Common Reasons for Neck Pain

Neck pain is one of the most common reasons patients come and see us at Coastal Orthopedics. There are a wide variety of conditions responsible for neck pain, and treatments range from simple lifestyle changes to surgical options. Here are just a few of the most frequent causes.

Whiplash

Overview: A person suffers from whiplash when their neck and head are whipped backward, then suddenly forward or vise versa. This is one of the most common car accident injuries, but can also result from activities such as playing sports or riding roller coasters.

Symptoms: Common whiplash symptoms include neck pain, headaches, blurred vision and muscle tension.

Treatment: Most whiplashes cases can be treated at home with over-the-counter pain medications, ice and rest. For more severe cases, a doctor might prescribe medication and physical therapy. A neck brace could also be needed to keep your neck still. Radio frequency is an option with great success for those cases that do not respond to the above options. Ask your Coastal physician about this option.

Wry Neck

Overview: Also known as Torticollis, occurs when the neck is painfully twisted and tilted to one side. The condition is often present at birth, however it is also results from muscle or nervous system injury. Many times there is no known cause for Wry Neck.

Symptoms: Wry Neck symptoms are often slow to show up and worsen over time. The way a person holds their neck is often the biggest clue they have Wry Neck. Those suffering from Wry Neck tilt their chin to one side often hold one shoulder higher than the other and are unable to move their head normally. Other signs include neck pain and stiffness, headaches and swollen neck muscles.

Treatment: At the first signs of Wry Neck, it is vital you seek medical attention to stop it from worsening. One of the most common treatments options is physical therapy. Your doctor might also instruct you to wear a neck brace to keep your neck straight. Massages, applying heat and stretching your neck are all options to help relieve pain. Botox is also an option to consider. In some extreme cases, surgery is the best option to cure Wry Neck.

Tension Headaches

Overview: A tension headache not only hurts your head, but your neck. These are the most common types of headaches and are caused by muscle contractions. There are a variety of different stressors responsible for tension headaches, everything from eating certain foods to staring at a computer for too long.

Symptoms: The most common symptoms for tension headaches are dull pain in the head and neck, pressure around the forehead and scalp tenderness. It is rare, but they can also cause some slight sensitivity to light and noise.

Treatment: Over-the-counter painkillers treat tension headaches well. Applying heat packs and taking frequent breaks from the activity causing the headaches are also good cures.  

Herniated Disk

Overview: There are 26 vertebrae that make up your spine and neck. A disk cushions each one of these vertebrae. Sometimes due to injury or weakness, these disks can “slip” causing extreme pain and discomfort. While you can have a slipped disk in any part of your back, it often occurs in the neck, creating immense neck pain.

Symptoms: Often the only symptom of a herniated disk is pain. Those who have a slipped disk in their neck will experience intense neck pain, which worsens at night. Muscle weakness and a burning sensation around the neck may also occur.

Treatment: There is a wide variety of treatment options for those suffering from a herniated disk that range from over-the-counter pain killers to surgery. The best thing to do is consult a doctor to find out what treatment is best for your herniated disk.  Minimally invasive options include epidural injections.

The best way to diagnose your neck pain is by visiting one of the compassionate physicians at Coastal Orthopedics. We will work with you to find the best treatments to help manage your pain. Don’t let pain control your life. Come in to Coastal Orthopedics today and learn how we can help.