Common neck pain:
- Osteoarthritis (worn joints) in neck tends to occur with age
- Neck muscle strained because poor posture and overuse. For example prolonged driving, reading in bed
- Whiplash – where there is a sudden jolt to the head and neck that is beyond the normal range of the motion
- Herniated Disc or a pinched nerve: A herniated (slipped) disk occurs when all or part of a disk in the spine is forced through a weakened part of the disk. This places pressure on nearby nerves.
- Torticollis: Torticollis means ‘twisted neck’.
- Other diseases like Cancer, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Meningitis
What is Neck Pain?
Pain located in the neck usually at the back or sides.
The neck (cervical spine) is composed of vertebrae that begin in the upper torso and end at the base of the skull. The bony vertebrae along with the ligaments (which are comparable to thick rubber bands) provide stability to the spine. The muscles allow for support and motion. The neck has a significant amount of motion and supports the weight of the head. However, because it is less protected than the rest of the spine, the neck can be vulnerable to injury and disorders that produce pain and restrict motion. For many people, neck pain is a temporary condition that disappears with time. Others need medical diagnosis and treatment to relieve their symptoms.
What are the signs and symptoms of Neck Pain?
- General pain located in the neck area, as well as stiffness in the neck muscles.
- The pain may radiate down to the shoulder or between the shoulder blades.
- It may also radiate out into the arm, the hand or up into the head, causing a one-sided or double-sided headache.
- The muscles in the neck are tense, sore and feel hard to the touch.
- Acute pain can give rise to abnormal neck posture in which the head is forced to turn to one side. This condition is known as torticollis.
- The pain at the base of the skull may be accompanied by a feeling of weakness in the shoulders and arms.
- There may be a prickly or tingling sensation in the arms and fingers.
How is Neck Pain evaluated?
An examination of the nervous system is performed to determine whether nerve involvement is present. Further testing includes x-ray evaluation, CAT scan, bone scan and MRI scan.
What are the causes of Neck Pain?
Neck pain may result from abnormalities in the soft tissues—the muscles, ligaments, and nerves—as well as in bones and joints of the spine. The most common causes of neck pain are soft-tissue abnormalities due to injury or prolonged wear and tear. In rare instances, infection or tumors may cause neck pain. In some people, neck problems may be the source of pain in the upper back, shoulders, or arms.
Many things can trigger neck pain. These include:
- trauma or injury
- worry and stress
- falling asleep in an awkward position
- prolonged use of a computer keyboard.
What are the treatments for Neck Pain?
The treatment of neck pain depends on its precise cause. Treatment options include:
- Heat / Ice applications
- Soft Collar
- Physical therapy (ultrasound, massage, manipulation)
- Local injections of cortisone or anesthetics
- Topical anesthetic creams
- Topical pain patches
- Muscle Relaxants
- Surgical procedures may require for severe case
Neck pain with pain radiating to arm
X-ray showing bone spur
MRI showing prolapsed cervical disc
NOTE: If severe neck pain occurs following an injury (motor vehicle accident, diving accident, or fall), a trained professional, like our senior orthopeadic surgeon Dr Kevin Yip Man Hing should immobilize the patient to avoid the risk of further injury and possible paralysis.
For more information or an appointment with our senior orthopeadic surgeon Dr Kevin Yip Man Hing, please dial our 24HR hotline at (+65) 6471 2691