The neck is also called the cervical spine, has the job of supporting your head and protecting your spinal cord. It consists of muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, and bones. All these are structurally arranged to permit the flexibility of the neck as well as protection. Unfortunately, the neck's flexibility also makes it susceptible to damage. Because of this, there are some movements which place either a gradual or sudden pressure on the neck, causing strain, discomfort, and a condition called cervicalgia.
The primary symptom experienced by people with cervicalgia is pain in the neck region. The pain can either feel sharp and stabbing or dull and persistent. On the other hand, the severity depends on the extent of the cervicalgia. In most cases though, the condition only causes mild discomfort. The condition is usually caused by long-term stress causing the neck and shoulder muscles to clench. If you feel this pain, you can apply an ice pack to the affected area to reduce inflammation. You can also use heat to promote healing.
Another symptom of cervicalgia is tightness of the neck, often felt whenever you move your head but not present when you relax. The tightness may remain, or it may fade away then come back each time you want to bend your neck or turn your head. It can radiate down to the upper back. Massaging the affected may help promote healing by increasing the flow of blood, but if massage is too painful, consider using a collar around your neck. This will help support your head, remove pressure from the neck, and ease tightness.
Whiplash is another common symptom of cervicalgia. This occurs when you experience a sudden jolt or ache in your neck. Usually, this happens following an injury from a contact sport or a car accident. To treat or at least relieve this symptom, you can perform some gentle neck stretches if they don't cause pain. If the pain worsens, stop immediately and consult with a medical professional.
Since the neck is the central part of the body affected by cervicalgia, most of the symptoms manifest in this region, often in the form of spasms or stiffness. Because of this, your neck movements may become impaired. Usually, cervicalgia causes pain in a confined area - the pain rarely radiates.
Some people feel a "crick in the neck" while others have more severe and debilitating symptoms. Stress is another common cause of cervicalgia, leading to tension in the neck and shoulder muscles from unconscious clenching. If the condition worsens, you may require treatment like physical therapy or even surgery.
Muscle stiffness is another symptom of cervicalgia. Aside from having a hard time moving your head, your muscles feel strained too. This usually comes from poor posture for long periods of time, with the neck held at an awkward angle. When you start feeling muscle stiffness as a result of the cervicalgia, it's best to consult with a medical expert. Chiropractors and other specialists can provide you with proper diagnosis and treatment. You may have to undergo a physical examination to determine appropriate treatment. Usually, though, simple exercises can relax stiff muscles.
Aside from stiffness, your muscles might start feeling tighter than usual, and this is a symptom of cervicalgia. If you have a crick in your neck and some muscle tightness, then you could have the condition. Although a lot of people ignore these symptoms, it's always important to pay attention to your body even for the smallest signs. Just like with muscle strain, this symptom usually comes from poor posture. Fortunately, if you suffer from a mild case of cervicalgia, there are home remedies that can help the condition. These include exercising and applying hot or cold packs.
Cervicalgia may also cause dizziness and nausea, sometimes even severe headaches. However, these symptoms are common to many conditions and might point to a more serious medical issue than cervicalgia. Since other illnesses may cause these symptoms, it's best to consult with your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
An aching or burning sensation is another symptom of cervicalgia. You might feel this symptom when you're under a lot of stress. This is one of the most common causes of cervicalgia. Over time, persistent clenching of the neck muscles will lead to overworked, exhausted, and strained muscles which will start to burn and ache. When feeling pain because of cervicalgia, over-the-counter medication such as pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs can be beneficial in managing the condition.
One uncommon symptom some people experience is night sweats, probably caused by the tightening of the muscles while you sleep, prohibiting the proper circulation of blood. When this happens, your body starts to become weaker, and as a consequence, you might experience night sweats. If such symptoms develop, seek medical attention immediately. Do the same if you start feeling shooting pains or numbness in your arms. All these symptoms could indicate a more severe problem.
In some cases, the pain might radiate from your neck to your face, giving you a jaw or a toothache. Again, it's best to seek treatment from a doctor since different treatments may be recommended depending on the cause of the condition.
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