We all recognize that the body is a complicated system where the mind can affect pain perception and pain perception can affect the mind. In some cases mind-over-matter really is key to resolving neck pain as both internal mental factors and external environmental factors within our control can have a significant effect on how pain is felt, if at all. Read more
Neck pain may occur in isolation but it is also often accompanied by a variety of other symptoms. These range from shooting pains into the arms and hands to difficulties swallowing or even dizziness and nausea. How can you tell if something serious is causing your neck pain, rather than it just being an acute symptom of sleeping in a draughty room? What are your symptoms really telling you? Read more
Tension neck syndrome is a pretty common condition that is caused by muscle strain in the upper back. The nature of repetitive work in cramped and uncomfortable postures common to the construction industry mean that tension neck syndrome is particularly prevalent amongst those doing manual labour.
The condition can result in neck stiffness, muscle spasms, and neck pain and/or pain radiating from the cervical spine to the shoulders, head, and even into the arms and chest. This condition is particularly common in those working in the construction industry, but there are ways to reduce the risk of tension neck syndrome in such jobs, with many of these solutions also applying in other areas of life. Read more
A herniated disc in the neck is not as common as in the lower back, but it does happen. Interestingly, the causes of disc herniation in the lumbar region mirror those of the same condition in the cervical (neck) region. That is, the intervertebral discs in both regions are subjected to a great deal of wear and tear over the years. This wear and tear is exacerbated by the rigors of spinal movement and the challenge of bearing weight (of the head, in the case of the neck, and of the upper body, in the case of the lumbar spine). Another quality they share is that unless there is consistent compression of a nearby spinal nerve, a herniated disc could very well remain undetected. Read more
A pinched nerve in the neck is not what it sounds like in most cases. Far more often than not, what people refer to as a “pinched nerve” in the upper back (or “cervical” region of the spine) is actually a strained muscle. The muscles in the neck region might become strained when you sleep with your head in an awkward position, or if your head turns quickly at an unusual angle. While extremely painful in some cases, the pain will usually subside after a few days, and can typically be managed using over-the-counter pain medication. However, there is another condition that actually does deserve the title, “pinched nerve,” and that can produce symptoms which are much more difficult to manage. Read more
Just the thought of undergoing neck surgery for a degenerative spine condition like a herniated disc is enough to make anyone a little squeamish. That’s probably because most people envision the traditional form of surgery, where at least one large incision is made in the neck or throat to access the cervical spine, and muscles and other soft tissues are dissected and pulled apart to reveal the cervical vertebrae.
This open spine approach used to be the only option for patients requiring surgery to address some form of neck pain caused by a degenerative cervical spine condition. Thanks to enormous advancements in science and surgical techniques in the past few decades, some patients are now able to undergo a far less invasive form of neck surgery that offers a number of advantages over the traditional form. Read more
The majority of acute onset neck pain is due to muscle tension but in some cases left-sided neck pain, right-sided neck pain, or neck pain that presents with Horner’s syndrome are the result of carotid artery dissection or carotidynia. It appears that carotid artery dissection, whilst once thought fairly rare, is actually a risk for many people, young or old, active or inactive. Indeed, activities such as running, golf, and contact sports can all lead to acute trauma to the carotid artery and neck pain, and for some patients this can be fatal. In today’s blog post we take a look at a case of Horner’s syndrome as a result of carotid artery dissection. Read more
Using an exercise ball to help improve muscle strength provides relief from ankylosing spondylitis according to a recent study. The results of this trial offer hope of effective conservative therapy for those with back and neck pain from the condition and may help reduce reliance on pain medications as well as delay the need for neck surgery. Read more