Neck Pain

In today’s society, neck pain affects two thirds of the population at least for some part of their life. We often hear people complaining about having a “stiff” neck. Muscle strain or tension usually causes neck pain, also overuse, such as from sitting on the computer for too long, holding it in one position for hours like on airplanes or while driving.  Sometimes you can strain your neck from sleeping in an awkward position or over doing it during exercise, falls or accidents, including car accidents, Whiplash; a soft tissue injury to the neck, are all common causes of having neck sprain or strain. The pain can be a dull ache, a sharp stabbing or burning sensation, or a feeling resembling a muscle cramp. Neck pain is often accompanied by stiffness or difficult in moving the neck.

Usually this neck pain will resolve within a few days. Treatment depends on the cause, but may include applying ice, taking pain relievers or anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxers, getting physical therapy or wearing a cervical collar for a short while. Rarely surgery is needed.

However, according to research about 10% of the population suffers from neck pain chronically – pain that persists. Chronic strain on the muscles and tendons of the neck often is related to a person’s occupation or work schedule, as some jobs require workers to hold their neck and shoulders in one position for long periods of time.

A recent study looked at how certain psychosocial factors such as depression and anxiety relate to neck pain. Chronic neck pain can be associated with headaches, arm and back pain and depression, whether it arises from sports injury, car accidents, workplace issues or stress, it can be incapacitating for the person experiencing the pain. Therefore, a combination of pain relievers, physical and mental relaxation therapy, and understanding psychological factors such as depression and anxiety should be addressed in order to resolve the problem.

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