If you did not sleep well, made a sudden movement or were in a bad position during the day, you may have a twist in the neck. This discomfort is very annoying and painful, but here we tell you some tips to eliminate the pain.
Remember that if you have a proper posture throughout the day and at bedtime, you can avoid these bothering sprains, also avoid abrupt climate changes.
Have you ever woken up with a muscle spasm so intense that you can barely turn your head? Neck pain, which affects up to half of adults in the United States each year, is one of the most common reasons to visit a doctor. However, this pain often receives more treatments than necessary with studies of imaging, medications, injections and surgeries that do not help almost anything in the long run . This is what you need to know.
The effort to hold the head, which weighs 10 to 12 pounds, year after year makes your neck vulnerable to injury. The pain may occur after sleeping in a bad position, holding a phone against your shoulder for a long time, spending hours hunched in front of a computer or simply carrying a heavy suitcase. Other common causes are arthritis, cancer and automobile crashes behind that cause a whiplash injury.
When the neck pain attacks, the first reaction may be to ask the doctor for an x-ray, a CT scan or an MRI. But in most cases, mild neck pain is relieved in 2 or 3 weeks with or without imaging studies , says Dr. Zacharia Isaac, MD, division chief of spine care and pain management. at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston. Therefore, these studies are generally not necessary, according to Isaac, in addition to “greatly increase health care costs.”
Not only that; X-rays and CT scans expose you to radiation that could potentially cause cancer. The risk is small, but it is preferable to avoid radiation if possible . While MRI or magnetic resonance imaging does not pose a risk, these studies detect disc abnormalities in more than 80% of people over 60 years of age, although these abnormalities are usually unrelated to pain. But this finding often leads to follow-up tests and some treatment.
You should have an imaging study if you have moderate pain that lasts more than 6 weeks or if you have any of the following symptoms: a history of cancer; fever, chills or unexplained weight loss;numbness or loss of strength in the arms or hands or a recent infection . Go to an emergency room if your pain comes from a fall or a recent car accident.
The exercises, including the two shown below , may be even more effective than prescription medications, studies show. You can also consider:
Over-the-counter medications: Acetaminophen (Tylenol and generic), ibuprofen (Advil and generic) and naproxen (Aleve and generic) work better than muscle relaxants that require a prescription , research suggests.
Heat: Apply for 10 to 15 minutes periodically during the first day or so, using a heating pad, a warm towel or electric blanket, or taking a bath or a hot shower.
Sleeping properly: Lie on your back with one or more pillows under your knees and another small pillow under your neck. If the neck pain does not let you sleep, a cervical collar can help keep your neck aligned. But using it during the day can weaken the muscles in your neck.
Physical therapy: It can help when the pain is persistent. Carrying out 1 to 3 sessions can be as effective as carrying out 5, according to studies carried out. If you try, talk to your therapist about how to improve your posture when talking on the phone or when using a computer.
Acupuncture: A study in November 2015 that was published in the scientific journal Annals of Internal Medicine found that acupuncture significantly relieved neck pain in people with chronic symptoms.
Spinal manipulation , or chiropractic care, helps relieve lower back pain but is not a proven remedy for neck pain. And in rare cases, it can lead to life-threatening brain attacks.
Injections . Repeated corticosteroid injections can weaken the muscles in your neck. And Botox injections are no more effective than injections of a placebo.
Surgery. It will not help if the pain occurs only in the neck or if it is caused by arthritis. If the pain radiates to the arms, surgery may offer some relief, although physical therapy seems to be just as effective after 2 years.