Neck pain is a common complaint and affects millions of American’s each year. Over a 100,000 people will seek medical attention and fortunately the cause is often not life threatening. Neck pain associated fever, chills, stiffness, and the inability to move any of the extremities may indicate an emergency and medical attention should be sought. Most causes of neck pain are musculoskeletal: muscle strain, arthritis, poor posture, and injury. Other causes can be due to compressed discs, diseases like rheumatoid arthritis or cancer.
The symptoms of neck pain are usually pain, stiffness, spasms, decreased range of motion, and occasionally headache. This can be mild to severe and last days to months depending upon the underlying cause. Often even a small amount of motion can increase discomfort and finding a comfortable position can be challenging.
When to go to urgent care?
- Severe pain
- Not getting better despite home treatment
- Numbness, weakness or tingling in arms or legs
How is neck pain treated?
The treatment will depend upon the etiology, but most musculoskeletal causes can be treated with a combination of NSAIDS, Tylenol, Heat, gentle range of motion, and sometimes physical therapy. If the cause is from a compressed disc, surgery may be considered. Other diseases like rheumatoid arthritis may require specialty consultation. Your urgent care doctor will help guide you through obtaining a proper diagnosis and treatment regimen.
How to prevent neck pain?
- Maintain good posture
- Take frequent breaks while working
- Maintain good hydration
- Use an ear piece when talking on the phone
- Use a good pillow