Neck Pain Not Getting Better?
The human spine takes on a significant amount of stress in our daily lives. Whether we’re sitting—especially if it’s with bad posture—walking, running or performing just about any other activity, the spine is subject to a great deal of pressure. This is one of the main reasons that problems with the spine are so common, and why such a large number of people deal with neck pain on a regular basis. Most cases of neck pain are mild and will improve on their own, but if your neck pain is not getting better, see a doctor.
Though it’s not as prevalent as low back pain, which affects up to 80% of the population at some point, neck pain is still quite common. Approximately 15% of people are dealing with neck pain to some degree right now, and it’s estimated that as many as seven out of 10 people will encounter it at least once in their lives. On top of this, more than 50% of those who get neck pain once will experience it again within the next five years.
Unfortunately, this means your chances of developing neck pain in your lifetime are fairly high. Symptoms will vary from person to person, but most people experience pain that usually gets worse from holding the head in the same position for a long period of time—such as driving or working at a computer—as well as muscle tightness or spasms, decreased ability to move the head, and sometimes headaches. As a result, these symptoms can really get in the way of your normal functioning and make it difficult to perform certain activities throughout the day.
Neck pain can develop from a number of different reasons, and in some cases it may not be possible to actually determine its cause. One of the most common causes for neck pain is muscle tension or strain from activities and behaviors that can be harmful to the neck. These include using bad posture on regular basis, working at a desk for too long without taking breaks, sleeping with the neck in a bad position, and jerking the neck during exercise. Specific injuries—such as those from a car accident or in sports—worn joints and conditions like arthritis, osteoporosis, meningitis and fibromyalgia can also be responsible for causing neck pain.
Even though neck pain is so common, the good news is that the great majority of cases will get better over time with some conservative (non-surgical) treatments. Improving your posture, taking frequent breaks while sitting for a while, resting from activities that cause pain, icing your neck and performing specific stretching exercises are all simple ways to address the pain on your own. Making these changes will usually alleviate your pain after a certain period of time, but for some people the pain lingers.
This is when you should see a doctor, and our neurosurgeons at Raleigh Neurosurgical Clinic are here to help. The main indication that something more serious may be going on is if neck pain doesn’t improve or gets worse after a few weeks of conservative treatment. Other signs that indicate you should see a doctor are if the pain is radiating down your arms or legs, it’s accompanied by numbness, fever or tingling, or if you’re having trouble swallowing, breathing or bowel/bladder issues.
If your neck pain just won’t seem to go away or you’re experiencing any of these other complications, let our neurosurgeons at Raleigh Neurosurgical Clinic in Raleigh, NC help get you the proper treatment you need. We’ll evaluate your condition and get to the root of the neck pain, and then discuss all available treatment options with you to help you make the right decision.
Contact us at 919-785-3400 for more information or to schedule an appointment.
If neck pain results from a serious injury like a car accident or a fall, CALL 911 OR SEEK MEDICAL CARE IMMEDIATELY.