Dr. Dan Albright, an orthopedic surgeon in Raleigh, North Carolina discusses neck pain. When is it serious? When should you see a doctor? How to tell if it is a pinched nerve or not. What you can do if it is just simple neck pain. Watch the video for more information.
For more information, Contact Dr. Dan Albright at 919-863-6808.
Detailed Summary of Video:
Dr. Dan Albright is an orthopedic surgeon in Raleigh, North Carolina focused specifically on spine surgery.
Have you ever asked: Why do I hurt in my neck? What causes those types of problems? The answer is usually muscular pain or pain related to arthritis (depending on your age). If you’re twenty, you’re are not going to have any arthritis in your neck (usually), but as you get older through your forties, fifties, sixties, arthritis becomes very common.
Muscular pain or myofascial pain is a common cause for this type of pain. That includes muscle strain, tendinitis, bursitis and then again arthritis.
When looking at the neck we see the bones (vertebrae) look like hard blocks. Then between the blocks are the discs. The discs are like tires – rubber, doughy, supple tires. Similar to a jelly doughnut which has a fibrous outer part and a jelly inner part.
The discs are the key to understanding the pain. With aging these soft discs dry out and then flatten. As the discs flatten, the bones (or blocks) shift a little bit. As they shift you get bone spurs which can pinch a nerve and this causes pain. As we age it is very common for the discs to dry out in the neck and the lower back resulting in pinched nerves.
A pinched nerve can start as neck pain but then the pain radiates to the shoulder blade, then the shoulder, and down the arm. That’s a big difference from just neck pain. That’s really
something to know, if you have pain shooting from your neck into your arm – that’s way more serious. If you just have neck pain that stays in the neck – that’s much less serious.
The focus for the rest of this article is on neck pain not nerve pain. So, what do you do about neck pain? Usually this type of pain will remedy itself. Give it a few weeks – up to a month and then if it’s not getting better – go to your doctor or your orthopedic surgeon.
In general with this type of less serious neck pain ergonomics matters. How do you watch television? How do you sit at a computer? How do you sit in the car? If you are in one position too long (for several hours) you will get muscle strain. So the remedy is to get up, move around, adjust your posture. Don’t stay hunched over in one position for long periods of time.
Exercise is good. Exercise loosens your muscles. A lot of people when stressed get tension in their neck and shoulders. This can be from mental stress or physical stress – exercise helps reduce stress. Swimming, biking, weights and any of these activities is good. You can try taking Ibuprofen, Aleve or aspirin. These are anti-inflammatories. Tylenol helps some people even though it is not an anti-inflammatory.
A Chiropractor sometimes is helpful. Limited visits with a gentle chiropractor can help. It should not hurt to go to the chiropractor. Physical therapy can help. A physical therapist can teach you strengthening exercises, core strengthening, and review good habits to avoid neck & shoulder strain.
Trying some of these methods can help, but if you have no relief after about a month, go see your doctor or orthopedists. They will be able to tell you if something else is going on beyond simple neck pain.