Neck Pain and Treatment
Our neck is the part of the spine that provides the connection between the head and the body and at the same time plays an important role in maintaining our balance by bearing the weight of the head. The neck is the most load-bearing and mobile part of the spine. For this reason, it is one of the sections that are most exposed to trauma.
What is Neck Pain?
Although neck pain is less common than low back pain, it is a health problem encountered in one third of the general population. There are seven vertebrae and five discs in the cervical spine. The fact that the neck carries the weight of the head, being very mobile, carrying excessive load and being in an area open to trauma make it more susceptible to external factors.
Neck pain is a very common health problem that is seen equally in both genders. It is frequently encountered in posture disorders, especially in desk workers and those who use computers intensively. Neck pain increases with the advancement of age. It is more common especially in 40-60 age groups. Tensions in daily life and work stress can also be counted among other factors that can cause neck pain.
What Causes Neck Pain? .
Degenerations in the cervical spine that increase with age, muscle strains (such as excessive use of computers and mobile phones, reading books in bad positions, clenching teeth) can cause muscle spasm and cause neck pain. Joint and cartilage erosion, nerve compression, and general injuries that occur with age can also be considered among other causes of neck pain.
Inflammation and tissue damage may occur as a result of chronic trauma, degeneration and calcification in the cervical spine and surrounding tissues. They can cause neck pain due to spasms and strains in the neck muscle tissues. The regions that can cause the most common neck pain in the cervical spine are usually between C4-C6 (cervical 4th and 6th).
In the type of injury known as Whiplash Syndrome and usually seen after car accidents, the casualty also experiences a mild neck pain at the beginning. However, after a few hours, the pain intensifies and this is accompanied by neck stiffness. This discomfort reaches its highest levels in a few days and resolves spontaneously in about a month.
The most common causes of neck pain are those of the mechanical type at a rate of approximately 95%. The exact cause of neck pain cannot usually be found. In patients;
- Depending on the bone structure; congenital torticollis, traumas, fractures, slips, calcifications, narrow canal,
- Rheumatic diseases; ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) etc.
- Tumors, infections
- Due to soft tissue; posture disorders, fibromiagia etc.
- Many diseases such as nervous and vascular problems are among the causes.
What Kinds of Symptoms Are Experienced in Neck Pain?
The most common symptom in patients is neck pain that increases with physical activity and relieves with resting and hot compresses. Although the pain is usually blunt, knife-like pain may also occur. Morning stiffness is rare, although it is short-lived.
Pain can spread to the shoulder, back area. It can spread to the back of the head, shoulder circumference, arm and forearm. The pain may be accompanied by dizziness, instability, and numbness in the hands. Over time, problems such as gripping and lifting objects may also arise in patients.
How Should Neck Pain Be Treated?
Although patients benefit greatly from physical therapy, precautions to correct posture disorders must be explained before treatment. In the acute period;
- 1-2 days of short rest
- Pain relievers and muscle relaxants.
- Various physical therapy applications such as tens (transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation), heat application, interference, ultrasound, laser, hil therapy, traction, massage and taping
- Trigger point injections, neural therapy
- Manipulation applications can be made.
Immobilization (fixation) can be applied in the acute period with a soft collar. Neck collar application times should be kept short, it should be applied as short as 1-1.5 hours a day and should not exceed one and a half months as a treatment.