(ĐTĐ) - Neck pain is an extremely common complaint; some of it is caused by the standard wear-and-tear of aging, but many people can actually prevent it from occurring by making a few simple changes.

You have probably heard the warnings about how your office posture is affecting your neck and back. Well, they’re true. Spending 8 hours hunched over a computer or a stack of paper strains the neck by forcing it to hold up the head, which is quite heavy, as it extends forward. One solution is to raise your computer monitor to eye level, and holding papers up to eye level as well. When using the phone, try to use the speaker function or a hands-free device whenever possible so you don’t tuck the phone between shoulder and ear.

While at your desk, make a conscious effort to maintain a neutral position, with your head directly above your shoulders and your chin level, not tucked close to the chest or raised up. Shoulders back, chest out – the idea is to keep your spine in as straight and neutral a position as possible. And, as always, take frequent breaks to stretch or walk around.

Your posture as you sit in the car can also contribute to neck pain, so adjust that seat as well. The headrest should be centered at the back of the head, rather than too high, which pitches the head forward, or too low, which tilts it backward. A bonus benefit is that it can help prevent whiplash if you are in an impact or stop the car suddenly.

The way you sleep might need some changes too. Sleeping on the stomach is comfortable for some people, but it’s not comfortable for their neck; resting on your side or back makes it easier to keep the spine straight, whereas being on your stomach twists it. If your pillow is quite high or firm, consider switching it out for a flatter one, which allows your neck to be straight. If you tend to sleep on your side, you can tuck a pillow under your neck to raise it to the same level as your head. A memory foam pillow that adjusts to your body’s contours is another option. Again, in order to prevent neck pain, the best position for your spine and neck is as straight as possible.

Source Pain.com

(ĐTĐ) - Many times when you’re in pain, you just want to go to sleep. But for a lot of people, sleep may be causing their pain – one common source of neck pain is poor sleeping posture.

You probably don’t think of sleep as active enough to strain your neck, but if you are sleeping at an awkward angle for long periods of time, which tends to happen over the eight hours you’re (supposed to be) sleeping every night , it can do just that. The position in which we sleep affects the curve of our spine, which can cause – or prevent – pain.

Ideally, our spines remain in as straight a position as possible as we sleep. This is the key to waking up well-rested and free of neck pain. The best and most natural way to achieve this is by sleeping on your back: it allows the spine to stay as neutrally aligned as possible, and the neck is usually turned more or less forward, as it is when standing upright. This is a natural, comfortable position for the spine, which is why it’s so good for preventing pain. One way to make it even better is to tuck a rounder or more firm pillow into the curve of your neck to provide support to it; you may also use a flatter pillow under your head. Together, these provide cushioning and comfort while supporting the natural curve of the spine.

Not everyone likes to sleep on their back. For those of you who prefer your side, you’re in luck: this is the second-best choice for promoting neck comfort. It also aligns the spine and neck in a fairly natural position and allows them to stay elongated. Like back-sleepers, you’ll need the right support from your pillows: don’t pile them too high under your head, as this forces the head up and the neck into a strained angle. You could also tuck a pillow under your neck, or get a memory foam pillow that follows the contours of your neck and head.

Unfortunately for the stomach-sleepers, it’s not a good idea if you want to avoid an aching neck. It forces your neck to remain turned for long periods, which can make it stiff and sore. It also arches the back out of its neutral position and puts pressure on joints and muscles. If you must sleep on your stomach, try using as flat a pillow as possible.

Source Pain.com

(ĐTĐ) - The vertebrae of your spinal column are separated by cushiony disks, which absorb shock and allow for movement and flexibility in the spine. Sometimes these disks rupture or slip and bulge out where they shouldn’t, which is known as a slipped, ruptured, or herniated disk; when it occurs in the vertebrae of the neck, it’s called cervical disk herniation.

When a disk bursts or otherwise moves out of place, it can cause pain and other complications, and not only in the neck. Typical symptoms include pain, numbness, and a tingling sensation in the neck, shoulders, and arms, although in some cases, these may be felt in other parts of the body as well. If a particularly large disk has herniated, for example, the effects may be felt in the legs. There may be muscle weakness, usually in the arms or legs, which can affect how well you grip things or raise your arm or leg. Basically, the area of the body that is connected to the nerves around the slipped disk may experience some of the same effects as the neck itself.

The pain often comes on gradually and worsens over time. You may also notice an increase or a shooting pain after sudden movements like a cough or sneeze, or after you spend time in a certain position – sitting or standing for long periods, or just a particular posture.

Herniated disks can occur for a number of reasons. Usually, it’s just the result of wear and tear as we age, where the disks lose moisture and elasticity, making them more susceptible to damage from sudden twists. Heavy lifting is another leading cause: the advice to lift with your legs, not with your back exists for good reason. Twisting while lifting can also cause herniation. People whose jobs require frequent heavy lifting are more prone to herniated disks, as are people who are overweight, which strains the back.

To diagnose, a doctor will examine you for signs of muscle weakness, numbness, difficulty balancing, and diminished reflexes, and ask about any tingling. Other tests such as x-ray or MRI may also be performed. Ample rest is the foremost treatment, with medicine to reduce pain and inflammation; physical therapy or certain stretches may also be recommended, and posture modifications if necessary. In the rare cases involving loss of bladder function and severe pain, surgery may be required.

Source Pain.com

(ĐTĐ) - Although medical terms that might confuse many people, cervical spondylosis and radiculopathy have a common link with one another. Understanding one (cervical spondylosis) is needed to understand how the other (radiculopathy) works within contexts involving the former. That’s mainly because cervical spondylosis often plays a role in causing radiculopathy in people. In this article, let’s take a closer look at the relationship between cervical spondylosis and radiculopathy.

Understanding cervical spondylosis

Spondylosis is a generalized term referring to the gradual degradation of the spine as a person gets older. It typically starts affecting people sometime after age 30. Cervical spondylosis refers to a specific type of gradual degradation within the spine, namely the degradation of the vertebrae and small tissues of the spine’s cervical portion, otherwise known as the neck.

As people get older, they start losing both elasticity and moisture within the soft tissues of their back, including their ligaments, tendons and the gel-filled cartilage discs that act as cushions in between vertebrae. When the discs start drying out, they start becoming fragile, and cracks and fissures start forming within the drying cartilage. Once these discs start becoming damaged enough, conditions like disc herniation and degenerative disc disease may start developing.

Spondylosis, in general, also causes the cartilage around the spinal joints to eventually wear away. That cartilage plays a role in preventing the bones of each joint from rubbing against each other. When that protective layer wears away, the bones start sustaining damage from grinding against each other. If it persists, the bones might start developing bone spurs (osteophytes) or abnormal bone protrusions.

Understanding cervical spondylosis and radiculopathy

How does cervical spondylosis relate to radiculopathy? First, let’s look at what radiculopathy is. Radiculopathy is a medical term describing pain and other symptoms associated with a compressed nerve root. Sciatica is a common form of radiculopathy that affects the legs and lower back. That condition is caused by the compression of the nerve roots linked to the sciatic nerve within the lumbar spine, otherwise known as the lower back.

When the cervical spine starts degenerating, it may cause nerve root compression, too. Fluid from prolapsed discs or even spinal stenosis (the narrowing of the spine) may cause some form of radiculopathy. Bone spurs also cause compressed nerves, since they put pressure on nerves where the bones start to protrude and subsequently pinch nerves.

People who have developed radiculopathy from cervical spondylosis experience pain and stiffness within their necks, in addition to numbness and/or tingling within their shoulders and arms. Some also experience pain within their arms, chests and shoulders. The relationship of cervical spondylosis and radiculopathy has everything to do with compressed nerves. That’s why when cervical spondylosis is mentioned in some context, radiculopathy usually is a common symptom stemming from the aforementioned condition.

The symptoms of cervical spondylosis and radiculopathy

As we described in the previous section, both cervical spondylosis and radiculopathy have symptoms that best characterize each condition. In most cases, people with cervical spondylosis exhibit symptoms relating to radiculopathy.

Symptoms from cervical spondylosis typically start with sharp pain traveling down the arm, usually in the area of where the originating nerve resides. Some people feel a distinct ‘pins and needles’ sensation or, in uncommon cases, complete numbness. Some people feel weak when they perform certain activities, which is a direct result of the nerve issues caused by cervical spondylosis and radiculopathy

The symptoms may even worsen over time, especially due to certain movements. Movements like extending or straining the neck or even turning the head can worsen the condition.

Of course, the aforementioned symptoms aren’t the only symptoms associated with cervical spondylosis and, to a lesser extent, radiculopathy. Here’s an overview of cervical spondylosis symptoms:

- Pain in the neck that spreads to the shoulders or base of the skull.

- Pain in the neck that eventually spreads down to the arm, hand and/or fingers.

- Pain that tends to flare up on occasion, particularly when using a body part affected by the pain.

- Neck stiffness, sometimes after sleeping.

- Headaches that start from the back of the head (from above the neck) and travel over to the top of the forehead.

- A ‘pins and needles’ sensation in part of the arm or hand, typically originating from radiculopathy.

- Rarely, clumsiness in the hand, problems with walking and/or problems with bladder function.

Some people have their symptoms go away after a few days or a few weeks, though most people take much longer to relieve themselves of their symptoms originating from the condition. Though, it’s not uncommon for either condition to come back after a while. When that happens, people typically need a full medical examination and persistent treatment to subside the symptoms of the condition.

People with cervical spondylosis and radiculopathy are advised to talk to their doctor about their experience with one or both conditions. In most cases, doctors use symptoms from cervical spondylosis and radiculopathy to understand how to diagnose either condition and find solutions for treating them.

Treatment options for cervical spondylosis and radiculopathy

Speaking of treatment, people with cervical spondylosis or radiculopathy have the option of treatment to relieve mild or severe symptoms. Let’s take a look at the forms of treatment available.

Treatment for both cervical spondylosis and radiculopathy typically starts with non-surgical options. This is usually the best course of treatment for people with milder symptoms from either condition.

Soft collars help the muscles of the neck relax and limit the neck’s natural motions, while also decreasing the likelihood of the nerve roots pinching with each movement. They’re typically worn for a short amount of time to prevent the neck muscles form losing strength. Physical therapy also works, as it helps with stretching and strengthening the neck muscles.

Medications are a common form of non-surgical treatment. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen and aspirin are incredibly common for reducing pain from nerve swelling.

Narcotics help treat severe pain, though are prescribed for a limited time due to their addictive nature. Spinal injections of steroids, typically near the pinched nerve, provide near immediate relief for people with nerve pain and swelling.

In rare cases, surgical treatment may be needed to completely relieve symptoms from cervical spondylosis and radiculopathy. This usually involves removing certain parts of the damaged spinal cord or nerve roots (such as herniated discs or bone spurs) to make more room for them.

Source Chronicbodypain.net 

(ĐTĐ) - Stress has become an unfortunately commonplace part of life for many people, so much so that we forget how damaging it can be on the body. Aside from the emotional and mental toll it takes, stress can have negative physical effects as well, from fatigue to bodily pain. Neck pain is one of those physical symptoms of stress.

Stress is part of our ingrained fight-or-flight response, flooding our system with adrenaline and causing our muscles to tense in preparation; this stimulates nerves and diverts blood flow away from muscles, which causes stiffness and pain. With prolonged stress, this leads to sore, tight muscles and – in one of the body’s more vicious cycles – the pain causes muscles to tense further.

The neck is a one of the most common places for painful muscular tension as a result of stress. This is not only because the neck is one of the first places to tense up in response to stress, but also because stress exacerbates underlying neck problems, which many people have to begin with. Poor or improper posture is extremely common, especially between constant computer use and propping up phones between neck and shoulder, so in many cases the potential for neck pain is already in place when stress sets in.

Reducing your stress levels and learning to manage it is essential to treating and preventing neck pain. Being aware of stress and its potential triggers is step one; it may seem self-explanatory, but sometimes we just don’t notice it, or we decide to just push through. If you notice stress or tension building, stop, take a few deep breaths, and take a moment to stretch lightly or do some neck rolls. Make sure you’re maintaining a healthy diet and get some exercise, which is helpful for not only reducing stress but soothing muscle pain as well, because it gets blood flowing – and as we know, lack of blood flow to muscles causes pain.

While you’re working on your stress levels, check on postural triggers. Sit upright in your chair with your head directly above your neck, directly above your shoulders. Take frequent breaks, and adjust your car seat so that you can comfortably reach the wheel rather than leaning forward or extending your arms too far. And don’t forget, there’s always massage – you might have to treat yourself!

Source Pain.com