About one-third of American adults suffers from neck stiffness and neck pain. The majority of the time neck pain isn’t dangerous. However, in certain instances, the pain could indicate something more serious, or even life-threatening. It is crucial to know the warning signs to determine when it is time to seek medical treatment.
The majority of instances of neck pain can be categorized as neck strains or sprains. These injuries can be caused by circumstances like sleeping in the wrong posture or sitting for long periods of time without correct posture, or carrying weighty objects, or “tech neck” that is caused by hunching your head and shoulders all day on cell phones or other electronic devices.
The majority of cases recover on their own by using at-home remedies, for example, ice or heating as well as stretching, massage anti-inflammatory drugs, and analgesics. Also, it is important to practice correct posture. Although neck sprains should not considered to be serious injuries I recommend that you consult an expert if the discomfort persists for more than three in a period of four to five weeks. The doctor can prescribe treatments such as medication such as steroid injections, physical therapy to help in with healing.
However when pain persists, and is not accompanied by other signs could be a sign of something more serious and warrant urgent medical treatment. In some cases neck pain could indicate medical issues that are underlying that include meningitis, cancer, stroke and infection, autoimmune diseases or vertebral fractures. Knowing what symptoms to look for can help you determine if it’s time to talk to your doctor, or in the case of extreme cases, go to an emergency department.
Experts suggest that you seek medical treatment for neck pain if you experience any of the following conditions:
The pain is intense, doesn’t improve or get worse even after self-care
* The pain persists for a few weeks
* Chronic pain is associated when you experience one or more of the red flags – suddenweight loss that is not explained unproven fever and chills sensation of pain from gentle tapping on the spine abruptly intense or persistent (persistent) headaches; numbness or tingling sensation that radiates down the legs and arms or legs; unproved drowsiness, confusion or mood swings. You are older than 55 or younger than 20 years old; or have a family history of cancer.
Although having the three scenarios above isn’t a guarantee that your condition is that is more severe, it signals that it’s the right time to see your doctor.
Be aware that there are emergency situations that require you to call 911 or go to your emergency room if you suffer from severe neck pain that is related to:
* Serious car accident or sports injury or any other traumatizing event even if you were in a position to leave in the aftermath of the incident
• Fever, and the inability turn head inwards, which are indications of meningitis.
A loss in muscle strength or control over the extremity or one of them.
The loss of bladder control or the control of bowels
* Unable to sleep due to intense pain.
Being aware of and paying attention to these warning signs allows you to seek medical attention whenever you require it, and also help avoid anxiety about common strains you might allow a few days to heal themselves.
Dr. Matthew Levy writes about orthopedics in The Cleveland Jewish News. Levy is an orthopaedic surgeon in Crystal Clinic Orthopaedic Center and has clinics his practice in Solon, Independence and Warren.
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