Last Updated on 9 months by admin
Cervical pain is an excruciating pain that starts in the neck and may radiate down one or both arms. It can be due to various problems or disorders that affect the neck, tissues, nerves, bones, joints, ligaments, or muscles. The cervical spine comprises seven bones (C1-C7 vertebrae) separated by intervertebral discs. During activity, these discs allow the spine to move while acting as shock absorbers.
The spinal column’s interior is divided into an aggregate of hollow longitudinal segments, which run along the back of the body. This segment, known as the spinal canal, contains the area through which the spinal cord and nerve bundles pass. The dura, a leathery sac that covers and protects the spinal cord within the canal, also resides in this space.
Causes of Cervical Pain
The most common cause of cervical pain is muscle strain, which occurs when the muscles and ligaments that support the neck are stretched or torn. It can happen due to poor posture and repetitive or sudden movements. Other causes of cervical pain include:
Degenerative disc disease
Degenerative disc disease is a condition in which the discs between the vertebrae begin to break down and shrink. Degenerative disc disease can lead to pain, numbness, and tingling as the discs lose their ability to cushion the spine.
It is a type of arthritis that occurs when the cartilage that cushions the joints begins to wear away. It can cause the joints to rub against each other, leading to pain and stiffness.
It is a form of arthritis that occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the joints, causing inflammation, pain, and stiffness.
It is a condition in which the spinal canal begins to narrow, applying pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. It can lead to pain, numbness, and tingling.
A herniated disc occurs when one of the discs between the vertebrae ruptures or slips out of place. It puts pressure on the spinal cord or nerves, leading to pain.
This condition occurs as the discs and joints in the neck degenerate with age. This can lead to pain and stiffness.
What are the signs of Cervical pain?
The signs and symptoms of cervical pain can vary depending on the underlying cause. However, some common signs and symptoms include:
- Neck pain
- Shoulder pain
- Pain that radiates down the arm
- Numbness or tingling in the arm or hand
- Weakness in the arm or hand
When should I see a doctor?
You should consult your doctor if you experience any of the following:
- Severe neck pain that does not go away with over-the-counter medication or home treatment
- Neck pain accompanied by numbness, tingling, or weakness in the arms or legs
- Neck pain along with headache, dizziness, or nausea
- Neck pain accompanied by fever, swelling, or redness in the neck or throat
- Sudden onset of severe neck pain after a fall or accident
- Any neck pain that is getting worse over time
How is cervical pain diagnosed?
Cervical pain is usually diagnosed based on a review of your symptoms and a physical examination. Your doctor may also order one or more imaging tests, such as an X-ray, MRI, or CT scan, to better look at the structures in your neck.
What are the treatment options for cervical pain?
The treatment for cervical pain will vary depending on the underlying cause. However, some common treatments include:
- Rest: It is often the first line of treatment for cervical pain. You may need to take a break from your usual activities to allow your body to heal.
- Ice: Applying ice to the affected area will reduce inflammation and pain.
- Heat: Heat application can help relax the muscles and ease the pain.
- Exercise: Once the pain has begun to improve, your doctor may recommend gentle exercises to help strengthen the muscles in your neck.
- Physical therapy: Physiotherapy can teach you exercises and techniques to help reduce pain and improve your range of motion.
- Massage: Massage can help relax the muscles and ease the pain.
- Acupuncture: This ancient Chinese practice involves inserting thin needles into the skin at specific points on the body. It may stimulate the release of endorphins, which can help reduce pain.
- Chiropractic care: A chiropractor can use manual manipulation to realign the bones and joints in your neck. It can help reduce pain and improve the range of motion.
- Surgery: In some severe cases, surgery may be necessary to correct a problem with the bones or discs in your neck.
There are many other potential causes of cervical pain, including viruses, infections, tumors, and injuries. If you are experiencing neck pain, you must see a doctor to diagnose and treat the cause correctly. Treatment for cervical pain will vary depending on the underlying cause. In some cases, rest and over-the-counter pain relievers may be all that are needed. However, more severe conditions may require surgery or other forms of treatment.