Should I Be Worried About My Daily Neck Pain?

man sitting at desk holding his neck in pain

man sitting at desk holding his neck in pain

Is your neck ALWAYS sore?

Daily neck pain and worrying about neck pain can become a vicious circle, with the stress and anxiety of the daily pain causing more pain and vice versa.

Not to mention the pain keeping you awake at night, which makes pain and stress, and anxiety even worse.

So, if you have daily neck pain, the best thing you can do is to find the root cause and fix the issue, so you can stop worrying and start sleeping through the night again.

Wouldn’t that be nice?

Well, that’s why we’re here.

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In most cases, you don’t need to worry too much about daily neck pain because it is most likely due to chronic stress and tension, muscle weakness, and/or poor posture, especially if the pain is mild to moderate.

You can usually treat the symptoms at home with over-the-counter medication and rest.

It should dissipate within a couple of days/weeks.

However, in the case of intense neck pain that arises suddenly after an accident or injury, you should seek medical attention quickly to rule out more serious issues.

You should also seek medical attention if you have other symptoms that accompany the neck pain, such as:

  • Loss of strength in the hands or legs
  • Numbness or pain that travels down the arms

What Are The Symptoms of Daily Neck Pain?

older man holding his neck in pain

With daily neck pain, the pain can range from a couple of days to weeks or turn chronic and remain for months or even years.

The duration of your neck pain will depend on the severity and the cause of the pain. If it is due to a sprained muscle, it will improve with sufficient rest over time.

However, if the underlying cause is more serious, it may need extensive treatment or other procedures.

Surgery might be needed in severe cases, especially if the condition has been chronic for many months or years.

There are two kinds of neck pain: axial (in the neck area) and radicular (spreading to the arms or shoulders), along with a tingling sensation and a headache.

The most common symptoms we see associated with daily neck pain include the following:

  • Tingling or a burning sensation
  • Constant and intense pain
  • A stabbing sensation in the neck
  • Spasms or muscle tightness
  • Sensitivity to mild pressure with tenderness
  • The pain increases when you keep the head in a fixed position

What Causes Daily Neck Pain?

woman sitting in bedroom holding her neck in pain

The cause of your daily neck pain will be different to others, so the aim of physical therapy is to find the one that is specific for you.

But certain medical conditions and health issues can be a cause for daily neck pain in some people, like:

  • Degeneration of the disks/ herniated disk
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Strained muscles
  • Any injury or trauma
  • Bone spurs or pinched nerves
  • Any cyst or tumor

Some additional factors can raise your risk of daily neck pain, including:

  • Intense physical activity
  • The aging process
  • Excessive mental stress
  • Obesity
  • Commuting or driving long distances
  • Women are more susceptible to neck pain
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Poor posture and looking downwards
  • Carrying heavy bags on the shoulder
  • Smoking
  • Poor posture while sleeping

Finding The Root Cause Of Daily Neck Pain

man having an examination to find the cause of his pain

Many medical conditions can cause daily neck pain.

The severity of the pain depends on the underlying issue that is causing it, but daily neck pain can vary from mild to intense.

The neck is part of the cervical spine, as we call it, “in the business” (of physical therapy).

The cervical spine comprises the upper back and neck and has seven vertebral bones supporting the head. Each of these vertebrae is connected by ligaments and muscles and is individually separated by disks.

Therefore, an issue with one or more of these structures or any of the surrounding nerves can cause head or neck pain or both.

To diagnose the root cause of your daily neck pain, we start with a physical examination and verify your medical history, activity levels, and whether there have been any injuries or accidents in your past that could be contributing to the issue.

During the exam, we look for weakness, numbness, and tenderness in the neck to help pinpoint what’s going on and what’s causing your neck pain.

In some cases, we may also recommend undergoing some imaging tests to discover what’s happening inside your cervical spine.

For instance, we might recommend an X-ray to see if your bones are experiencing any degeneration that may be applying pressure on the nerves.

Alternatively, we might suggest an MRI (magnetic resource imaging) to produce detailed images of your neck.

young woman holding her neck in pain at her desk

In rare cases, additional tests that may be called for to diagnose the cause of daily neck pain are:

Nerve Conduction Study

In this process, a mild electrical current is applied to check the nerve impulses and to determine if any of your nerves are damaged.

Electromyography (EMG)

In this procedure, an electrode needle is inserted into muscles to check for electrical activity. This checks for any damaged nerves that are linked to the muscles.

Blood Tests

The tests are done to detect infection or inflammation markers to help determine the factors that could be causing your daily neck pain.

Depending on the testing results and whether there is an obvious cause for your daily neck pain, your doctor may recommend various medications to mask the pain.

In addition to anti-inflammatory medications and/or acetaminophen, these medications may include steroid injections, tricyclic antidepressants, or muscle relaxants, to name but a few.

These medications may help in the short term. Still, they do not fix the underlying issue, so we would always recommend that you try a physical therapist before resorting to long-term use of medication for chronic daily neck pain.

How Physical Therapy Fixes Daily Neck Pain

woman receiving physical therapy for her neck pain

It is proven that physical therapy is one of the best ways to treat chronic daily neck pain.

Because, when there is no other obvious cause, such as bone degeneration or spondylosis, chronic muscle tension because of stress is usually the cause of this type of pain. It responds very well to physical therapy.

But even if your pain is due to a medical condition like arthritis or an old injury, physical therapy can help you minimize the symptoms and improve your mobility.

Our specific treatment plan for your chronic neck pain will depend on the underlying (root) cause of the pain, which is always the first step in physical therapy treatment.

But the overarching objective of physical therapy is to restore functionality and reduce pain.

So we guide you through a tailor-made exercise routine to stretch and strengthen your neck muscles and use hands-on therapy and joint and muscle manipulation to correct and improve your postural alignment.

All of which makes a big difference in reducing the frequency and severity of daily neck pain. After a few targeted sessions, we hope to eliminate it altogether.

Some of the other treatments that we may use to resolve your daily back pain are:

TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation)

Mild electrical impulses are delivered via the skin to help to reduce pain in the neck.

Traction

In this process, we use a specialized device to gently stretch the neck muscles, which treats any nerve root irritation that could be the reason for your pain.

One of the other objectives of physical therapy, instead of relying on medication to mask the pain, is to help you avoid dangerous spinal surgery.

Surgery to the spine to repair pinched or damaged nerves or fused vertebrae should also be a last resort.

So, don’t worry. In most cases, physical therapy alone is enough to fix daily neck pain, and our patients never require surgery.

But if you’re suffering from annoying, daily neck pain now, it’s important to seek help and fix the underlying issue before things get worse.

If left untreated, neck and shoulder pain can be serious. Neck pain can also be a warning sign that you need to take better care of your body before others arise in the future.

Time To Act

man receiving physical therapy for his neck pain

We recommend you book a consultation right away to talk with one of our physical therapists about your neck issues.

Don’t worry if you’ve been let down by physical therapists before. At Intecore Physical Therapy, we have successfully treated neck pain patients for over two decades.

We take time to listen to you and find the root cause. We also teach you how to prevent neck pain, so you never suffer from it again.

Book your FREE consultation now.

Andrew Vertson
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