Neck pain is discomfort in any of the structures in the neck. These include muscles and nerves as well as spinal vertebrae and the cushioning disks in between.

When your neck is sore, you may have difficulty
moving it, especially to one side. Many people describe this as having a stiff neck.

If neck pain involves nerves, you may feel numbness, tingling, or weakness in your arm, hand, or elsewhere.

A common cause of neck pain is muscle strain or tension. Usually, everyday activities are to blame. Such activities include bending over a desk for hours, having poor posture while watching TV or reading, placing your computer monitor too high or too low, sleeping in an uncomfortable position, or twisting and turning the neck in a jarring manner while exercising.

Extreme accidents or falls can cause severe neck injuries like vertebral fractures, whiplash, blood vessel injury, and even paralysis.

Other causes include:

  • Other medical conditions, such as fibromyalgia
  • Cervical arthritis or spondylosis
  • Ruptured disk
  • Small fractures to the spine from osteoporosis
  • Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal)
  • Sprains
  • Infection of the spine (osteomyelitis, diskitis, abscess)
  • Cancer that involves the spine

Home Care

For minor, common causes of neck pain:

Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) or acetaminophen (Tylenol).

Apply heat or ice to the painful area. One good method is to use ice for the first 48 - 72 hours, then use heat after that. Heat may be applied with hot showers, hot compresses, or a heating pad. Do not fall asleep with a heating pad or ice bag.

Stop normal physical activity for the first few days. This helps calm your symptoms and reduce inflammation.

Perform slow range-of-motion exercises -- up and down, side to side, and from ear to ear -- to gently stretch the neck muscles.

Have a partner gently massage the sore or painful areas.

Try sleeping on a firm mattress without a pillow or with a special neck pillow.
Use a soft neck collar for a short period of time to relieve discomfort. Using one too long can make your neck muscles weaker.

You may want to reduce your activity only for the first couple of days. Then slowly resume your usual activities. Do not perform activities that involve heavy lifting or twisting of your back or neck for the first 6 weeks after the pain begins. After 2 - 3 weeks, slowly resume exercise. A physical therapist can help you decide when to begin stretching and strengthening exercises and how to do them.

Avoid the following exercises during your initial recovery, unless your doctor or physical therapist says it is okay:

  • Jogging
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Ballet
  • Weight lifting
  • Leg lifts when lying on your stomach
  • Sit-ups with straight legs (rather than bent knees)
  • When to Contact a Medical Professional

Seek immediate medical help if:

You have a fever and headache, and your neck is so stiff that you cannot touch your chin to your chest. This may be meningitis. Call your local emergency number (such as 911) or get to a hospital.
You have symptoms of a heart attack, such as shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, vomitting, or arm or jaw pain.

Treatment of Neck Pain

Type of treatment will depend on whether neck pain is caused by activities, an injury, or any other medical condition, In case of neck pain rest should be advised first.

Homeopathic treatment of neck pain – Homeopathy is one of the most popular holistic systems of medicine. The selection of remedy is based upon the theory of individualization and symptoms similarity by using holistic approach. This is the only way through which a state of complete health can be regained by removing all the sign and symptoms from which the patient is suffering. The aim of homeopathy is not only to treat neck pain but to address its underlying cause and individual susceptibility. As far as therapeutic medication is concerned, several well-proved medicines are available for neck pain treatment that can be selected on the basis of cause, location, sensation, modalities and extension of the pain. For individualized remedy selection and treatment, the patient should consult a qualified homeopathic doctor in person.

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