Your neck handles the widest range of motion of any other part of your spine. As a result, it can be more susceptible to pain and overexertion that can lead to nerve damage and joint degeneration. According to the National Institute of Health Statistics, 15 percent of commonly reported pain conditions are neck pain related.
There are a variety of reasons that you might be experiencing neck pain that may come as a surprise.
Bad posture at work
Your job can be a literal pain in the neck. Setting up an ergonomic workspace that accommodates good posture is an important part of long-term pain prevention. If you are experiencing neck pain it could be because the biomechanics of your workstation have offset your spinal alignment. Abnormal positions like incorrect desk height or slouching in your chair can increase the workload of your neck, creating increased pressure on joints, ligaments and discs in the lower neck. If you’re wrapping up your day with chronic pain, it might be time to reassess your workspace set-up.
Outside of your desk, technology could also be the root cause of your neck pain. The average American spends a total of five hours a day using their smartphone. Hunching over your handheld devices can contribute to a faster degradation of the joints in your neck. The end result could be not only neck pain but headaches and possible early onset arthritis of the spine.
Auto accident injuries
Contrary to popular belief, an injury from an auto accident doesn’t always have an immediate response. In fact, there can be a delayed injury response in your body even from a low impact accident, like a fender bender. Any rapid head extension followed by head flexion (what you may know as “whiplash”) may occur faster than your reflexes, which are designed to guard your body. Walking away from a small fender bender might leave you with long-term pain that could take a while to appear.
Inflammation may be considered the root of most chronic pain. Ongoing inflammation can lead to degradation of the joints in your neck and could be the cause of your neck pain. Recurring injuries like whiplash can accelerate degenerative wear and tear on the neck joints.
It’s also important to take regular measures to screen yourself for cancer. Although rare, diseases such as metastatic cancer and other serious conditions can be the underlying cause of neck pain.
What can you do about it?
Advances in modern pain management make it possible to live a pain-free life. There is a wide range of options for people who are looking for solutions to neck pain.
An Epidural Steroid Injection is a minimally invasive injection procedure designed to relieve the pain of inflamed nerves. This powerful anti-inflammatory treatment can provide long-term pain relief that lasts for months and even years for some patients. While you might more commonly associate an epidural with childbirth, these injection treatments have been used for decades as a pain relief solution for pain associated with herniated discs, spinal stenosis and other degenerative disc diseases. Working with a pain management specialist will help you choose the right type of epidural injection that will alleviate the specific neck pain you are experiencing.
If steroid treatments have not worked, or you’re seeking another option, the use of Radiofrequency Ablation is another advanced pain management alternative. This outpatient procedure only takes 90 seconds to complete. A special X-ray machine positions a radiofrequency needle to target affected nerve tissue to interrupt the pain signals going to your brain. While every patient is different, people are experiencing pain relief for months after treatment.
Trigger Point injections are another option if you’re looking for fast pain relief. Designed to rapidly reduce inflammation, healing begins at the injection point as the tissue experiences a reduction in inflammation and is able to release cell waste toxins to essentially “clean” the affected tissue. Trigger Point injections can bring quick pain relief to your neck area and are also effectively used for chronic myofascial pain and issues like Fibromyalgia.
Don’t let neck pain be a source of discomfort for you. With so many options, it is easy to find relief from mild to severe neck pain. Working with a professional pain management specialist is the clearest way to see all the options available to you so you can get back to living your life pain-free.
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