Pain in the cervical spine — causes and treatment
What can cause pain in the cervical spine?
Almost every adult at least once faced with such unpleasant phenomena, as pain in the cervical spine. The spine consists of vertebrae (more fragile than in other departments), intervertebral disc and specifically placed on the joints, which provide the vital motor abilities.
The neck performs a number of necessary functions – protects spinal cord, supports the head and also provides her the ability to turn in different directions and fixed in a certain position.
Neck pain can be throbbing, pulling, shooting, tingling. As a rule, their intensity increases even with a slight movement or muscle tension. Often, such a pain in the neck and head accompanied by numbness of the hands, darkening of the eyes, dizziness, tinnitus.
The nature of localization are:
- the cervicalgia is pain that is centered only in the neck;
- cervicobrachialgia – pain that radiates to the head;
- the cervicobrachialgia – pain that radiates to the arm.
The main causes of pain
Usually neck pain is associated with mechanical problems in this area, but they can also indicate the presence of inflammatory processes, infections, or cancer. The following causes of neck pain:
Injuries and ligament damage
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Most often such injuries the patient receives during traffic accidents or during sports or production activities. Also such injuries occur when falling on the face of elderly people or in people with diseases that reduce the bone system.
The most common ones are the extensor injuries of the cervical. For this kind of damage is characterized by the following symptoms:
- muscle tension;
- increasing pain in the anterior neck;
- disorder of mobility;
- the patient may tilt his head to the side opposite damaged.
Ligament damage often occur as a result of sudden uncoordinated movement, which is accompanied by muscle tension. In this case the patient has pain of varying intensity. When you turn the neck pain increases. Also marked swelling of the soft tissues.
The presence of inflammatory-degenerative diseases
Osteochondrosis is a disease of the spine in which there is degeneration of the intervertebral disc and the gradual ossification of cartilage. There are many reasons for the development of this disease is a hereditary predisposition, age-related changes, trauma, and poor nutrition and sedentary lifestyle, frequent hypothermia, constant physical activity, etc.
Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine patients have pain in the neck, radiating to the head, shoulder or arm. The patient complains of flashing «flies» before the eyes, unbearable headaches pulsating nature and dizziness.
A complication of cervical osteochondrosis may be intervertebral hernia. In this disease pain in the neck, often weakly expressed, while other symptoms – numbness of fingers upper extremities, pain in the shoulders manifested strongly enough. The clinical picture is completed by headache, changes in blood pressure, dizziness, pain in the scapula.
Pain in the cervical can cause a disease such as spondylosis – a disease that is characterized by the growth of bone spurs along the edges of the vertebral bodies. This pathology develops due to degenerative disc disease, various injuries, inflammation of joints, and long loads. The main symptoms are:
- the limited mobility of the neck;
- discomfort when turning the head»:
- severe pain in the neck and in the back of the head, shoulders, ears, and eyes;
- the crunch in the neck;
- numbness and tingling in the fingers;
Spasms of the neck muscles
Are caused by sudden movements that are creating undue pressure in the cervical spine, circulation. Spasms can occur as a result of insufficient intake of nutrients – calcium, sodium, magnesium, potassium, b vitamins For this pathology the characteristic feature is severe pain and swelling in the neck, and sudden muscle contraction.
The presence of tumors – sarcoma, hemangioma, osteoblastoclastoma
Spinal tumors are rare and, in most cases, specific reasons for their development is unknown. Among the risk factors for such diseases secrete heredity, injuries of the spine, a history of chronic spine disease and adverse environmental conditions. Characteristic symptoms of cancer:
- pain, increasing with the growth of tumors. Such pain is very difficult and short, cropped medicines are not at rest, moreover, are intensified at night and during sudden movements;
- reduced sensitivity;
- muscle weakness;
- violation of cerebral circulation, which is manifested by darkening of the eyes, tinnitus, dizziness and fainting, headaches, nausea.
Pain occurring in the neck and radiating to the shoulder or sternum and is accompanied by shortness of breath, arrhythmia, increase in blood pressure may indicate a myocardial infarction.
For various injuries of the ribs and sternum, as well as tuberculosis, asthma, pneumonia, cystic fibrosis, lung tumors may develop pneumothorax (entry of air in pleural area), which may also indicate pain in the neck and in the blades.
Pain in the cervical spine and difficulty in bending and turning the head cause diseases such as meningitis, cervical abscess, lymphadenitis, tinea, ankylosing spondylitis.
One of such diseases is rheumatoid arthritis that affects the vertebral joints of the cervical. While pain accompanied by limited mobility of the neck and stiffness in this area.
Elderly people may threaten the rheumatic polimialgia, with pain in the neck and stiffness in shoulder area occur very rapidly.
However, it is not always pain in the cervical spine indicate the presence of any serious disease. Very often cause them to become prolonged static position, or excessive stress or hypothermia or banal drafts.
How to remove pain and stiffness
As mentioned above, spending long periods in one position and excessive loads will result in blood circulation disorders in the cervical spine and, as a consequence, the occurrence of pain. Daily exercises is the best prevention for cervical spine. As a preventative, and pain in the neck, we recommend the following exercises:
- to sit on a chair or on the floor cross-legged. Try to suck in your stomach and straighten your back, stretch the crown up to the ceiling, i.e. straighten the neck. Do a slow exhale and slightly bend your head forward, then slowly exhale and return to starting position. This exercise helps to remove the compression of vertebral disks and a pinched nerve roots;
- same initial position. Slowly and very gently rotate the head to one side, trying to look over his shoulder and a couple of seconds to stay in this position. Slowly turn your head back. Repeat for the other side. The purpose of this exercise is to improve mobility of the cervical vertebrae;
- same initial position. To push the head forward as far as possible, the chin should be parallel to the floor. Then push the head back of the head backward, until it stops.
All exercises to perform about eight times, it is important that the back remain straight. This complex is suitable to run at home and in the office.
For the relief of pain the doctor may prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, analgesics, muscle relaxants and sedatives. Severe pain used steroid injections.
It is important to remember that all drugs should be consumed only after meal to avoid their devastating effects on the gastric mucosa.
Can be effective the rubbing of different body balms and ointments, and in some cases – applying cold compresses. These lotions and packs can be prepared on the basis of medicinal plants – elderberry, nettle, mother and stepmother, chamomile, horsetail.
Part of a comprehensive therapy should also include physiotherapy and manual therapy – massage, hirudotherapy, acupuncture, vacuum therapy.
The application of these methods will help to effectively remove inflammation, increase circulation and relax muscles.
If you experience pain in the cervical spine, you should seek help to the doctors in the following specialties: