Why Persistent Neck Pain Should Always Be Checked By a Doctor

neck pain, strain, nerve compression, disease

Neck pain is common, and most of the time it resolves on its own. However, if you have neck pain that lasts for days or weeks, you may have an underlying condition.

Neck pain can be caused by an injury, poor posture, normal wear and tear on your body, or even sleeping wrong. The anatomy of your cervical spine — the technical name for your neck — includes vertebrae, discs between those vertebrae, joints called facet joints, and nerves.

Neck pain can be caused by problems with your joints, the discs, your nerves being compressed, or the muscles and ligaments surrounding those structures. If your neck hurts, the first things you should try are resting, using ice at first, then alternating between heat and ice.

Neck strain

The most common neck problem is muscle strain. Looking at your phone for too long, poor posture, or any number of other things can strain the muscles of your neck. Luckily, this most common cause of neck pain usually resolves quickly.

You may not be aware of what’s causing the strain, though, and in that case, you may repeatedly strain your neck muscles. Our staff can help you pinpoint the source of your neck strain and give you suggestions for correcting the problem.

Wear and tear

Like all the other joints in your body, your cervical facet joints are prone to wear and tear. Your head weighs anywhere from eight to 11 pounds, and your cervical spine holds and moves that weight all the time.

Your persistent neck pain could be due to osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, in which the cushioning between the bones of your joints begin to deteriorate.

Nerve compression

Several different situations can cause nerve compression in your neck. If you have osteoarthritis, you may have bone spurs, which can narrow the passageway your nerves run through. That narrowing can lead to compression and cause pain.

The discs between your vertebrae can bulge or rupture and press on your nerves. If your pain is radiating, tingling, causes numbness or weakness, you may be experiencing nerve compression.

Diseases

Persistent neck pain can be a symptom of several more serious conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis, or some cancers.

If you’ve been dealing with persistent neck pain that is just not getting better, you should have it checked out by one of the doctors at Apex Medical Center. If it’s a more serious problem, we can suggest a treatment plan, and if it’s something like repeated neck strain we can help you identify what’s causing it and help you correct it. In either case, we can offer you strategies for dealing with the pain.

Book your appointment using our convenient online scheduling tool any time, or give us a call during regular business hours. We’ll be happy to discuss your specific circumstances and begin investigating the cause of your ongoing pain.

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