By: Coco Ang, PT
Neck pain is one of the most common medical conditions in Canada. In fact, chronic pain prevalence in Canadian adults over the age of 18 years stands at almost 19%. Half of these patients of chronic pain reported having suffered for 10 years or more.
Most people suffer from neck pain due to an incorrect posture or wearing themselves out on a mechanical basis. Although acute neck pain may settle in a few days—or weeks, at most—it may turn into chronic neck pain if left unattended.
When Should You Get It Checked?
As a rule of thumb, there are three general red flags you should watch out for when it comes to neck pain.
Neck pain that has remained persistent for more than 10 days with no indication of improvement should definitely be assessed by a medical professional. An inability to flex the neck alongside a fever should prompt an immediate visit to your doctor as this can be a sign of meningitis.
What Causes Neck Pains In The First Place?
Neck pain can be caused due to a multitude of reasons. One of the most common reasons for neck pain in adults today is the usage of smartphones and how they are held and used.
According to a study published in The Spine Journal, herniated disks and alignment problems in young patients is linked back to the way smartphones are held while texting.
Of course, age is also one of the major factors behind neck and back aches since the vertebrae and discs degenerate as we age.
Bad sleeping positions, such as the ones that result in a stiffness in shoulders, neck and back after waking up, are also a major reason why people experience persistent neck aches.
In other cases, the pain can simply be occurring due to bad posture while sitting, standing and even walking! A posture in which the neck is held out of alignment for an extensive period can cause the neck muscles to be strained and hence hurt.
Last and most importantly, neck pain can occur due to stress and anxiety. Even though stress is the body’s natural defense against situations of danger, it ultimately causes the muscles in our body to tense, thereby increasing our chances for experiencing body aches and pains.
How Can You Take Care Of It?
It goes without saying that correcting your posture and reducing the amount of stress in your life by better prioritizing and managing your tasks can help enormously when it comes to alleviating neck pain.
Sometimes, OTC pain relievers may also be helpful, as are heating pads, warm baths and neck massages.
However, if the pain is getting unbearable, don’t ignore it. Seek help immediately.
Sports & Exercise Medicine Institute clinics are greater Toronto area based Sports medicine, physiotherapy and massage therapy clinics that offer a wide range of services such as sports medicine physicians, acupuncturists, chiropractors and more. To learn more about us, get in touch with us by calling at 1-844-223-7364. Our services are offered in the greater Toronto area at Sheppard, St. Clair and Thornhill.