A stiff neck is typically characterized by soreness and difficulty moving the neck, especially when trying to turn the head to the side. It may also be accompanied by a headache, neck pain, shoulder pain and/or arm pain. In order to look sideways or over the shoulder, an individual may need to turn the entire body instead of the stiff neck common Causes of Stiff Neck
By far the most common cause of a stiff neck is a muscle strain or soft tissue sprain. In particular, the levator scapulae muscle is susceptible to injury. Located at the back and side of the neck, the levator scapulae muscle connects the neck’s cervical spine with the shoulder. This muscle is controlled by the third and fourth cervical nerves (C3, C4).
Most people are familiar with the pain and inconvenience of a stiff neck, whether it appeared upon waking up one morning or perhaps developed later in the day after some strenuous activity, such as moving furniture. In most cases, pain and stiffness go away naturally within a week. However, how an individual manages and cares for the stiff neck symptoms can affect pain levels, recovery time, and the likelihood of whether it will return.
The levator scapulae muscle may be strained throughout the course of many common, everyday activities, such as:
Sleeping with the neck at an awkward position
Falling or sudden impact that pushes the head to the side, such as sports injuries
Turning the head side to side repeatedly during an activity, such as swimming the front crawl stroke
Slouching with poor posture while viewing the computer monitor or looking downward at a mobile phone for prolonged periods (sometimes referred to as "text neck")
Experiencing excessive stress or anxiety, which can lead to tension in the neck
Holding the neck in an abnormal position for a long period, such as cradling a phone between the neck and shoulder
The cause of the stiff neck may be obvious if symptoms start right away, such as after falling during a sporting event. If a stiff neck seems to develop out of nowhere, however, it could be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause.
Uncommon Causes of Stiff Neck
Sometimes neck stiffness is a reaction to an underlying disorder of the cervical spine, which helps support and move the neck in addition to protecting the spinal cord. Several examples of cervical spine disorders that can cause neck muscles to painfully spasm or tighten include
Cervical herniated disc. The protective outer portion of a disc in the cervical spine breaks down, and the inner portion leaks out, causing compression and inflammation in nearby tissues.
Cervical degenerative disc disease. As discs lose hydration and height over time, pressure increases on nearby joints, nerves, and soft tissues, such as ligaments and muscles. This process can result in neck pain and stiffness.
Cervical osteoarthritis. Arthritic breakdown of the cervical facet joints between vertebral bones often occurs along with other degenerative conditions, such as spinal stenosis, and anatomical changes, such as bone spurs.
Dos and Don’ts for a Stiff Neck
Oftentimes, making it easy for a day or two is all that is needed to give the neck’s soft tissues a chance to heal. In cases where the pain is significant, an individual may want to use over-the-counter pain medication or apply ice and/or heat therapy.
Wearing a cervical collar to immobilize a stiff neck is not advised. Rather, an individual with a stiff neck should try to stick to normal activity levels if possible, especially after the first day or two.
When to See a Doctor for a Stiff Neck
If a stiff neck has not shown improvement after a week, it should be checked by a doctor. Also, regardless of how long it has lasted, a stiff neck accompanied by any red flag symptoms—such as a fever, headache, nausea or vomiting, or unexplained sleepiness—should be seen by a medical professional immediately.
Neck pain can be caused by many things—but is most often related to getting older. Like the rest of the body, the discs and joints in the neck (cervical spine) slowly degenerate as we age. Cervical spondylosis, commonly called arthritis of the neck, is the medical term for these age-related, wear-and-tear changes that occur over time.
Cervical spondylosis is extremely common. More than 85 percent of people over the age of 60 are affected. The condition most often causes pain and stiffness in the neck—although many people with cervical spondylosis experience no noticeable symptoms. In most cases, cervical spondylosis responds well to conservative treatment that includes medication and physical therapy.
Your spine is made up of 24 bones, called vertebrae, that are stacked on top of one another. These bones connect to create a canal that protects the spinal cord.
The seven small vertebrae that begin at the base of the skull and form the neck comprise the cervical spine.
Other parts of your spine include:
Spinal cord and nerves. These "electrical" cables travel through the spinal canal carrying messages between your brain and muscles. Nerve roots branch out from the spinal cord through openings in the vertebrae (foramen).
Intervertebral disks. In between your vertebrae are flexible intervertebral disks. They act as shock absorbers when you walk or run.
Intervertebral disks are flat and round and about a half-inch thick. They are made up of two components:
• Annulus fibrosus. This is the tough, flexible outer ring of the disk.
• Nucleus pulposus. This is the soft, jelly-like center of the disk.
Cervical spondylosis arises from degenerative changes that occur in the spine as we age. These changes are normal and they occur in everyone. In fact, nearly half of all people middle-aged and older have worn disks that do not cause painful symptoms.
Disk Degeneration and Bone Spurs
As the disks in the spine age, they lose height and begin to bulge. They also lose water content, begin to dry out and weaken. This problem causes settling, or collapse, of the disk spaces and loss of disk space height.
As the facet joints experience increased pressure, they also begin to degenerate and develop arthritis, similar to what may occur in the hip or knee joint. The smooth, slippery articular cartilage that covers and protects the joints wears away.
If the cartilage wears away completely, it can result in bone rubbing on bone. To make up for the lost cartilage, your body may respond by growing new bone in your facet joints to help support the vertebrae. Over time, this bone overgrowth — called bone spurs — may narrow the space for the nerves and spinal cord to pass through (stenosis).
Age is the most common risk factor for cervical spondylosis. The condition is extremely common in patients who are middle-aged and older.
Other factors that may increase your risk for developing cervical spondylosis and neck pain include:
• Genetics—a family history of neck pain and spondylosis
• Smoking—clearly linked to increased neck pain
• Occupation—jobs with lots of repetitive neck motion and overhead work
• Depression or anxiety
• Previous injury or trauma to the neck
For most people, cervical spondylosis causes no symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they typically include pain and stiffness in the neck. This pain can range from mild to severe. It is sometimes worsened by looking up or looking down for a long time, or by activities in which the neck is held in the same position for a prolonged period of time—such as driving or reading a book. The pain usually improves with rest or lying down.
Other symptoms may include:
• Grinding or popping noise or sensation when you turn your neck
• In some cases, cervical spondylosis results in a narrowing of the space needed for the spinal cord or nerve roots. If this occurs, your symptoms may include numbness and weakness in the arms, hands, and fingers
• Trouble walking, loss of balance, or weakness in the hands or legs
• Muscle spasms in the neck and shoulders
Neck pain is a common complaint. Neck muscles can be strained from poor posture — whether it's leaning over your computer or hunching over your workbench. Osteoarthritis also is a common cause of neck pain.
Rarely, neck pain can be a symptom of a more serious problem. Seek medical care if your neck pain is accompanied by numbness or loss of strength in your arms or hands or if you have shooting pain into your shoulder or down your arm.
Signs and symptoms include:
Pain that's often worsened by holding your head in one place for long periods, such as when driving or working at a computer
Muscle tightness and spasms
Decreased ability to move your head
When to see a doctor
Most neck pain improves gradually with home treatment. If not, see your doctor.
Seek immediate care if severe neck pain results from an injury, such as a motor vehicle accident, diving accident or fall.
Contact a doctor if your neck pain:
Persists for several days without relief
Spreads down arms or legs
Is accompanied by headache, numbness, weakness or tingling
Your neck is flexible and supports the weight of your head, so it can be vulnerable to injuries and conditions that cause pain and restrict motion. Neck pain causes include:
Muscle strains. Overuse, such as too many hours hunched over your computer or smartphone, often triggers muscle strains. Even minor things, such as reading in bed or gritting your teeth, can strain neck muscles.
Worn joints. Just like the other joints in your body, your neck joints tend to wear down with age. Osteoarthritis causes the cushions (cartilage) between your bones (vertebrae) to deteriorate. Your body then forms bone spurs that affect joint motion and cause pain.
Nerve compression. Herniated disks or bone spurs in the vertebrae of your neck can press on the nerves branching out from the spinal cord.
Injuries. Rear-end auto collisions often result in whiplash injury, which occurs when the head is jerked backward and then forward, straining the soft tissues of the neck.
Diseases. Certain diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis or cancer, can cause neck pain.
Most neck pain is associated with poor posture combined with age-related wear and tear. To help prevent neck pain, keep your head centered over your spine. Some simple changes in your daily routine may help. Consider trying to:
Use good posture. When standing and sitting, be sure your shoulders are in a straight line over your hips and your ears are directly over your shoulders.
Take frequent breaks. If you travel long distances or work long hours at your computer, get up, move around and stretch your neck and shoulders.
Adjust your desk, chair and computer so that the monitor is at eye level. Knees should be slightly lower than hips. Use your chair's armrests.
Avoid tucking the phone between your ear and shoulder when you talk. Use a headset or speakerphone instead.
If you smoke, quit. Smoking can put you at higher risk of developing neck pain.
Avoid carrying heavy bags with straps over your shoulder. The weight can strain your neck.
Sleep in a good position. Your head and neck should be aligned with your body. Use a small pillow under your neck. Try sleeping on your back with your thighs elevated on pillows, which will flatten your spinal muscles.
Computers, working stations, all work on table-tops and for add on watching TV in improper position, reading while sleeping and many other causes are there which are adding extra stiffness to the neck of human beings so pain in neck is increasing day by day. Collars are a fashion in corporate and soon these might be included into the official uniforms for everybody who works on computers. Why neck pain is like a breakout? Is it an era of Cervical Pain? What are the reasons for neck pain and is there any way to get rid of the pain in neck?
Neck pain, surely pain in the neck. This pain can be caused by many different spinal problems. Neck pain may be caused by the muscular stiffness in neck as well as in upper back on a simpler note and it might be due to the pinching of the nerve in cervical region. This might be cervical spondylosis or spondylitis too. Joints of the neck as well as of upper back can cause this problem.
Causes of Neck Pain
Neck pain can be caused due to many reasons, these reasons might be as simple as stiffness due to overwork or these might be some serious problems, even of the brain. Here is a basic list of the causes of the neck pain.
Problems like dyssection in Carotid Artery (the artery carrying blood to the brain)
Cornoray Arterial Disease’s reffered pain
Cancer in head or neck region
This might be a simple upper respiratory tract infection
Herniation of the Spinal Disc
Stress – physical and emotional stresses
Prolonged postures- sitting in one posture for hours, like watching a movie or reading a novel sitting in wrong posture.
So if you are avoiding your neck pain by just applying some silly-magical-refreshing-pain relieving creams, stop!! Go for a complete and proper diagnosis of the problem, because there might be nothing to worry about the pain or this might be a big issue.
Ayurvedic Medication and Herbs For Neck Pain
Ayurvedic medication and medicinal herbs are important in Ayurvedic treatment and it help in the long term eradication of any disease. The people rely on these ancient methods of treatment for the various health problems which have assumed its importance in the recent times. The diseases and their treatments are done with utmost care by the medicinal herbs under the garb of Ayurvedic treatments.
Fascinatingly the medications are brewed from natural herbs and plants. The Sagas of ancient India have regulated the dosage of the various medicines that features in the list of alternative therapies for Ayurvedic medication. The body first undergoes the cleansing mechanism before any treatment is applied on them.
Ayurveda is meant for different health problems and is effectively used for treating the conditions and getting the relief. Not only in India, where it is discovered, but also worldwide people are effectively getting the relief from this amazing therapy and gaining huge benefits from this natural relieving method.
There are many ayurvedic treatment methods which not only help in getting relief from neck and shoulder pain but also give you a substantial reduction in the pain of the cervical spondylosis. So why not just consult with an Ayurveda expert and get the right treatment for the right kind of help.