What are the Neck Pain symptoms of NOTE: This information sheet is for your pharmacological measures and physical therapy general information and is not a substitute exercises. Ice or heat applications to the base neck pain? for medical advice. You should contact your of the neck and upper back can provide physician or other healthcare provider with temporary relief of pain and muscle spasm. any questions about your health, treatment • Pain relief. Paracetomol or a non-steroidal or care. anti-inflammatory medication may be helpful to relieve mild to moderate neck The muscles and joints of the cervical spine pain. • Ice. Ice should be applied directly to the (neck) facilitate the movements of the head. muscles of the neck that are in spasm. The Any problem of the muscles and structures ice must be left in place for 15 to 20 minutes that form the joints of the neck, will lead to to deeply penetrate the tissues. Treatment pain and restriction of movement. is repeated every four to six hours until symptoms improve. What are the symptoms of neck pain? • Heat and massage. Heat should be applied Pain may be experienced along the posterior to the neck muscles prior to performing aspect of the neck but may also be experienced the stretching exercises described below. as tension headaches, thoracic back pain and A shower, hot bath or a moist towel shoulder pain. More advanced conditions may warmed in a microwave and applied for 10 affect the spinal nerves that exit the neck and to 15 minutes are all effective. Massage is travel down the arm. Irritation of one of these helpful if you continue to have muscle nerves can cause pain and numbness in the spasms for more than one to two weeks. lower arm and hand (pinched nerve or • Stretching exercises (please confirm with radiculopathy). your doctor if you should do these and which of the exercises are relevant to your Neck pain is commonly associated with dull condition). The range of motion of the neck aching. Sometimes pain in the neck is worsened must be restored and preserved after an with movement of the neck. Other symptoms injury. Perform stretching exercises as soon associated with some forms of neck pain include as the acute symptoms have been numbness, tingling, tenderness, sharp, shooting controlled. Patients with rheumatoid pain, fullness, difficulty swallowing, pulsations, arthritis must not do neck-bending swishing sounds in the head, dizziness or light- exercises unless advised to do so by a headedness and gland swelling. doctor. Perform these in the morning to relieve stiffness and once again at night What are the causes of neck pain? before going to bed. Expect mild, achy muscle pain but not sharp or electric pain. The causes of neck pain include: Do not attempt to perform these exercises • A herniated disc. The inner gelatine-like if you have a pinched nerve in your neck core of the disc or the disc itself may (with pain and numbness into the arm and rupture. hand) unless recommended by your doctor. • Degenerative changes. Arthritis associated • Reduce stress. Emotional stress can with the cervical spine. increase neck tension and interfere with or • Pinched nerve. Pressure on a nerve exiting delay the recovery process. Try to eliminate the spinal column. The condition is known stress as much as possible by placing non- as cervical radiculopathy. urgent jobs on hold, obtaining counselling • Whiplash neck injury. This follows a sudden, for major life stresses and seeking support unexpected forward/backward thrust of from family, friends or healthcare providers. the head and neck, typically occurring in • Posture. The preferred activities and body motor vehicle accidents. positions emphasise neutral neck position • Muscular strain. and a minimum of tension across the supporting muscles and ligaments of the How is cervical neck pain neck. Extremes of range of motion, treated? activities and body positions that cause Acute therapy for axial neck pain constant tension must be minimised or syndrome includes postural modification, avoided. Other forms of treatment depend on the response to the conservative treatment strategy may be required or you may appropriate therapy. A follow-up with your doctor should be referred to a neurosurgeon or orthopaedic surgeon, take place between four to six weeks unless there has been depending on the cause. substantial worsening of the pain or the development of new symptoms, which would then necessitate an earlier visit References: to your doctor. Further treatment would depend on the www.Uptodate.com findings of the investigations. A more comprehensive www.Medicinenet.com INFORMATION TO KEEP AT HAND FOR THE SPINAL PROGRAMME The purpose of the following table is to record your condition-specific measures. Please read through it carefully and record the requested data, providing as detailed and correct input as possible. One of our case managers may call you and request this information to record it on our system. This will assist us in observing the patterns of your condition, identifying serious changes and allowing us to give you feedback and personalised information pertaining to your condition. If you are unsure about the information requested in the table, please do not hesitate to ask one of our case managers to explain it to you. DATE EMERGENCY HOSPITAL RED YELLOW NECK DISABILTY NOTES ROOM ADMISSION FLAGS* FLAGS** INDEX SCORE*** ADMISSION * Red flags are indicators of increased risk of serious anxiety and stress), as well as problems and/or back disease and pathology. Red flags include major dissatisfaction at work. It is important that you inform trauma (e.g. a vehicle accident or fall from a height), your healthcare provider if you experience any one of minor trauma or even just strenuous lifting in people these feelings. with osteoporosis. *** The Neck Disability Index Score is a useful means of ** Yellow flags are the psychological aspects of back pain measuring your difficulty in functioning due to your that delay recovery if not resolved. These include neck pain. Select from each section an option that "sickness behaviour" such as extended rest, the belief accurately describes your experience. Follow the that pain and activity are harmful, social withdrawal, instructions at the end of the table to determine your emotional problems (e.g. negative mood, depression, score. Record it in the table provided.
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