How to Treat a Crick in the Neck
What is a crick in the neck?
A crick in the neck is common from a number of causes. The neck feels stiff, harder to turn, and might be associated with pain in the neck, shoulders, or arms. You may also experience a headache with these symptoms.
How long does a crick in the neck last?
Normally a stiff neck will go away naturally in a week at most, however, if not managed correctly it can turn into chronic neck pain. Or, if the cause is more serious, you may need to investigate treatment options.
What Causes Neck and Shoulder Pain
Usually neck and shoulder pain causes are benign and resolve themselves quickly. The most common cause is a muscle strain or soft tissue sprain, namely the levator scapulae muscle which is vulnerable to injury. It’s located at the back and sides of the neck, and connects the cervical spine and the shoulder.
The different ways the muscle can be strained are through sleeping in a wrong position, sports injuries, turning the head repeatedly in an activity, slouching or looking downward at a mobile phone for long periods of time, or stress / anxiety. There may be other common causes, but you can see that neck strain may occur through every day life activities.
Neck Pain in the Left Side or Right side
When the neck pain is in the left side or the right side, it can be another underlying disorder. Aside from the most common causes of neck stiffness, there are also more serious conditions which require a greater level of treatment.
Cervical Herniated Disc
A cervical herniated disc happens when the nucleus of a spinal disc in your neck bulges out and puts pressure on nerves and causes inflammation of nearby tissue and possibly muscle spasms or tightening. This can cause some neck pain, and in many cases may only be present on the left or right side of the neck.
Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease
Over time your spinal discs degenerate, though this process can be accelerated through repetitive use or injury. When the disc dehydrates with age it can cause neck pain through spinal stenosis (narrowing of spinal canals), or spondylolisthesis (which is a vertebrae slipping forward in your spine).
How to Relieve Neck Pain
Quick home remedies for neck pain causes by muscle strain are ice and heat therapy, pain medication like oral NSAIDs, or careful exercise and stretching. A professional massage therapist may also help in the case of neck muscle strain.
If the pain doesn’t subside in a week, or has more symptoms such as numbness, tingling, or weakness in the arms it may be a cervical herniated disc or degenerative disc disease. If you suspect either conditions you should see your doctor to find out what treatment options are right for you. A neurologist can help determine how severe your case is, and if an open MRI is done you can see the exact cause of your pain.
When Chronic Neck Pain Occurs
If non-invasive treatments such as physical therapy, medication, or massage don’t work and the pain persists you can explore more options. Cortisone injections can give relief at the site of pain. With more serious symptoms surgery may be a necessary step to resolve your pain and give back your quality of life.
There are non-invasive and minimally invasive options when it comes to herniated discs such as laser surgery. This type of procedure only inserts a needle at the problematic disc and decompresses it with the laser device. Laser spine surgery has a 50-70% success rate in relieving the pain for good, and is a quick outpatient process, so you have no hospital stay at all. If you have a herniated disc and need to find out how to handle your pain management you can consult with a doctor today.