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What Causes Stiff Neck And Back Pain

How To Get Rid Of Stiff Neck In Less Than 90 Seconds

10 Best Stiff Neck Pain Relief Stretches

Living with Neck Pain in Santa Maria is terrible! We know, because we see hundreds of patients here on the central coast every month with just this issue!

Working on computers and staring down at our smartphones for hours each day has left over 20% of us experiencing neck pain over the past few months. A stiff neck is usually the result of postural issues that have tired the neck muscles over time. Weakened, or unbalanced, muscle strength can place additional stress on your spinal joints and lead to changes in how you move, extra pressure on your discs, and pain.

Why it Matters:

If you are looking down at your digital devices all day every day, the stress can add up and result in your neck not moving correctly. At this point, it’s only a matter of time before you wake up with a stiff neck or turn your head during the day and are greeted by an intense muscle discomfort or pain.

Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis

Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis is calcification or a bony hardening of ligaments in areas where they attach to the spine. Ligaments are supposed to be flexible, so DISH can cause symptoms such as pain, stiffness, and restricted movement.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: joint pain, upper back pain, stiff neck, stiff back, trouble swallowing

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Most Common Serious Condition With Stiff Neck

Meningitiswhich in its most dangerous form is a bacterial infection that causes the protective membranes of the brain and spinal cord to be inflamedis the most common serious condition associated with a stiff neck.

See Spinal Cord Anatomy in the Neck

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , a fever, headache, and stiff neck are typically early symptoms of bacterial meningitis.FOOT|1] When any two of these symptoms are present together, they should be immediately checked out by a doctor.

See When Neck Stiffness May Mean Meningitis

Meningitis symptoms usually develop within a few days of exposure, and the individuals condition could worsen gradually or rapidly. Early treatment for meningitis is critical for having a good outcome. Delayed treatment could result in poor outcomes, such as hearing loss, brain damage, or even death.

It should be noted that a stiff neck is not always present with meningitis, and other symptoms could include nausea, heightened sensitivity to light or loud noises, or confusion, among others.

Meningitis is a bacterial infection that causes the protective membranes of the brain and spinal cord to become inflamed.

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What Is The Cervical Spine

The cervical spine is the neck region of your spinal column. It’s made up of seven small, highly mobile bones, and their associated ligaments, muscles, and shock-absorbing discs.

Anything that aggravates or comes into contact with your spinal nerve roots can lead to radiculopathy, and that includes several common conditions in which growths or abnormalities cause something to invade the space of the nerve root.

  • Herniated disc: The shock-absorbing discs between vertebrae can become damaged and may develop a bulge and/or leak fluid.
  • Synovial cyst: These lumps are caused by a buildup of joint fluid that forms a sac.
  • Bone spur: An extra bit of bone forms in response to damage or chronic inflammation.
  • Cervical spondylosis : This condition involves the formation of bone spurs in the neck.
  • Spinal stenosis: An advanced stage of spinal arthritis, stenosis occurs when the spaces in the spine become narrowed, usually due to excess bone growth.
  • Degenerative disc disease : Discs between vertebrae erode and fray over time, which may cause a herniated disc. In cases of severe degeneration, bone-on-bone contact can cause bone spurs in the joint.

How Can Physical Therapists Treat The Neck Pain At The Base Of Your Skull

Headaches &  Neck Pain Relief Prospect Park &  Secaucus, NJ

Physical therapists are well-suited to the treatment of upper neck discomfort. The fact that these doctors are educated to treat musculoskeletal diseases of the neck is one of the reasons.

Another factor is that they have a wide range of therapy options. Your therapist may use the following approaches to manage your pain:

  • Manipulation of the spine

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Preventing Neck Pain And Stiffness

You may find the following advice helpful in preventing neck pain:

  • make sure you have good posture read about how to sit correctly, posture tips for laptop users, and common posture mistakes and fixes
  • take regular breaks from your desk, from driving, or from any activity where your neck is held in the same position for a long period of time
  • if you often feel stressed, try relaxation techniques to help ease any tension in your neck
  • avoid sleeping on your front, and make sure your head is in line with your body if you sleep on your side
  • only use enough pillows to keep your head level with your body
  • make sure your mattress is quite firm a soft mattress could mean your neck is bent while you sleep

The Serious Consequences Of Delaying Treatment

If you have a compressed nerve in your neck and you delay your treatment, you can wind up with shooting, electrical-like pain extending into your back and all the way down your arms. Over time, a pinched nerve can cause your muscles to become weak, and it can interfere with your ability to use your hands. Eventually, that damage can become permanent, which means delaying care could result in a lifetime of disability.

Of course, that doesnt mean you should ignore muscle strain either. When you strain a muscle, it can cause inflammation which can, in turn, presses on nerves. Or, you might wind up compensating for the strain by putting excess pressure on other areas of your neck and shoulders, which can also press on nerves. What does that mean? Even a seemingly minor muscle strain can wind up causing nerve compression, which can then cause serious and even permanent damage. The bottom line is pretty simple: Any type of chronic neck pain that goes on for days on end without relief needs to be seen and evaluated by a medical professional.

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Will I Need Surgery For Neck Pain

Most patients with neck pain respond well to non-surgical treatments, so cervical spine surgery is seldom needed to treat it. In fact, less than 5% of neck pain patients need surgery.

Surgery is typically a last resort, explains Dr. Penhollow, unless it’s an acute disc herniation compression on the spinal cord where it’s a neurosurgical emergency, such as when someone experiences loss of bowel or bladder control, or extreme weakness in the limbs where decompression of the cord is imperative.

You may need cervical spine surgery if:

  • Non-surgical treatment is not helping. That is, you’ve tried a combination of medication, chiropractic care, physical therapy, massage, exercises, and more, and you’re still in pain.
  • Your pain is worsening. A pinched nerve in your neck called cervical radiculopathy can lead to pain, numbness, and weakness in your shoulders or down your arms. If your pain is worsening, surgery can remove the source of pressure on your nerves .
  • Your spinal cord is being compressed. Certain neck conditions can put pressure on your spinal cord. You may experience pain or stiffness, problems with balance, or have difficulties with fine motor skills.
  • You experience progressive neurological symptoms. If you are feeling numbness, tingling and weakness in your arms and legs and/or are having trouble with balance or walking.

What Kinds of Surgery Are Used For Neck Pain?

There are two common types of cervical spine surgeries performed to relieve neck pain:

Treatment For Neck Pain And Headaches In Back Of Head

5 Stiff Neck Pain Relief Stretches

If you are suffering from severe neck pain and headaches because of it, then know that you are not alone, and there are treatments available to relieve you from the pain. The best thing about these treatments is you do not need to go under the knife to be healed. Some of the suggested non-surgical treatments are:

  • Pain Management
  • Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression

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More Common Before Age 50

Cervical artery dissections are seen more often in younger adults for two main reasons. First, a small percentage of people have underlying inherited connective tissue disorders that make their arteries more likely to tear. “For these people, an artery tear is more likely to manifest at a younger age,” explains Dr. Rost. In older people, other types of strokes are more common. But dissections can still happen in older people. A study in the journal Neurology found that one in 14 people diagnosed with a cervical artery dissection was age 60 or older.

The second artery dissections are more common before age 50? Younger adults are more likely to engage in exercise that involves neck movements that can precipitate a tear. Dr. Rost has seen a number of artery tears in people who do high-intensity fitness programs that combine elements from several sports and types of exercise. Dissections have also been reported after strenuous weight lifting, head-flinging dance moves, and even yoga. If not done properly, certain positions such as a shoulder stand can cause hyperextension of the neck.

Causes Of Neck Pain At The Base Of The Skull

We all know that neck pain can be very difficult to deal with, particularly once its situated at the bottom of your head. The pain and tension in this part of the neck will result in very painful issues.

Headaches, for example, can be caused by problems in this area. They can also cause joint pain in the jaw. There are three difficulties that local physical therapists typically find when clients have discomfort near the base of their skull:

  • Muscle tension: There are four suboccipital muscles that travel between the cervical vertebrae at the top of your neck to the base of your skull, thus creating tension. It is the tension in these muscles that can lead to poor posture, primarily when working on a computer.Long periods of looking at a smartphone or tablet can also cause tension. These muscles can become stiff when strained, and they can also produce tension headaches.
  • Osteoarthritis: The facet joints between the top two cervical vertebrae might develop this disease. Natural wear and tear can cause facet joint osteoarthritis. An injury to the neck might also cause it.Whiplash, for example, might raise your risk of neck osteoarthritis if left untreated.
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    How Are Your Eyes Neck And Back Connected

    If you have ever experienced eye strain and discomfort at the same time as neck or upper back pain, you may have wondered how these areas are linked. Put simply, muscle tension in your neck and back can’t directly cause eye problems and discomfort, and vice versa.

    However, having simultaneous complaints of the eye, neck, and/or upper back could indicate that you are participating in certain activities or behaviours that are causing your discomfort in all of these areas.

    There are also a few health issues where discomfort in one area may result as a symptom of a problem with the other. In other words, neck and back pain can be symptomatic of an eye problem, and eye discomfort can point to neck and back issues.

    When To Contact A Medical Professional

    Pain in the back of the neck: causes, Treatments and home ...

    Seek medical help right away if you have:

    • A fever and headache, and your neck is so stiff that you cannot touch your chin to your chest. This may be meningitis. Call 911 or the local emergency number or get to a hospital.
    • Symptoms of a heart attack, such as shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, vomiting, or arm or jaw pain.
    • Symptoms do not go away in 1 week with self-care
    • You have numbness, tingling, or weakness in your arm or hand
    • Your neck pain was caused by a fall, blow, or injury — if you cannot move your arm or hand, have someone call 911 or the local emergency number
    • You have swollen glands or a lump in your neck
    • Your pain does not go away with regular doses of over-the-counter pain medicine
    • You have difficulty swallowing or breathing along with the neck pain
    • The pain gets worse when you lie down or wakes you up at night
    • Your pain is so severe that you cannot get comfortable
    • You lose control over urination or bowel movements
    • You have trouble walking and balancing

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    How Can You Prevent Neck Pain

    Fix your posture to fix your neck pain. Sit or stand with your shoulders directly over your hips and your head straight. Adjust your chair or desktop so your computer monitor is at eye level. Take frequent breaks.

    Donât tuck your phone between your ear and shoulder. Use a speakerphone or headset instead.

    Try not to carry heavy bags with shoulder straps.

    Try a different pillow if youâre waking up with a stiff neck. Some people find that a relatively flat one, or one with built-in neck support, works best. Sleeping on your back or side, not your belly, also allows your neck muscles and ligaments to get the rest they need.

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    Can I Prevent Neck And Back Pain

    The following may help to prevent back and neck pain:

    • Practice correct lifting techniques: avoid heavy lifting when you do lift something, bend your legs, keep your back straight, and then slowly lift your body and the object.

    • Properly use telephones, computers, and other equipment.

    • Maintain correct posture while sitting, standing, and sleeping.

    • Exercise regularly. Learn specific back-strengthening exercises to keep your back muscles strong. Warm up with stretching exercises before doing back exercises.

    • Do exercises that improve your balance.

    • Avoid smoking.

    • Reduce emotional stress, which may cause muscle tension.

    • Make sure you have enough Vitamin D and calcium in your diet.

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    How Are Back And Neck Pain Treated

    If you experience acute back or neck pain, it may simply improve with some rest. Over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, may also help with the discomfort. You should try to move gently during this period, so that you will not become stiff and lose mobility.

    If you have chronic pain of your back and neck, you should try several remedies that may be helpful, before seeking surgical options. These include:

    • Hot or cold packs

    • Specific exercises to strengthen muscles and ease pain, such as stretching and flexing. Your health care provider can provide and demonstrate these exercises.

    • Aerobic exercise may be permitted and can help with your overall fitness and strength

    • Certain anti-inflammatory medications or muscle relaxants may be used, with your health care providers supervision

    • Braces or corsets for extra support

    • Injections for pain relief in the area

    • Nerve block, which decreases pain signals from the affected nerve

    • Acupuncture

    What Symptoms Relate To Neck Pain

    Stiff Neck Pain Treatment – Video 2 of 4

    The pain often spreads from the neck towards the shoulders or upper back, and it often causes headaches. You might find the pain is worse when you hold your head in one position for a long time, for example, at a computer.

    Neck pain might also come with muscle tightness or spasms, and you might not be able to move your head very well.

    If you have a neck injury, you might also have dizziness, pins and needles or numbness, weakness, changes to your vision or hearing, problems concentrating or difficulty swallowing. See your doctor if you have any of these symptoms.

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    Development Of Neck Pain And Dizziness

    While neck pain or a problem within the neck has not been scientifically verified as a cause of dizziness, it is commonly reported by patients and clinicians.3 Some potential ways that dizziness may occur as a result of a painful problem in the neck include:

    • Neural problem, such as damage to a proprioceptor in the neck
    • Vascular compression or narrowing, such as to the vertebral artery that supplies blood to the brain

    Other causes of neck pain and dizziness occurring together are also possible, but more research and/or better diagnostic tests are needed to determine if dizziness can truly stem from an issue in the neck.13

    Best Medicines For Neck Pain Relief

    If youre not feeling well after following the home remedies, its time to visit a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

    Getting a diagnosis will lead to the right neck pain treatment for your situation. Your doctor will carry out various imaging tests to know the cause of your neck pain.

    After the diagnosis is made, the doctor will prescribe certain painkillers for your neck pain. A few over-the-counter medicines include ibuprofen , naproxen sodium and acetaminophen .

    Alongside your treatment, you can try alternative neck pain remedies to get rid of chronic neck pain.

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    Symptoms Causes Treatment And More

    Your neck is made up of vertebrae that extend from the skull to the upper torso. Cervical discs absorb shock between the bones.

    The bones, ligaments, and muscles of your neck support your head and allow for motion. Any abnormalities, inflammation, or injury can cause neck pain or stiffness.

    Many people experience neck pain or stiffness occasionally. In many cases, its from poor posture or overuse, or by sleeping in an awkward position. Sometimes, neck pain is caused by injury from a fall, contact sports, or whiplash.

    Most of the time, neck pain isnt a serious condition and can be relieved within a few days.

    But in some cases, neck pain can indicate serious injury or illness and require a doctors care.

    If you have neck pain that continues for more than a week, is severe, or is accompanied by other symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

    Neck pain symptoms can range in severity and duration. Oftentimes, neck pain is acute and lasts for only a couple of days or weeks. Other times, it may become chronic. Your neck pain may be mild and not interfere much with your activities or daily living, or it may be severe and cause disability.

    Symptoms of neck pain may include:

    Neck pain or stiffness can happen for a variety of reasons.


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