient. In this case, the individual characteristics of the organism, the age factor, the severity of the disorders and the degree of physical fitness of the person are taken into account. The participation of a rehabilitation doctor in the development of the above program is mandatory. In this case, the patient should avoid overload and sudden movements.

Preventive actions

To prevent the appearance of pain in the neck, in the first place, the patient should pay attention to the organization of his working day. If his work involves a long stay in one position, a prerequisite for maintaining health is the periodic performance of gymnastics. Obesity is often the cause of pathological conditions in the cervical spine. This implies the need to introduce a proper diet, go to the gym and exercise in the pool. When sleeping at night, a special orthopedic mattress should be used.