If you’re dealing with neck pain, chances are it’s nothing serious. Perhaps you’re suffering from tension, you were hunched over a table or workbench, or you simply strained a muscle with some long-forgotten motion. In these cases, you can likely get some relief through self-care and rest.
When neck pain results from a specific incident, such as a car accident or sports injury, then urgent treatment is recommended, even if you think your discomfort is due to a minor soft tissue injury.
There are, however, rare instances when neck pain is a symptom of a more serious issue. Understanding the typical lifespan of neck pain will help you determine when it’s time to visit us at Westside Pain Specialists.
Causes of neck muscle strain
Most neck pain comes down to muscle strains of various origins, some of which may not be immediately obvious. For instance, if you have a sore neck after a long day working at a computer, you’re likely correct in assuming that poor posture may be the cause of your pain.
However, some people may not connect a sore neck with bruxism, also known as teeth grinding. This can transfer tension through jaw muscles to the neck, where the pain is felt. In today’s device age, the neck-forward viewing posture can create muscle strain even after weeks or months of pain-free use.
Most muscle strain problems can be resolved by changing habits and improving your posture, as well as home treatment. Only persistent muscle-based pain requires medical attention. A complex soft tissue injury such as whiplash is one such example.
Serious neck pain origins
When muscles aren’t the primary cause of neck pain, it’s more likely that medical intervention or pain management is necessary. The vertebrae in your neck, and indeed your entire spine, make up a series of joints. Like your hip or knee, these joints can deteriorate with time or disease. Osteoarthritis is a common cause of joint degradation, and as cartilage wears away, pain can emerge.
Herniated discs can put pressure on the nerves passing through neck vertebrae, called the cervical spine. Nerve compression can cause pain at the site of the pressure, or anywhere along the path of the affected nerve. Nerve compression is often revealed by tingling or numbness along your arms and in your hands.
Diseases may also be the reason for neck pain. Rheumatoid arthritis can cause many of the problems that osteoarthritis can, and both benign and malignant (cancerous) tumors may also cause muscle tension or nerve compression. Neck pain is also a symptom of meningitis.
When to visit a doctor about neck pain
Neck pain, even when it ,comes on suddenly, usually improves gradually, each day feeling a bit better than the previous. Contact Westside Pain Specialists if:
- Your neck pain persists without improvement
- The pain is getting worse
- Your discomfort is so severe that you’re unable to perform your daily tasks
- You feel pain or other sensations in your arms and hands
- Headaches seem to accompany your neck pain
Your best recovery from neck pain depends on a prompt and accurate diagnosis. Dr. Nassiri can also recommend pain management plans when neck pain originates from a degenerative condition like arthritis.
You can book an appointment by calling either location of Westside Pain Management or by using the online booking tool. If you’ve been suffering for more than a week, the time to call is now.