Last month, we looked at the prevalence of back pain in many New Jersey residents. We examined the primary causes of back pain and discussed ways in which those suffering can often treat their pain on their own or by seeking professional help. This month, we’re turning our attention to neck pain — an equally distressing health issue, especially among adults 50 and over.
In fact, approximately 23 percent of the population struggles with neck pain, and in recent years, the issue has become exacerbated by the widespread and constant use of smartphones.
If you have been struggling with chronic neck pain, you fully understand how uncomfortable and agonizing this chronic problem can be. Below, we’ll outline the main causes of neck pain just as we did with back pain. We’ll also discuss some of the ways in which altering your usual habits and seeking professional help could significantly reduce or even eliminate your neck pain.
Common Causes of Neck Pain
Neck pain can be caused by a range of issues, including:
- Injury: Whiplash injury (often from auto accidents) is one of the most common causes of neck pain. Whiplash occurs when the head is quickly jerked backward, then forward. With this injury, the soft tissues of the neck are strained, causing often severe, long-term pain.
- Strained Muscles: Another extremely common cause of the neck pain is straining the neck from overuse or misuse. For example, if you’re staring down at your smartphone or sitting at a computer desk all day, overtime, this stress on your neck muscles can result in chronic neck pain.
- Aging: Like all other parts of the body, the joints in your neck will naturally age and wear down over time. One specific culprit of neck pain from aging is osteoarthritis. This condition causes the cartilage between each of the spinal vertebrae to slowly deteriorate with time. The effect is often severe neck and/or back pain.
- Disease: Finally, specific diseases like certain forms of cancer, meningitis, and rheumatoid arthritis may end up causing neck pain, as well.
Tips for Combatting Neck Pain at Home
Not all neck pain is chronic and persistent, and sometimes, it just takes a few at-home treatments to relieve it. If you have been struggling with a nagging neck pain or have experienced the sudden onset of acute neck pain, try these tips:
Apply heat or cold.
Heat or ice may help the affected area. For heat, try a heating pad, single-use heat wraps, or a warm bath or shower. For cold, try an ice pack or a bag of ice cubes wrapped in a towel.
Use an NSAID
NSAIDs (Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs) are over-the-counter drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin). For short-term use, they can be beneficial at reducing pain. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) may also help.
Give yourself a massage.
Self-manipulation of the area that hurts can relieve pain and soreness and encourage blood flow. For optimal results, use lotion or massage oils to gently rub the affected area one to three times a day.
When It’s Time to Seek Professional Help
Neck pain may only respond so much to at-home treatments. At a certain point, if you are not seeing results, you may need to seek professional help. The Spine & Sports Health Center offers several key treatments that may be able to effectively treat the pain you’ve been suffering from and give you widespread relief:
- Physical therapy: We employ both passive and active physical therapy techniques that involve stretching, soft tissue massage, electrical stimulation, postural exercises and more.
- Chiropractic care: Our experienced chiropractors can provide you with a chiropractic adjustment to help alleviate your neck pain. The adjustment involves manual manipulation therapy and helps to align the musculoskeletal structure of the body.
- Injections: In certain situations, an injection can reduce swelling and inflammation and act as near instant pain reliever.
- Acupuncture: This ancient Chinese medical remedy treats neck pain with strategically placed, extremely fine needles.
Contact The Spine & Sports Health Center
If you have been experiencing chronic or acute neck pain and at-home treatments simply aren’t helping enough, the experts at The Spine & Sports Health Center are here to assist. With three locations throughout Hudson County, we have treated and improved the neck pain symptoms of hundreds of patients. We’d love to help you too.
All of our specialists have been trained at the top institutions in New Jersey and New York City. They are board-certified and extremely skilled and experienced in the treatment of neck pain without invasive surgery. Your treatment plan will be catered exactly to your needs so that you receive personalized treatment to truly help alleviate your pain.
To request a consultation at The Spine & Sports Health Center, fill out our simple online contact form, or give us a call at (201) 535-2474. We look forward to working with you!