Neck pain is a very common complaint. Neck muscles can be strained from poor posture, previous work, sports or auto injury, poor sleep, stress, or arthritis. Wear-and-tear arthritis (Osteoarthritis) is a common cause of neck pain. Neck pain can also be caused by a thinning disc, loss of proper neck curvature, nerve compression or a space-occupying lesion. Certain individuals may suffer from chronic dizziness or balance issues – even those who may be active in sports or outdoor recreational activities. Upper cervical (neck) problems and vestibular problems may be the cause of these symptoms, causing interference with coordination of the body’s nervous system. Regardless of your pain or symptoms our team of physicians at Med One will provide a professional diagnosis and treatment plan to help reduce or eliminate your pain.
Neck pain and upper back pain are some of the worst forms of pain and unfortunately, some of the most common and are often the cause of disability claims and missed work. While it can be normal to experience some stiffness, pain, or inflammation in your neck or upper back due to a variety of factors, sometimes the pain can indicate a serious underlying condition. If you have been experiencing neck or back pain for more than one week, consult your Raleigh primary care physicians at Med One Medical Center.
What is Neck and Upper Back Pain?
Your neck and upper back are connected by your spine: a chain of vertebrae that help keep you upright and connects into the base of the skull. The vertebrae of the spine are cushioned by cervical discs that absorb shocks from movement and allow the spine to bend and twist. The upper vertebrae, in addition to your bones, muscles, and ligaments, are what support your head and upper body while allowing you to move.
Pain in the neck and upper back radiates from this area and tend to be connected problems with the muscles or vertebrae of the neck and upper back. It can be sharp, dull, radiating, aching, skeletal, or muscular in nature. It is normal occasionally to experience pain or stiffness in the upper back or neck and can go away on its own after a few days, but lingering pain or pain associated with an injury like a car crash or contact sports should be seen by a doctor.
Common Chronic Neck and Upper Back Pain
Most stiffness or pain in your neck or upper back will clear up within a few days, but if your pain lasts more than a week, you should see a doctor. If your neck or upper back pain includes a headache, spasms, a decreased ability to move your head or arms, is worsened by holding your head in one place or spreads down the arms, they could be the symptoms of underlying problems.
Chronic pain in the neck and upper back tends to be caused by specific issues:
Car accidents, impacts from contact sports, or even falling can injure you more deeply than you’d think. Such injuries can strain your muscles or put your spine out of alignment.
Bad posture or too much time sitting hunched over a computer or device for long periods of time can create a strain on your muscles and ligaments.
Worn Neck Joints
If you’re older, you may have started noticing wear on many of your joints – as you get older you may start to notice this causing pain in your neck as well.
A more serious cause could be a compressed or pinched nerve, caused by a herniated disc or bone spurs. In this case, the nerves in the area are being pressed causing pain, tingling, or numbness.
Diagnosis for Underlying Neck and Upper Back Problems
If you’ve had lingering pain in your neck or upper back, you need to see your doctor to be diagnosed properly. This can include a physical examination, x-rays, a CT scan, or an MRI. These tests are necessary to see the underlying issues causing your pain and will help your Raleigh physician create a treatment plan for your pain.
Neck and Upper Back Pain Treatment
Treatment for your pain will vary depending on the severity and the underlying cause. Mild or moderate pain could be handled with pain medication and rest, but more severe cases will need more treatment.
There are several methods of applying traction to the neck but all generally are methods that gently pull the head away from the spine to stretch the neck, providing pain relief.
Physical therapy might be recommended in certain cases as it will help you correct your posture, relieve pressure on a pinched nerve, and use several measures to help relieve your neck and upper back pain and prevent it from reoccurring.
Sometimes more aggressive methods are necessary, such as steroid injections or surgery. Your doctor will let you know if your underlying cause requires such procedures.
If it’s only been a few days and you don’t think you need to head in to see the doctor yet, you can try some care at home to help ease the pain and stiffness and promote healing. Using over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatories will help with the pain and any swollen muscles. Alternating heat and cold therapy or warm showers can also ease inflammation and pain. Gentle stretching will loosen up the area and promote healing.
Contact Med One Medical Group today
To begin healing and get relief from your neck pain or upper back pain, contact Med One Medical Group by calling 919-850-1300.