Neck pain is something that plagues everyone at one point or another. It can result from a variety of factors, such as chronic disease, acute injury, aging or even stress. Since everyone is at risk for neck pain, prevention is the best way. A Neck traction device can help prevent major neck issues
Causes of Neck Pain
Wear and tear of the joints in the neck is something that is pretty much inevitable. As we age, our joints and the discs in between each cervical vertebra will wear down. This can result in osteoarthritis in the neck. This condition can cause pain and stiffness.
Muscles strains result from overuse. Whether you are driving for extended periods of time or hunched over a computer in a cubicle, you are at risk for strained neck muscles. Before your neck muscles gets strained, they will first become fatigued. This generally causes some soreness, so there is a sign before a full strain occurs.
Nerves in the neck can become compressed and this can be quite painful. Nerve compression can result from herniated discs, stiffened discs and bone spurs. Herniated discs are an issue where the inner part of the spinal disc protrudes through a crack or a hole. Stiffened discs are generally a consequence of aging as discs dry out. Bone spurs are typically seen with arthritic neck joints. These are bony growths that can put pressure on surrounding structures, such as nerves.
Injuries involving the neck can result in neck pain. Whiplash is one of the most common ones. This occurs when the neck is violently jerked forward and backward. This overstretches the neck’s soft tissues. It is usually the result of a rear-end collision.
Chronic diseases can sometimes cause neck pain too. One of the chronic diseases most commonly associated with neck pain is rheumatoid arthritis. The joints in the neck are commonly affected in this disease. This disease causes inflammation which can result in neck pain and stiffness.
It is important that everyone understands the possible causes and the treatments used to relieve the pain associated with these causes.
Neck Pain Treatments
Pain medications are what most people turn to first. Over-the-counter analgesics and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be helpful for some people when pain is only mild. Even though these are non-prescription side effects can still occur. There are also prescription pain relievers. These typically include prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, narcotic pain relievers and muscle relaxers. All can be effective, but like all drugs, all carry the risk of side effects.
Injections can be done to treat neck pain. These injections are often uncomfortable and can cause some discomfort for a few days after they are administered. The most commonly injected medications are corticosteroids and numbing medications. The corticosteroids can be injected into the small facet joints, near nerve roots or into muscles. Numbing medications are generally injected into painful muscles.
Physical therapy is often helpful for neck pain. It involves targeted exercises and stretches to strengthen the neck and improve its flexibility. Regular exercise can help to restore function, as well as ensure it is maintained.
Immobilizing the neck short-term is helpful for certain types of neck pain. This is done using a soft collar and is only done short-term, which is on average a maximum of two weeks. This can help to alleviate pressure on neck structures. A badly pinched nerve may benefit from short-term immobilization. Whiplash may also be a reason to try this treatment.
Traction is a type of therapy that is becoming increasingly popular. New neck traction devices require absolutely no set up. They resemble a neck brace and are applied similar to one, making them very easy to use. You would simply put the device on and then use the attached hand pump to increase traction. You can do this at home, at the office, or anywhere really as these new devices are fully portable.
Neck traction carries no risks of side effects and there is no recovery time needed. You simply use the device and then get back to your daily activities. Since the new devices are portable, you can often get some simple tasks done as you perform traction.
In more extreme cases of neck pain, a doctor may recommend surgery. If a spinal vertebra is greatly damaged, a nerve severely pinched and causing disabling symptoms or the pain severe and not responding to any other treatments, surgery may be suggested. Neck surgery is serious and carries with it serious risks and long recovery times.