Neck Pain

Neck Pain

Your neck is a delicate structure made up of vertebrae and soft tissues that extend from the head to the upper torso. The muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones of your neck support your head weight and allow for smooth motion. Any injury, abnormalities, and inflammation can cause neck pain or stiffness.

A majority of people experience stiffness of the neck or neck pain occasionally. In many cases, it is secondary to poor posture or overuse. Sometimes, an injury may be caused by a fall, muscle strains, worn joints, nerve compression, whiplash, or contact sports. Most of the time, neck stiffness and pain is not a serious condition and can be managed conservatively with simple home remedies. But in some cases, these symptoms can be due to a severe injury or illness that requires proper medical care.


Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Pain that’s often getting worse by holding your neck in one place for long periods, such as when bending your neck, working at a computer, or driving
  • Decreased ability to move your head
  • Muscle tightness and spasms
  • Mild to moderate headache
  • Swollen glands
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Trouble swallowing or breathing
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Numbness or tingling sensations

Treatment Options

The most types of mild to moderate neck stiffness and pain usually respond well to self-care and home remedies within two or three weeks. However, if your symptoms persist, your doctor might recommend other treatment options that may include;

Non-Surgical options

  • Medications – Your doctor might prescribe OTC or prescription pain medicine and muscle relaxants to relieve pain and ease stiffness.
  • Physical therapy – Physical therapists can teach you correct posture techniques and neck-strengthening exercises to subside symptoms. He can use heat, ice, and electrical stimulation to help ease your pain and prevent a recurrence.
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) – This is also called electric massage. Electrodes are placed on your skin near the affected areas to deliver tiny electrical signals that may relieve pain.
  • Short-term immobilization – It is achieved by a soft collar that supports your neck. Immobilization may help relieve neck pain by taking pressure off the soft tissues in your neck.
  • Steroid injections – Your doctor might inject steroid injections near the nerve roots of the affected cervical spine or into the neck muscles to help with the pain.

Surgical Options

Surgical intervention is rarely needed for neck pain. However, it might be an option for relieving spinal cord compression or relieving nerve root pain. The options include;

  • Anterior cervical discectomy – This procedure involves removing bony spurs or herniated discs through a small incision in the front of the neck.
  • Laminectomy – This procedure is used to remove the laminae to relieve the pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.
  • Laminoplasty – It involves the reconstruction of the affected vertebral laminae to create more room for the spinal cord.
  • Cervical spinal fusion – Two adjacent vertebrae that are gliding and causing pain – are joined together through this procedure. It reduces mobility and hence relieves pain and inflammation.

Dr Ayman Eissa

Ayman is a Consultant in Anaesthesia and Pain Medicine at Sheffield Children’s Hospital and is also a specialist in the management of chronic pain in adults.

01709 464200 




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