The neck is made of vertebrae and there are discs between vertebrae which helps in shock absorption. The bones, ligaments and muscles aids in proper support and movement of the head. Any abnormalities, inflammation or injury can lead to neck pain and stiffness.
Neck pain and stiffness is a common problem among many people and this is most often due to a bad posture and overuse. In most cases the cause of neck pain is not severe and can be treated within a few days.
If the neck pain persists more than a week or is severe or with any other symptom it is better to consult a doctor.
What are the causes of neck pain?
Muscle tension and strain- this is mainly due to poor posture and working in one position for so long, sleeping in a wrong position and sudden jerking of the neck when exercising.
Injury- another cause of neck pain can be injuries, like fall, car accidents and contact sports.
Heart attack- heart attack can be accompanied with neck pain and usually present with other symptoms like shortness of breath, sweating, nausea and arm or jaw pain. This requires immediate attention therefore get immediate help.
Meningitis- is also fatal, this is the inflammation of the covering of the brain and spine. Those with meningitis may have fever and headache and have light sensitivity, this requires immediate attention.
Other causes can be rheumatoid arthritis, where there is swelling of the joints, osteoporosis where there is weakening of the bone and so many others. In many cases the main cause of neck ache is bad posture and overuse.
When to see a doctor
In minor cases you don’t need to consult a doctor as the pain will vanish on its own with some lifestyle modifications. If you have severe pain, lump on the neck, fever, nausea, vomiting and any other symptoms consult the doctor immediately.
How do you manage neck pain?
Sleep on the side or on your back this puts less strain your neck. When you sleep on your stomach you are putting pressure on your neck to hold that posture.
Change your pillow. In some cases, the pillow you sleep on may be uncomfortable so it can lead to neck stiffness. Buy latex pillows which will help you get a good sleep.
Adopt a good posture, many people sit in front of the computer for so long that it can lead to neck stiffness. Therefore, at work make sure you adjust your chair well, where you can comfortably place your feet on the ground, sit straight with your back straight and arms level to the desk, place the computer in a way that it is at eye level and use ergonomic keyboard and mouse.
Limit usage of smartphone
Looking down at cellphone can put a lot of strain on your neck. Therefore, next time you are using your phone, hold it at eye level and take a break from your phone hourly.
There are many stretches which can be done relieve neck pain, you can browse for some exercises.