Cervical pain (neck pain) is a sharp and very debilitating pain that interferes with daily activities and affects quality of life. They can last from a few days to several years.
neck pain is a musculoskeletal disorder that is characterized by pain in the upper part of the spine, in the vertebrae. The cervical spine is made up of seven vertebrae separated from each other by intervertebral discs. Neck pain can extend from the upper back to the neck. It can also radiate to the region of the shoulder blades, shoulders or arms. This irradiation is explained by the emergence, in the region of the neck, of many nerves which innervate the skin, the muscles, and the bones of the arms and hands.
Neck pain: what are the causes?
Unfortunately, having neck pain is very common. According to the Cleveland Clinic (American University Medical Center based in Cleveland), this pain affects 10 to 20% of adults. These causes are diverse: aging, bad sleeping positions, accidents or long hours spent in front of the computer, etc.
Dr. Zacharia Isaac, medical director of the Comprehensive Spine Care Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital Boston and director of interventional physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard University, explains that neck pain typically develops over time. : “Neck pain rarely starts overnight, it usually progresses over time. And it can be stimulated by arthritis or degenerative disc disease, and exacerbated by poor posture, decreased muscle strength, stress , and even a lack of sleep.“
Some good habits can help you relieve yourself. Harvard University shares 6 effective tips for relieving neck pain:
- Do not stay too long in the same position. It’s hard to reverse bad posture, says Dr. Isaac, but if you get up and move often enough, you’ll avoid getting your neck stuck in an unhealthy position.
- Make some ergonomic adjustments. Place your computer screen at eye level so you can see it easily. Use your phone’s hands-free function or wear headphones. Lay your tablet on a pillow so it’s placed at a 45° angle, instead of resting it flat on your lap.
- If you wear glasses, make sure they fit your vision. “When your glasses prescription is not up to date, you tend to tilt your head back to see better“, says Dr. Isaac.
- Don’t use too many pillows. Sleeping with multiple pillows under your head can stifle your neck’s range of motion.
- Know your limits. For example, before moving a large wardrobe across the room, think about what it could do to your neck and back, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
- Have a good night. Sleep problems are a trigger for pain, including musculoskeletal pain.
What is the difference between neck pain and torticollis?
Cervicalgia is a generic term, which covers several painful origins, and different pathologies. Depending on the origin of your neck pain, the manifestations of pain, and possible other symptoms, may vary. The torticollis corresponds to an involuntary muscular contraction of one of the muscles of the neck. It results in a strong pain in the neck as well as a blockage of movements.
Torticollis like cervicalgia can also be very troublesome in daily life, because the pain is sharp, and most movements of the neck are made difficult. However, it is generally a mild problem, which fades spontaneously after a few days.
Good to know : torticollis is common in newborns, it is treated in different ways.