Acute neck pain usually goes away in about a week or two. In some people, it reappears in certain situations, such as after work or intensive sports. If symptoms last longer than three months, chronic neck pain is considered. Neck pain caused by muscle tension or strain usually goes away on its own within a few days and, at most, needs only conservative treatment.
Neck pain that continues for more than several weeks will generally continue to respond to exercise, stretching, physical therapy, massage, and watchful waiting, but steroid injections or even surgery are occasionally indicated. Most neck pain only lasts a few weeks. There are things you can do yourself to relieve it, but see a family doctor if it doesn't go away. Neck pain is common and tends to go away on its own within a few days.
It hurts to move your head. Are you sleeping badly, is it stress, or is it the result of climbing that ladder to clean your gutters? Let's get to the bottom of those real pain in the neck. When your neck hurts, you may have trouble moving it, especially to the side. Many people describe this as having a stiff neck.
If neck pain involves nerves, such as a muscle spasm, pinching of a nerve, or a herniated disc that presses on a nerve, you may feel numbness, tingling, or weakness in your arm, hand, or anywhere else. A common cause of neck pain is muscle strain or tension. Usually, daily activities are the culprit. These activities include bending over a desk for hours, crouching in place, having poor posture while watching TV or reading, placing your computer monitor too high or too low, sleeping in an uncomfortable position, or jarring twisting and turning your neck while exercising.
You can usually treat mild neck pain at home. Simple posture improvements are a great place to start, sit straight with your shoulders back, drive with your arms on the armrests, and avoid carrying shoulder bags. Take breaks when you're sitting in front of video screens or holding a phone. For pain, you can try over-the-counter pain relievers, such as Advil or Tylenol.
And low-level laser therapy can be very effective. Physical therapy can be great for treating or preventing the recurrence of neck pain. Slow range-of-motion exercises, moving your head up and down, side to side from ear to ear, can gently stretch your neck muscles. A good sleeping position is especially important with the head aligned with the body.
You can try to sleep with a special neck pillow. You may want to see a doctor if your symptoms persist for more than a week of self-care, if you have numbness, tingling, or weakness in your arm or hand, or if the pain was caused by a fall, blow, or injury. If the pain is due to muscle spasm or nerve impingement, your doctor may prescribe a muscle relaxant or tricyclic antidepressant and, possibly, a stronger pain reliever than you were taking at home. You may be referred to a neurologist if you suspect nerve damage in your neck.
You can help prevent neck pain or prevent it from coming back in many ways. Use relaxation techniques and regular exercise to avoid unwanted stress and tension on your neck muscles. Learn stretching exercises for the neck and upper body, do stretches every day, before and especially after exercise. Adopt good posture, especially if you sit at a desk all day, keep your back supported, adjust the computer monitor at eye level, so you don't have to continuously look up or down.
Talk to your doctor if the pain persists, you don't want to go through life with real pain in your neck. Pain usually worsens with activity, but sometimes, neck posture can relieve discomfort in a certain way. When neck pain continues to interfere with routine activities or persists for days without improvement, it's a good idea to schedule an appointment with your doctor. Don't wear a neck collar; it's best to keep your neck moving (unless your doctor tells you not to).
This can completely put pressure on the nerve tissue and cause significant pain in the neck that can also radiate down one or both arms to the shoulder. This increases friction between the vertebrae and, as a result, can cause pain and stiffness in the neck. When severe neck pain results from major trauma, such as a car accident or falling from a ladder, it should be treated as a medical emergency. Neck pain symptoms can be constant, go away quickly, come and go regularly, or come back intermittently.
Neck pain can also interfere with other daily activities, such as dressing or going to work, or any activity that involves turning the head, such as driving. If neck pain involves nerve compression, you may feel numbness, tingling, or weakness in your arm or hand. Learn the 4 types of neck pain and the differences between acute short-term pain and long-lasting chronic pain. .