Cervical pain is an uncomfortable disorder of the neck and stems from either cervical spondylosis or arthritis of the neck. The cervical spine is that section of the spine just beneath your skull that forms your neck. What causes cervical pain is wear and tear of the bones, joints, cartilages, and discs that form the cervical spine. Even though it’s more prevalent among ageing people, it can happen to people in any age group. The level of pain arising from cervical pain may range from mild to intolerable. In this article, we will talk about the different reasons for cervical pain, and the types of treatment that can help one override the pain.
What causes cervical pain?
What causes cervical pain is an erosion of your cervical spine, and there could be a number of reasons or a combination of them that could trigger it. Let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons-
- An injury or trauma to the neck region could immediately cause the onset of cervical pain
- You may be overstraining your neck. Your line of work requiring you to move your neck repeatedly, leading to years of overusing the neck could usher in this disorder. Even if it is a desk job, an incorrect posture could put undue pressure on your neck
- Herniated disks occur when cracks develop in the discs of your spine. The fluids that act as lubricants and cushioning materials seep out of the discs, and this begins to exert pressure on the nerves and cords of both the spine and neck
- If bone spurs develop along the sides of the vertebrae of the cervical spine, they will press down on your nerves and trigger pain
- If your cervical spinal discs become dehydrated, they will rub painfully against each other. This is a common cause of chronic neck pain
- As you age, your cervical discs slowly begin to get thinner and start losing their ability to absorb shock
- Another common cause of cervical pain is a swelling of the neck joints, which will again pinch the nerves in this region
Cervical pain symptoms
You will know you have contracted cervical spondylosis or arthritis if you exhibit any or many of these symptoms-
- Your neck will feel stiff
- Range of movement of the neck will diminish, and if you try to force your neck to move beyond what seems possible, you might experience terrible stabs of pain
- Headaches that originate at the back of your neck
- Muscle spasms of the neck
- You may feel a tingling in your legs, arms, feet, and hands
- Pain may or may not accompany this neck disorder
Cervical pain treatment
A huge chunk of the population above 60 years of age shows signs of this disorder. Cervical pain treatment chiefly comprises a range of exercises that aim to restore your neck’s full mobility and ease the stiffness.
Some popular neck exercises your physiotherapist may recommend are-
- Neck stretches- Tip your head back to stretch out the neck, hold for 5 seconds, and repeat
- Neck tilt- Tilt your head forward towards your chest till your chin touches your collar bone, hold the pose for 5 seconds, and repeat
- Side to side tilt- Tilt your head to your side (towards the shoulder), hold for 5 seconds, and tilt it to the other side. Keep your head in that position for another 5 seconds, and repeat
- Neck turns- Holding your head straight, just pivot it to the left and then to the right as far as it can go
If pain becomes unbearable, then you will be prescribed painkillers. Your doctor may also give you muscle relaxants.
If physiotherapy and medicines do not give the desired effect, then you may have to undergo surgery during which the surgeon will make room in your cervical spine by removing bone spurs or herniated discs.
Cervical pain can get in the way of your everyday activities. Seek treatment as soon as you notice the symptoms so that you won’t have to suffer pain and discomfort.