What is neck pain?
Neck pain and stiffness is common in people of all ages. 2 out of 3 of us will experience neck pain at some point.
Reasons for neck pain can include:
Poor sitting posture,
Unusual activity e.g painting ceiling.
Serious neck conditions are rare. Neck pain is usually as a result of stiff joints or tight muscles which do not require an investigation e.g X-ray / scan.
The good news is, making simple changes to your daily activities can have a big impact on your neck pain.
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Common problems with the neck
Dealing with neck pain
Muscle spasm is sustained and painful contraction of neck muscles. This can make the neck feel sore and tight. You may have a "stiff" neck or headaches as a result of this.
Muscle spasm can be caused by stress, injury, poor posture or overuse.
Relaxation and exercises can help ease the spasm / tension in the muscles. You can also try applying gentle heat such as a wheat bag or electric pad to the neck and shoulders to help relax the muscles. Click here to download an information sheet about heat therapy.
Numbess, tingling or pins and needles
Problems with the neck can cause pressure on the nerves and therefore numbness or pins and needles. Nerve pain can sometimes radiate pain into your arm and hand. If this pain is severe or you feel weakness of arm/hand seek help from your GP.
Try to avoid activity that increases the numbnes or pins and needles. If these symptons happen at night, try altering your sleeping position or pillow height.
If the pins and needles are only in your hand, you may benefit from wearing a wrist splint. Speak to a health professional about this.
Cervical Spondylosis / Neck Arthritis
This is age-related wear and tear in the neck. These changes are similar to those seen in osteoarthritis and take many years to develop. It is normally to have some stiffness, however you can help improve the problem by:
Keep moving and maintain good posture
Exercise your neck to stretch tight muscles and move stiff joints
Painkillers can help to reduce your muscle pain. Speak to your local pharmacist about this.
Using warmth / heat i.e wheat bag or electric pad. (Click here for further infomation)