Today’s modern living often entails hours of driving and hunching over workstations, which can play havoc with our necks and cause severe neck pain.
Common causes of severe neck pain:
Probably the most publicised cause of severe neck pain is “whiplash”, the injury caused most often in car accidents when a sudden stop causes the head to continue in the direction of travel and then rebound in a whip-like motion. In severe cases, joints between the vertebrae, discs and ligaments are affected by this trauma, with very painful results.
- Getting Older:
Degenerative problems affecting the spine as a whole and the neck in particular, seem to increase with the number of birthdays we have had! The wear and tear of daily living has had longer to accumulate.
- Tension and Stress:
Emotional stress can also cause muscle tension resulting in pain and stiffness.
- Degenerative Disease:
In the neck, the range of motion is affected by Osteoarthritis of the joints between the vertebrae. The discs can become thinner and less flexible and can bulge out of line causing numbness, tingling and arm pain. Stenosiscan result in pain and numbness in the neck as well as the shoulders and arms as it causes narrowing of nerve passageways, leading to pressure on nerve roots.
What Causes severe neck pain?
Severe neck pain is often caused by old injuries that caused fixations in your neck, often unknown to you. It has now been proved that these fixations slowly but surely lead to arthritis in the neck, causing stiffness, pain and perhaps tingling in the arm, long after the injury has been forgotten. Why? Because they starve the joints of vital nutrients.
When severe neck pain is caused by muscle strain, you may have aches and stiffness that spread to the upper arm and forearm.
Shooting pain that spreads down the arm into the hand and fingers can be a symptom of a ‘pinched nerve’ or nerve entrapment in the neck. When a nerve is ‘pinched’ in the neck, numbness, weakness and possibly pain of the hands or arms may occur.
Disc injuries are rare but it is the most common cause of nerve entrapments.
Dangers of Drugs for severe neck pain treatment
Millions of Australians depend on anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve pain, but the drugs are among the most dangerous on the market. Aside from significantly increasing your heart risks (such as a two to fourfold increase in the risk of heart attacks, stroke or cardiovascular death), NSAIDs are linked to serious gastrointestinal risks like bleeding of the digestive tract, increased blood pressure and kidney problems. Remember, this applies not only to prescription medications like Celebrex but also to over-the-counter drugs like aspirin, Advil and Motrin.
It’s very difficult to find a drug-based method of pain relief that is not saddled with severe side effects. The FDA has even recently limited the amount of acetaminophen allowed in prescription products and added a boxed warning due to liver toxicity concerns. Acetaminophen is actually the leading cause of acute liver failure in the United States.
As for the opioid painkillers like OxyContin, they are among the most commonly abused prescription drugs and are a leading contributor to the rising rates of fatal prescription drug overdoses. Many become addicted after using them to treat conditions like back or neck pain.
But no matter what type of painkiller you choose, the bottom line to remember is that they do not come without risks! Unfortunately, if you visit your conventional doctor with severe neck pain, a long-term treatment plan will typically include a drug-combination approach, using anti-inflammatory drugs, anti-seizure medications, muscle relaxants and possibly other types of pain medication as well. In other words, the answer for pain relief is drugs, drugs and more drugs — each one raising your risk of suffering potentially lethal side effects.
Powerful drugs can numb your nervous system so the pain doesn’t register. While these approaches may be convenient, they can cause adverse effects and kidney or liver damage. Worse, they don’t correct the underlying cause of the headache.
How to Relieve severe neck pain Naturally:
- Cold Therapy:
Ice/Cool compresses is particularly good for the first couple of days. Ice/Cool compresses will help alleviate any swelling. Apply ice/cool compress 10mins on the affected (painful area) and 10 mins off (to allow the affected area not to get too cold) and you can repeat the process 3 times within 1 hour and twice within the first 2days.
- Neck strengthening EXERCISES and STRETCHES
that not only helps your cervical (neck) Spine pain but also improve your physical conditioning and your over all health.
- Chiropractic Care
Chiropractic works by opening stuck joints, returning movement to the spine, and removing any nerve impingement that might be happening. If a disc herniation is involved, chiropractic is a natural way to provide a long-term solution. Chiropractic gets to the source of the problem, not just addressing the symptoms but finding the area of dysfunction and returning it normal physiology—in other words, making the area work the way it’s supposed to.When function returns, pain goes away. But mind you, getting rid of pain is not the only name of the game as far as chiropractic is concerned; return to function is the real goal, because when function returns, pain goes away on its own. Pain is nothing more than a warning signal telling you when something is wrong. Shutting off the alarm instead of investigating what is causing the alarm to go off only sets you up for a recurring problem. Once found, the solution can then be applied.
Data was collected directly from chiropractic neck pain treatment patients in a very large study after 28,807 neck pain treatments in order to find out whether there was worsening of symptoms, and what beneficial effect the treatment had. JMPT March 2008
Researcher discovered: The presenting symptoms were “neck pain,” “shoulder, arm pain,” “reduced neck, shoulder, arm movement, stiffness,” “headache,” “upper, mid back pain.” If patients had one of these symptoms, 70% responded that they experienced immediate relief after chiropractic treatment. If four of these symptoms were present, then 95% stated that they had immediate relief.
With regard to immediate worsening, 4.4% stated that they felt worse.
There were no serious side effects after any of these neck pain treatment. Any worsening was of a very temporary nature.
New Study Shows Exercises and Chiropractic Care Beat Drugs for Neck Pain
According to a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine and funded by the National Institutes of Health, medication is not the best option for treating neck pain.
After following 272 neck-pain patients for 12 weeks, those who used a chiropractor or exercise were more than twice as likely to be pain free compared to those who took medication.
• 32 percent who received chiropractic care became pain free
• 30 percent of those who exercised became pain free
• 13 percent of those treated with medication became pain free
“For participants with acute and subacute neck pain, SMT [spinal manipulation therapy] was more effective than medication in both the short and long term. However, a few instructional sessions of HEA [home exercise with advice] resulted in similar outcomes at most time points.”