Health and Fitness

Crick in Neck: Diagnosis and Treatment by Pain Specialist

Did you know that a stiff neck is also known as a crick in the neck? So, when you cannot quickly move your skull and neck, you might be suffering from the same condition. If you have this problem, it might also make your cervical spine firm, inflexible and motionless. So, it can be pretty troublesome. So, this article will highlight crick in neck: diagnosis and treatment by pain specialists.

What is a Nerd Neck?

It is a forward head posture where the skull actually floats one or more inches in front  of the cervical spine, it is also known as tech neck. The nerd neck exaggerates the curve which our cervical spine has to catch up the skull, most people with nerd neck tilt their head back and lift up their chin a little in results a pressure is build on the upper cervical vertebrae.

What is a Stiff Neck?

As mentioned earlier, a stiff neck has similar symptoms as a crick in neck. Also, it can occur when your neck muscles, ligaments, and tendons get cricked. Typically, people consider the majority of the strains and sprains as slight injuries that may cause swelling or inflammation of neck tissues. Hence, this may lead to stiffness and muscle spasms.

What are the Symptoms of Neck Pain?

As cricks in your neck muscles may cause discomfort, they might not be quite painful. Though, if you already suffer from any neck problem or injury, a crick might add to your neck pain and stiffness. Some of the common symptoms might include:

Stiffness

Limited mobility might impact your neck’s range of motion. So, you might not be able to turn around your head or look over your shoulder comfortably.

Popping Sensation

A popping sensation might emerge from your neck in a particular way.

What are the Causes of Neck Pain?

Several causes might lead to a stiff neck. However, the reason is usually a fusion of many things. Unfortunately, you have no control over these things.

Though, potential causes of this condition may include:

  • Improper posture when you work on a desk-bound job or computer screens or digital gadgets.
  • Awkward sleeping position
  • Sleeping on a pillow that does not appropriately support your neck while you rest.
  • You develop a “tech neck” when you constantly look down on your smartphone or iPad.
  • Excessive stress, exhaustion, and emotional disturbance can involuntarily stiffen the muscles of your neck and shoulders.
  • Lifting heavy objects that do not involve proper ergonomics.
  • Twisted head position for a prolonged period like painting a roof

Some potential causes that you cannot control :

  • Whiplash injury
  • Sports injury
  • Ageing (weakened muscles)

In the majority of cases, specific cervical spine conditions might cause neck problems:

  • Herniated Disc
  • Spinal Fractures
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Spondylosis or vertebral osteoarthritis

What is the Conventional Treatment of Neck Pain?

In most cases, a nerd neck is likely to vanish within a few days without needing to consult a doctor or a chiropractor. However, if you want immediate relief, you must try some home remedies to help alleviate neck pain, stiffness, and discomfort.

Alternate Cold and Heat Therapy

Cold therapy (ice pack application) can help diminish swelling and inflammation of the muscles and ligaments. In contrast, heat therapy (warm showers and hot water bottles) can relieve stiff muscles and encourage blood circulation in the particular body region. You can repeat the cold treatment for 15 minutes after every hour. At the same time, you can do heat therapy for 15 minutes after every three hours.

OTC Medication

Over-the-counter medicines like NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are highly effective in relieving pain, inflammation, and swelling.

Gentle Stretches for Neck Pain

If you practice gentle cervical stretches and exercises, you can effectively eliminate muscular tension and muscle spasm, reinforce your muscle strength, enhance neck flexibility and range of motion.  

What is the Surgical Treatment of Neck Pain?

So when conservative treatments are not effective, your doctor may consider surgery. Other reasons your consultant might opt for surgical treatment are when you experience decreased function due to intense pain, suffer from neurological symptoms, or lose body balance. Another major factor while considering the surgery is that patient should be in good health. Some common surgical treatments include spinal fusion and spinal disc replacement.

When to Visit a Doctor?

Luckily, nerd neck is not a critical condition and is likely to vanish within a few days. Though, there are a few symptoms to take care of as they might indicate a severe medical condition. In this case, you must immediately see a specialist. You should not ignore signs that increase muscle tightness, aggravating pain, fever, body unbalance, weakness, numbness, or tingling sensation.  

How to Prevent?

As neck problems are closely associated with lifestyle preferences, you might develop them again and again. Some basic neck stretches, massage therapy, supportive pillows, and taking frequent pauses from your desk job can help prevent this condition.

Besides, you should adopt healthy habits, always use ergonomic workstations. Also, you should pay special attention to maintaining a proper posture. Stretching your muscles while working on the computer all day is ideal.

If you feel neck pain in the morning, it indicates that you should reconsider your sleeping posture or pillow. Use a pillow that correctly supports your neck and spine. Never sleep on your belly while your neck is twisted, as it may give you unbearable neck pain.  

How to Deal with Neck Discomfort?

As you have explored several remedies to relieve neck pain, you must know that presently no treatment has been endorsed for curing neck discomfort. Even the most commonly used treatments have conflicting evidence regarding their effectiveness to treat neck pain and distorted functions.

However, you should learn to manage your pain. The best way to do this is to adopt lifestyle changes and practice self-management. Some effective strategies to cure chronic neck problems include:

Staying Active

People who practice light exercises are better off than people who sit idle all day. Low-impact exercises can help relax your muscles and relieve neck aches.

Pace Yourself

Take care of yourself, don’t overstress or feel like doing everything yourself. Allocate proper time for resting as it is crucial for a healthy lifestyle.

Advocate for Yourself

Learn stress management, and communicate your feelings. You can pen down your feeling and worries or share them with someone you love and trust. Always set boundaries on what you can and cannot do. And build on your support system by interacting with people who help and inspire you.

Good Sleep

If you are well-rested, you will be better able to cope up with your pain and stresses.

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