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Patient Education

Types of Neck Pain

Types of Neck Pain

Neck pain is an ailment that majority of people experience at some point in their life. A significant number of these cases can be treated without necessitating surgery. However, the presence of certain symptoms like acute stiffness in the neck, weakness in the arms, and headache does warrant immediate medical attention.

Many people tend to ignore these symptoms and blame stress and irregular work hours for lingering pain in the neck. At times, neck pain can also result from injuries to the shoulder or the thoracic region or due to gradual strain build-up because of sudden movements or overuse.

Here’s a closer look at the types of neck pain and their symptoms:

Acute Neck Pain
Acute neck pain is caused by muscle strain or sprain in one of the ligaments. Traumatic incidents like falls, car accidents or sleeping in the wrong posture can cause this type of neck pain. Acute neck pain usually lasts for several days or weeks and can be diagnosed by the presence of a number of symptoms like stiffness, numbness and limited mobility in the neck muscles. If you are experiencing acute neck pain, consult a physiotherapist (PT) immediately to effectively evaluate its progression and begin its treatment.

Chronic Neck Pain
Chronic neck pain is a lingering pain that lasts for a period of time exceeding a month. This pain can develop due to numerous causes. Few examples of chronic pain and their symptoms are:

  •     Neck Pain That Radiates Down The Arm - This type of neck pain originates from a cervical herniated disc or foraminal stenosis that further progresses down your entire arm or hand. It can be treated with regular physiotherapy along with a Specialist(Orthopedic Specialist)
  •     Fluctuating Neck Pain That Persists For a Long Time - This type of pain usually arises due to sleeping in the wrong posture. The pain keeps fluctuating and is often characterized by a low-level distress in the cervical muscles.

Degenerated Disc Disease
Degenerated disc disease is a progressive condition that can trigger neck pain along with other symptoms like muscles spasms, tingling in the arms, and altered sensations in fingers. However, these symptoms vary from patient to patient as they depend on the vertebra that has been affected. If a degenerated disc disease is not treated timely, it can lead to further problems like arthritis. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms, consult a physiotherapy expert today. This is because a lack of treatment can further worsen the condition leading to surgery.

Mechanical Neck Pain
Mechanical neck pain is caused by wear and tear of certain parts of the neck. Similar to the abrasion of a machine, this type of pain is a result of degenerative changes in the disc. With the gradual collapse of the disc, the space between different vertebrae narrows resulting in inflammation of the facet joints. Mechanical pain usually develops in the neck and if not treated timely it can later spread to the upper and lower back.

Irrespective of the causes, chronic neck pain can have an adverse effect on the quality of your life and prevent you from easily performing everyday tasks like reading and typing. To prevent neck related issues, seek medical attention from a Physical Therapist as soon as you can.