Neck pain can happen anywhere from the bottom of your head to the top of your shoulders. It may even spread as far as your upper back or arms. It may impact the range of mobility you have when you try to move your head. Neck pain is extremely common, particularly in those over the age of 50.
Neck pain is most often caused by doing something to stress or strain the muscles in the neck. The following things can cause neck spasms, strains, or sprains:
- Bad posture
- Painting overhead
- Sleeping the wrong way
Neck pain may also occur because of an injury:
- Falling from a high place, such as a ladder
- A vehicle accident
Less common reasons for neck pain include:
- An infection in the neck
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Spinal stenosis
Symptoms of Neck Pain
Neck pain can feel like stiffness, severe pain, or a knot in the neck area. You may feel the pain in your shoulders, arms, or upper back, and you might have a headache. You may not be able to turn your head easily. If pressure is being put on the spinal nerve root, you may feel pain shooting down your arm. You may have tingling, weakness, or numbness in your arm.
Chronic neck pain may impact your day to day routine. You may even experience fatigue, anxiety, and depression.
Surgery for Neck Pain
If your neck pain is chronic and severe, your doctor may suggest having surgery to correct the problem. Before agreeing to this, it is important for you to be educated on what risks are involved in neck surgery. Any surgery performed comes with possible complications. However, those performed near the spinal cord and spine are particularly serious. Some people end up with additional an impairment, pain that is severe, and the need for more surgery. Be sure your doctor thoroughly discusses with you the risks involved before consenting to surgery. Here are some possible end results:
- Thrombophlebitis: Blood clots that develop inside the veins of the legs are called Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT). This is a common problem occurring with any type of surgery and can form in those who have not had surgery before or recently. After a person has surgery, the body is working hard to stop the bleeding. This means the body’s clotting mechanism is hyperactive. If the blood is not moving and sits in the veins, it becomes stagnant and may begin to clot. Clots stop the flow of blood back to the heart. This causes swelling and pain that can become permanent. If a part of this clot breaks loose and travels to the lungs, it can lodge in tiny vessels. This cuts off the blood supply to that part of the lung and the lung can collapse.
- Complications from anesthesia: Most surgeries require some type of anesthesia so that you are not aware of the pain from the procedure. Anesthesia can be either local or general. Local is given at the site of the surgery to numb the skin and surrounding tissue. General is given to put you to sleep completely. Your vital signs are monitored and you are kept asleep during the entire surgery. A small number of patients have problems with anesthesia.
- Infection: Any surgery comes with the risk of infection. An infection can be in the skin incision or deeper, involving the spinal cord and vertebrae. A superficial infection involves just the skin. It is easier to care for than the deeper ones. If your wound becomes hot, swollen, and won’t heal, you might have an infection. You may have a fever and chills.
- Lung problems: It is important to make sure your lungs remain healthy after surgery. When tissues heal, they need a good supply of oxygen. If your lungs are not exercised properly after surgery, you can have low oxygen levels and may even get pneumonia. In order to avoid these complications, you will need to breathe deeply and cough often. It is important to sit upright in a chair as soon as you can. If you are staying in the hospital, a respiratory therapist will help you with these things, and there is other equipment available to keep your lungs strong.
- Spinal cord injury: The nerves or the covering of the spinal cord can become injured. The spinal cord is the part of your body that allows you to control your movements. The nerve fibers branch off to form pairs of nerve roots that travel through the small openings between your vertebrae. If your spinal cord becomes damaged, paralysis may follow.
Finding Natural Relief as an Alternative to Neck Pain
Many people are seeking alternative ways to care for their neck pain. True, in some cases, neck pain leads to surgery that cannot be avoided. However, in other instances, neck pain may be due to a misalignment in one of the bones of the upper cervical spine. If either the C1 or C2 is out of alignment, it can lead to stress being put on the muscles and nerves of the neck. This can lead to neck pain.
To schedule a complimentary consultation call our Winona office at (507)452-4490.
if you are outside of the local area you can find an Upper Cervical Doctor near you at www.uppercervicalawareness.com.