Neck Pain Causes and Relief Methods
Many people develop a stiff and painful neck for no obvious reason. It may happen after sitting in a draught or after a minor twisting injury, for example while gardening. This is called non-specific neck pain. This is the most common type of neck pain and usually disappears after a few days, providing you keep gently moving your neck and rest when you need to.
You can often manage short spells of neck pain yourself using over-the-counter painkillers and gentle stretches. However, if your neck problem persists or significantly affects your everyday activities then it’s sensible to see a doctor or other healthcare professional.
If your neck pain lasts more than a few days, you should see a healthcare professional. You should also speak to them if you:
- have symptoms other than pain and stiffness
- have pain, tingling, numbness or weakness in your arms or legs
- have sudden severe pain after a fall or injury
- suddenly develop neck stiffness along with difficulty lifting both arms above your head.
Some rare causes of neck pain include:
- a fracture
- an infection
- a tumour
- inflammation – which can happen in ankylosing spondylitis or meningitis.
You should always have your neck pain assessed by a medical professional if its not settling to ensure that you are provided with the correct medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment for your pain. Nathan Briganti of Briganti Physiotherapy, a musculoskeletal specialist physiotherapist, working within NHS, Private Practice and Professional sport has provided some useful information on the causes of neck pain, as well as some tips on how to relieve this type of pain.
Neck Pain Causes
Neck pain is very common and most of us will have it at some point in our lives. Usually, neck pain is the result of holding your neck in the same position for too long. However, other things can also cause or contribute to neck pain, such as:
- worry or stress
- sleeping awkwardly
- a sprain or a strain
- a flare-up of cervical spondylosis; which can happen as the discs and joints in the spine age.
- Accidents, such as road traffic accidents, accidents at work, or slips, trips and falls.
- Heavy lifting, for example, when carrying out manual handling tasks in the workplace or doing DIY tasks at home.
- Lifting a load which is too heavy without the appropriate lifting equipment.
- Poor posture whilst sitting or walking.
- Lack of exercise
How to Avoid Neck Pain
There are many things you can do to avoid neck pain, and extra precautions should be taken if your job role involves manual handling tasks. Your employer should be aware of the risks involved in carrying out your role and should already have measures in place to help you avoid a neck injury or pain.
- Pay careful attention to your posture whilst sitting and walking. If you work in an office, ensure that you are using the correct type of chair and that your desk and screens are at an appropriate height.
- Exercise and stretch regularly.
- Take regular breaks at work if your job involves long periods innactivity
Neck Pain Relief
- Painkillers such as paracetamol will often help. It’s best to take them before the pain becomes very bad, but you shouldn’t take them more often than prescribed.
Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti inflammatory, such as ibuprofen, can also help. You can use these for a short course of treatment (about 5 – 10 days), but if they’ve not helped within this time then they’re unlikely to. If the pain returns when you stop taking the tablets, try another short course. You can rub anti-inflammatory gels or creams onto tender areas if you prefer.
- Stress can make neck pain worse. One way of reducing the effects of stress is to learn how to relax your neck muscles. Aim for a balance between relaxation and exercise.
- Gentle massage of your neck muscles, particularly with aromatic oils, often helps. However, you should discuss the use of these oils with a healthcare professional as they won’t be suitable for everybody. Rubbing the area with ointments and creams can also help by reducing pain and producing a feeling of warmth
- Sleep – If your pillow is too firm or thick, it can make neck pain worse. Changing the number or position of pillows may be helpful. Your head and neck should be supported so your head is level with your body in a neutral position. The pillow should fill in the natural hollow between the neck and shoulders – a soft or moulded pillow may be useful, or a supportive roll inside your pillow case can support the hollow of your neck.
If your mattress doesn’t give your back proper support, it can also make neck pain worse. You may want to consider replacing it if it’s old or uncomfortable.
If you have trouble sleeping, you should try to wind down before bed. You can do this by having a hot bath, listening to the radio or reading a book. Some people also find keeping a sleep diary particularly useful. Try different things and see what works best for you.
- Exercise. You may find a short period of rest is helpful initially to ease the pain and discomfort. But to prevent your neck muscles becoming weaker and your joints from stiffening, you should rest for as short a time as possible and certainly no more than a day or two. As soon as possible, start some gentle stretches and neck movements, as these can help the muscles and ligaments to relax and ease your pain and stiffness.
You should do some simple stretching and strengthening exercises every day. These can help to increase the strength of your muscles, ease stiffness, and restore your range of movement. Start by exercising very gently and gradually build up how much you do.
- As with any physical activity, some aches or discomfort during or following exercise are normal and should be expected. But if an exercise makes your symptoms significantly worse you should stop doing it.
Physiotherapy for Neck Pain
One of the most common treatment options for Neck pain is physiotherapy. Physiotherapy can be used for most types of pain, including upper body, back, neck and shoulder pain, as well as lower back pain and lower body issues. They can provide lots of advice on neck pain causes and relief methods.
Briganti Physiotherapy offers a range of treatments and modalities to manage, reduce and eliminate neck Pain. Briganti Physiotherapy uses a range of evidence based treatments and modalities to aid in your recovery. While we utilise manual therapy and injection therapy to help treat patients, the underpinning of our treatment is based on education and the use exercise and strengthening.
How Can Beacon Law Assist?
Although Beacon Law cannot advise you on neck pain causes and relief methods, we may be able to assist you in making a claim for compensation if your neck pain was caused by someone else’s negligence
Beacon Law are a leading firm of no win, no fee Solicitors, offering a range of personal injury claim services to our clients. We provide a high level of service to all our clients and work hard to ensure they receive the appropriate treatment and highest level of compensation for their injuries.
If your neck pain was caused by an accident which was not your fault, we will discuss your case and let you know if we think you have a claim. Accidents may include, slips, trips, and falls, accidents at work or road traffic accidents.
If you think your lower back pain was caused by your duties at work, we can review your case and let you know if we believe your employer has been negligent. Employer’s negligence can include:
- Lack of training
- Unsafe systems of work
- Not providing sufficient or appropriate lifting equipment
- Not allowing employees to take regular breaks
- Poor housekeeping, which may lead to slips, trips and falls
- Not providing appropriate office equipment
- Defective work equipment
Always consult with a medical professional as soon as you start to experience neck pain so that you can find out what may be causing your pain and ensure that the pain does not continue to get worse.
If you would like to discuss making a claim for neck pain, contact us by calling 0330 1332 857 ;or use the contact forms on our website.
Beacon Law are a Solicitors registered in England and Wales with our registered office based in Manchester. We are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.