Neck pain is a common problem, and most of the time, it does not signify a serious problem. You can experience Memorial Area neck pain when your muscles strain due to poor posture, such as bad sleeping posture and leaning over your phone. Sometimes neck pain may be due to medical conditions such as osteoarthritis. Although you can find relief with self-care measures such as hot or cold compresses, the discomfort may occasionally persist. Consider seeking professional help if the pain persists or you have additional symptoms such as numbness and muscle weakness. Below are the causes of neck pain and ways to prevent it.
What causes neck pain?
Medical conditions such as osteoarthritis can be a cause of neck pain. Osteoarthritis causes the cartilage that cushions your bones to wear out. The friction that occurs when bones glide over each other also causes the bones to wear out. The body forms bone spurs that limit joint motion and cause pain as a natural response.
- Muscle strain
Your neck muscles can strain due to overuse or repeated use. For example, leaning over your computer for several hours can cause muscle strain. Other activities such as reading a book in bed and using your smartphone all day can cause neck pain.
- Compressed nerves
The nerves in your spinal space can get compressed when a disc bulges from the spinal cord. Bone spurs in your spine’s cervical area can also compress nerves branching from the spinal cord, producing pain.
When should I see a doctor?
Often, neck pain goes away with home treatment such as over-the-counter medication and gentle stretches. However, consider visiting your doctor if the pain is severe and does not improve with self-care measures. If your pain results from an injury such as an auto accident or a fall, get immediate help. You should also contact the physician if your pain is severe, radiates down your legs or arms, and is accompanied by numbness.
How can I prevent neck pain?
Since most neck pain is associated with poor posture, simple adjustments in your everyday routine can help you prevent neck pain or stop it from worsening. Examples of these practices include:
- Take frequent breaks in between long hours of sitting. It includes traveling long distances or working a desk job for long hours. Moving around helps stretch your neck and shoulder muscles and reduces your risk of neck pain.
- Stop smoking. Cigarettes contain nicotine which constricts or narrows your blood vessels. It limits the oxygen and nutrients your bones get, and over time, they become brittle. For this reason, you can easily fracture your bones. Smoking can also interfere with the effectiveness of the medications used for neck pain.
- Use your speakerphone or headphones when you talk – don’t support your phone between your ear and one of your shoulders.
- Don’t carry heavy bags over your shoulders as the weight can cause an imbalance and strain your neck muscles.
- Don’t lean over your computer as you work but instead, use a desk and ensure the screen is at eye level.
For further questions about neck pain, consult with your doctor at Expert Pain to learn more.