Unfortunately, everyone is going to develop a form of neck pain at some point in their lives. It could be one of two kinds of pain: situational/environmental neck pain or chronic neck pain. In order to get a proper understanding of what kind of pain you’re experiencing, I highly recommend that you get checked by a qualified healthcare provider for a diagnosis. Once we’re aware of exactly what the problem is, we can start to develop recommendations and a treatment plan to get you feeling better.
Situational/Environmental Neck Pain
Situational/environmental neck pain is nonspecific, meaning that it’s likely related to an acute event or something that you do. You could sleep in an awkward position one night and wake up with this kind of pain the next morning. In terms of the environment, it could be a result of sitting at a desk for an extended period. Maybe you play a round of golf one day and tweak your neck a bit.
This kind of localized neck pain might resolve itself within a few hours or a couple of days. If the pain persists longer than 48 hours, it’s a good idea to come in and get it looked at to make sure it’s nothing more serious.
Treating Situational/Environmental Neck Pain
- Ice/heat are good frontline defenses. Ice helps to decrease the inflammation.
- Rest the area while staying as active as possible.
- Perform some simple stretching exercises. Chiropractors/physical therapists can recommend some gentle, effective stretches and cervical exercises.
- Take an over the counter anti-inflammatory (e.g., Advil or Aleve) to manage inflammation.
- Manual therapy, chiropractic, clinical massage, and similar treatment options may provide relief.
Chronic Neck Pain
Just like the name indicates, chronic neck pain is longer lasting. Unfortunately, the underlying problem may be something more serious. It could be a result of degeneration, arthritis, disc bulges/herniation, or disc disease. Chronic conditions are often exacerbated by situational/environmental causes as well. You might be going along with your daily life until you have an episode and the problem flares up again. These recurring problems should definitely be checked so you can get a proper diagnosis.
Treating Chronic Neck Pain
- Exercises and advanced rehabilitation with stretching, chiropractic, and physical therapy are good options.
- Heat/ice are fine for pain management, but it’s crucial to develop a game plan to give a longer lasting effect that will hopefully resolve the cause of the problem.
If you’re experiencing neck pain and want effective tools to manage your condition, contact us online or give us a call at (918) 743-3737.