Cervical Pain (Neck Pain): Exercises, Treatments & Symptoms
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Cervical Pain (Neck Pain): Exercises, Treatments & Symptoms

Hey, are you a victim of cervical pain, or afraid that you are suffering from cervical pain? If yes, then don’t get panic, this can be cured in the initial stage by recognizing the symptoms of cervical pain, causes, and applying some regular exercise in your daily life. Here in this blog, you can enhance your knowledge and can get rid of cervical pain by knowing some treatments, and exercises. So let’s start reading without wasting any time:

What Is Cervical Pain (Neck Pain)?

Basically, the cervical spine in any human has a wonderful but a little complex structure. However, this complex structure is proficient in supporting the head part of your body which has 15 or more pounds weight when you moving it in different directions. This is the fact that no other section of the spine in the human body has such freedom of movement.

Although such a combination of complexity and mobility can make your neck sensitive to pain and injury. Although cervical or neck pain is generally caused by the strain. However, prolonged pain can be a sign of some more serious problems. Although this complex structure of the cervical spine has some parts.

However, it involves intervertebral discs to absorb shock, 7 small vertebrae, the spinal cord, joints, intervertebral discs to absorb shock, vascular elements, 8 nerve roots, 32 muscles, and ligaments. Although the spinal cord has nerve roots stem in your body, that is the same as tree branches within the foramen in the vertebrae.

In addition, each of these nerve roots can transmit the signals to and from the brain, arms, shoulders, and chest. Although these signals are known as nerve impulses. Also, the vascular system in the human body has 4 arteries, and veins that run through your neck that can help you to circulate the blood between the heart and the brain.

Causes of Cervical Pain

Although the muscles, joints, and ligaments do facilitate the movement and serve you to stabilize the whole structure and neck mobility is excellent. Thus it is capable of moving the head part in multiple directions such as 90° of extension or backward motion, 90° of flexion or forward motion, 180° of rotation or side to side, and around 120° of tilt to each shoulder. The causes of neck pain are as varied as the list is long. Consider a few examples:

Growing Older: Degenerative disorders such as osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, and degenerative disc disease are known to affect the spine.
Osteoarthritis is a common joint disorder causing progressive deterioration of cartilage. The body reacts by forming new bone termed osteophytes (bone spurs) that impact joint motion.

Everyday Life: Poor posture, obesity, and weak abdominal muscles disrupt the spine’s balance often causing the neck to bend forward to compensate. Stress and emotional tension can cause muscles to tighten and contract to result in pain and stiffness.

Spinal stenosis causes the foramen, small neural passageways, to narrow possibly compressing and entrapping nerve roots. Stenosis may cause neck, shoulder, and arm pain and numbness when these nerves are unable to function normally.

Degenerative disc disease (DDD) can cause the intervertebral discs to become less hydrated, resulting in decreased disc elasticity and height. Over time, a disc may bulge or herniate causing upper extremity pain, tingling, and numbness.

Injury and Accidents: Whiplash is a common injury sustained during an auto accident. This is typically termed a hyperextension and/or hyperflexion injury because the head is forced to move backward and/or forward rapidly beyond the neck’s normal range of motion. The unnatural and forceful movement affects the muscles and ligaments in the neck. Muscles react by tightening and contracting creating muscle fatigue resulting in pain and stiffness.

Other Disease Processes: Although neck pain is commonly caused by strain, prolonged pain, and/or neurologic deficit may be an indication of something more serious. These symptoms should not be ignored. Spinal infection, spinal cord compression, tumor, fracture, and other disorders can occur. If a head injury has been sustained, more than likely the neck has been affected too. It is wise to seek medical attention promptly.

Need For Treatment of Cervical Pain (Neck Pain)

Before starting about the exercises, treatments, and symptoms of cervical pain, it will be good to know that What is Cervical Pain? Cervical pain is a kind of pain that occurred due to some changes in bones like osteoarthritis, and in cervical spondylosis. Mostly this condition is seen in the group of aging people due to herniated discs, injuries, tumors, and Paget’s disease in bone. But that doesn’t mean that the cervical pain can’t affect the adult age group, the adult age group also face this due to some other factors.

In the medical term, there are different types of cervical pain like spondylosis cervical pain, osteoarthritis cervical pain, cervical spinal stenosis pain and etc. Spinal stenosis has two conditions, one is cervical spinal stenosis, and another is lumbar stenosis. Cervical spinal stenosis dizziness is a kind of stage where the spinal canal starts to narrow and create a space in the spinal bone in the part of the spine in the human neck.

And lumbar stenosis occurs in the lower back of the spine. In the above paragraph, we have mentioned spondylosis, and osteoarthritis cervical pain. Spondylosis cervical and osteoarthritis cervical are approximately the same which we called cervical neck pain in our normal life.

Read more: Lower back pain in older adults

Here in this blog, you will know only the exercises, treatment, and symptoms of cervical neck pain. If you are a victim of this cervical neck pain then it will be very useful for you or if you are not a victim of cervical neck pain then this also useful for you.       

Symptoms of Cervical Pain

You can recognize cervical pain through the symptoms. So it is important to know the symptoms to treat the cervical neck pain as soon as possible. Here are symptoms mentioned below, that will help you to detect the cervical pain in the neck.  

  • Neck pain is the main symptom of cervical pain in the neck.
  • Sometimes your hands, legs, or fingers may become insensitivity or numbness & tingling. 
  • Feeling weak to pick any goods in your hand.
  • Facing problems to walk properly and to balance perfectly.
  • Cramping of legs for a long time, and unable to walk perfectly.
  • Incontinency of urinary is a big symptom of spinal stenosis, generally, this symptom appears in the sever case.
  • Most of the time feeling pain in the middle part of the neck, shoulder, and upper chest is another symptom of cervical neck pain.
  • Severe headache in the backside of head, behind the ear and eye.
  • Tightening of muscle in the neck during the sitting and sleeping position, and unable to move the neck.
  • Cramping of muscles in the neck.
  • Sharp neck pain, stress, fever, throat pain, tenderness, not able to lifting or gripping easily.   

Diagnosis of Cervical Pain

If you want to figure out what is causing your cervical pain. Then the doctor needs to obtain a proper diagnosis is paramount to determine the best course of treatment for neck pain. You have to know what spinal condition is causing your neck pain before you can know how to treat it. The physician will take your medical history.

The oral segment of the examination often includes many questions such as When did the pain start? What activities preceded the pain? What have you tried to relieve the neck pain? Does the pain radiate or travel into other body parts? What makes the pain less or greater? and many more.

A physical examination includes observing your posture, range of motion, and physical condition. Any movement generating pain is carefully noted. The physician will palpate or feel the curvature of the spine, vertebral alignment, and detect muscle spasm. The neurological examination tests the patient’s reflexes, muscle strength, sensory and/or motor changes, and pain distribution.

Radiographic studies may be ordered. An x-ray can reveal narrowing of disc space, fracture, osteophyte formation, and osteoarthritis. Bulging discs and herniations, often responsible for neurologic symptoms, are detected using MRI.

If nerve damage is suspected, the physician may order a special test to measure how quickly nerves conduct impulses. These tests are termed nerve conduction studies and/or electromyography. Typically these studies are not performed immediately because it may take several weeks for nerve impairment to become apparent.

Cervical Pain Treatment

Cervical neck pain treatment can be treated through 4 mediums, and they are physical therapy, surgery, and medication. 

Read More: Cervical disk treatment

Physical Therapy: Physical therapy medium will help you to relieve pain, stretch your neck and muscles of your shoulder. Not only that physical therapy also increases the willing power of your mind and recovery as soon as possible with the therapy procedures.  

Medication: Medication is a process by which you can get relaxation and relief in your muscles, and can reduce inflammation. Your physical therapist will suggest you cyclobenzaprine for the muscles to relax, and muscle spams, hydrocodone for pain relief, gabapentin (anti-epileptic drugs) for nerve damage and pain relief, and steroid injections to reduce the inflammation of the tissue. Doctors also suggest the victim of cervical neck pain take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce inflammation.  

Surgery: In this case, surgery depends upon on your cervical pain condition, If all types of treatments go wrong with you or don’t respond, and if your case is severe then you need surgery to get rid of this condition. Surgery in cervical neck pain is rarely suggested by therapists. Generally, surgery is needed for those persons who experience such type of symptoms like weakness of muscle, loss of bowel, loss of sensation, and etc.      

Cervical pain treatment at home: You can make your treatment at your home if your condition is mild. Do some exercise regularly in free space to get an effective result and use a heating pad or cool pack on your neck area to provide relaxation to your neck. Try to avoid a very soft and very hard pillow in the bed. Wear a soft neck collar to reduce the movement of your neck.

Know The Importance of Neck Exercise

Spine experts agree that physical activity is important for people with neck pain. This brochure will show you how to stay active without making your pain worse. You can even reduce your pain by being active. The activity can also then protect you against your neck pain
returning in the future.

So how do you stay physically active without making your pain worse? Many people are surprised that carefully selected exercises can actually reduce pain. The exercises described in this brochure can often provide quick and significant relief, speed your recovery as well as keep your pain from returning.

Once pain lessens or disappears, other exercises can help restore neck movement and muscle strength. These exercises will help you gain optimal recovery and help protect you against future episodes. If it is difficult to reduce your pain, many doctors believe returning to your activities is worthwhile. Even if pain increases, as long as that increase ceases as soon as the activity stops, that temporary additional pain is acceptable. So try to stay active.

It is important to choose exercises carefully to avoid making your neck pain worse. One way to know if your neck problem is getting worse is if your symptoms spread away from the neck itself and into your shoulder or down your arm. This can happen during certain exercises or common activities such as driving, reading, or using a computer for a prolonged period of time.

Read More: Shoulder Pain

The good news is that the opposite is also true! Symptoms can move out of your arm or shoulder so they are felt closer to the center or midline of your neck (called symptom “centralization”). When this happens, you are improving and moving toward recovery! You may be able to identify exercises and positions that can intentionally make
that happen.

Read More: Shoulder pain causes

When that is the case, once all symptoms have returned to the center of your neck, they will often decrease and disappear with continued exercise. Or if you only have pain in your neck, these same exercises will often eliminate that pain. Numbness or tingling usually recovers as well, but sometimes more slowly than the pain.

Four simple exercises often help centralize and reduce neck-related symptoms. When doing these exercises, as well as any other activities, monitor your pain and any numbness and tingling. Make sure they are moving toward the middle of your neck (centralizing), becoming less intense, or at least remaining the same.

If they are moving further away from your neck, stop the exercise. Continue with those that help your pain the most; abandon those that aggravate your pain.

Selecting Exercises to Relieve Pain

Walking erectly with a “neutral” head position, Make an effort to “walk tall” (chest up, shoulders back) and with your head positioned in “neutral.” This means your ears are aligned directly over your shoulders when viewed from the side. Allowing your head to fall into a forward position is a bad habit worth breaking because it so often contributes to neck pain and prolongs recovery. It initially requires an effort to consistently draw your head backward but, over time, this neutral position will become your new habit.

Neutral head position or Supine neutral head position This exercise enables you to establish and maintain the “neutral” head position with very little effort while resting. By lying on your back with as thin a pillow as is comfortable, or ideally with no pillow, let your head fall backward so your ears move toward being aligned with your shoulders and hips as much as you comfortably can.

Spending 5-10 minutes in this position, perhaps every couple
hours if necessary, often decreases or helps eliminate neck
pain and allows your head to move further and further into that
ideal alignment.

Cervical Pain Exercise to Get Rid of The Pain

Exercise is the best way to get rid of this cervical pain, it makes our bones and muscles stronger and can increase your muscle strength and mass. Here are some easy exercises mentioned below which will help you to reduce the cervical neck pain faster. Have a look towards the below:   

Stretching of the neck:

  • At first, sit down in a straight position and keep your head straight.
  • Then move your chin forward and stretch your throat in the same way. 
  • Softly stretch the muscles of your neck, and don’t move for 5-8 seconds.
  • Then return to your previous position slowly.
  • Move your chin upward and hold it for 5-6 seconds then return to your previous position.
  • Repeat it for 5-10 times a day.  

Tilting of Neck (Forward & Backward):

  • Touch your chin in your chest and gently stretch your neck muscle by holding for 5 seconds.
  • After that, return to your previous place, and repeat it for 5-10 times a day.    

Turn the neck:

  • Sit straight, and side your head backward for 5 seconds as per your comfort, and stretch the muscle.
  • Then return your head in the previous position.
  • Again do the first step on the opposite side, and repeat it for 5-10 times in a day. 

Tilt the neck side to side:

  • First of all, straight your spinal cord, and neck in a sitting position either stand up straightly.
  • Then tilt your head down towards any shoulder, with the ears leading. 
  • Now try to stretch your neck muscles, and hold it for 5 seconds.
  • Come back to your previous position and do this again on the opposite shoulder.
  • Do this for 5-10 times per day.  

Roll your shoulder:

  • Rolling of the shoulder is the best exercise for cervical pain.
  • At first, sit or stand in free space and raise your shoulders up straightly.
  • Move your shoulders in a circularly in a forward motion for 5 times.
  • Then come back to your previous position, and again raise your hand straight up.
  • And do the same circulation motion but in the backward motion for 5 times.
  • Count it one, and do this exercise (roll your shoulder) for 5 times in a day.     

Remember that do all the exercises regularly in a limitation don’t try to do this more than 10 times in a day, this may increase your cervical neck pain. And do not stretch your neck muscles gently, otherwise, your pain maybe twice as much as before.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cervical Pain

What kinds of surgery are used for cervical pain?

Typically, surgeons use 2 surgical techniques for cervical spine surgery. Decompression, where they remove tissue pressing against a nerve structure. Stabilization, where they work to limit motion between vertebrae, There are different types of decompression procedures such as discectomy, corpectomy, and TransCorporeal MicroDecompression (TCMD).

  • Discectomy: The surgeon removes all or part of a damaged disc.
  • Corpectomy: The vertebral body is removed to access whatever is compressing the spinal cord or nerve.
  • TransCorporeal MicroDecompression (TCMD): The surgeon accesses the cervical spine from the front of the neck. TCMD is performed through a small channel made in the vertebral body to access and decompress the spinal cord and nerve.

Your surgeon will determine what’s best for your condition.

Stabilization surgery is sometimes but not always done at the same time as a decompression surgery. In some forms of decompression surgery, the surgeon may need to remove a large portion of the vertebra or vertebrae. That results in an unstable spine, meaning that it moves in abnormal ways, and that puts you more at risk for serious neurological injury. In that case, the surgeon will restabilize the spine.

Commonly, this is done with a fusion and spinal instrumentation, or implantation of an artificial disc. Some patients are at high-risk for poor bone healing or unsuccessful fusion. Smoking and diabetes are two of several risk factors that impede bone healing and fusion. A bone growth stimulator may be recommended and prescribed for patients with certain risk factors.

I woke up with cervical pain, What need to do?

Daily life (and nightlife) can take its toll on your neck. You may have slept wrong last night, causing your neck muscles to tighten. The best thing to do is give your body time to heal on its own. To get through the day without letting the pain interfere with your normal activities, you have a few options.

Gently stretch your neck. Then take over-the-counter pain medications, such as Tylenol or Advil. Alternate between heat and ice treatments on your neck: 20 minutes of heat followed by 20 minutes of ice should help the pain and the healing process.

What are some non-surgical options for treating cervical pain?

Less than 5% of the neck or cervical pain patients will need surgery, and there are a lot of options for you to try before surgery. Acupuncture, herbal remedies, massage, yoga, and Pilates. For more information, you can read our article on alternative treatments for cervical pain. Such as Chiropractic care, Medication, Physical therapy.

Will I need surgery?

Most patients with cervical pain respond well to non-surgical treatments (such as medication), so cervical spine surgery is seldom needed to treat it. In fact, less than 5% of cervical pain patients need surgery. However, there are situations when you may want to go ahead with spine surgery.

  • Non-surgical treatment is not helping—that is, you’ve tried a combination of chiropractic care, physical therapy, medication, massage, exercises, and more, and you’re still in pain.
  • You experience progressive neurological symptoms (numbness, tingling, weakness) involving your arms and legs.
  • You’re having trouble with balance or walking.
  • You are otherwise in good health.
  • Generally, surgery is done for degenerative disc disease, trauma, or spinal instability. These conditions may put pressure on your spinal cord or on the nerves coming from the spine.

Conclusion

This article gives a well-rounded picture of things that can cause cervical and arm pain. However, a patient should consult with their own physician rather than doing a self-diagnosis. Some conditions, such as coronary artery disease (angina) or even lung tumors may mimic these conditions. It is best to have a skilled physician perform a thorough physical examination when the symptoms described are present.

We hope this article will help you to collect some knowledge regarding cervical symptoms, treatment, and exercises. Further, if you have any doubts regarding this blog then you can comment us in the below section, we will try to clear your doubts. At last, we will say that just follow the treatment, and exercise and stay healthy.

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