Head and Neck Pain Overview
If you are a workaholic, whether at job or at home, head and neck pain may seem like a “no big deal” to you. In reality, it is! No matter how common and wide-spread head and neck pain is, it can never be normal and shouldn’t be taken so. Body discomfort, in whatever form, MUST be treated on time before the condition worsens and starts interfering your daily life and social activities.
Head and Neck Pain Causes
Mainly, head and neck pain is the consequence of stress. You must have experienced that when you’re tense or stressed out, your body muscles get stiff and rigid, leading to a throbbing headache and hurting neck. Illness may rarely be the cause of constant head and neck pain, although stress is the major cause.
Emotional or mental stress of any kind causes soreness in the head and neck. This may include stress resulting from financial loss, job worries, study, personal issues, anger or frustration etc.
Physical stress occurs when you keep your body posture incorrect while standing, sleeping, sitting, or working. You can literally strain or sprain the ligaments or muscles in your neck from a sudden movement, improper movement, or through over use.
We breathe polluted air filled with pollen, tobacco, smoke, dust etc and consume unhealthy diet including alcohol, carbs and indigestive toxins. This kind of daily intake in the form of polluted air and unhealthy foods directly targets the nervous system and body muscles, causing a hurting head and neck.
Head and Neck Pain Symptoms
Head and neck pain symptoms vary in intensity, depending on the type of ache. Here, the major symptoms of head and neck pain are listed that call for a serious action.
Headaches that appear once in a while and vanish in a few hours may be related to normal stress. But if your headaches that are constant and extend over several days, you should seek medical help.
Stiffness of the Neck and Shoulder Muscles
Neck and shoulder muscle stiffness should not be overlooked as it may be indicating a more serious condition like meningitis. If you feel fever along with the rigid neck, it’s a danger sign.
Numbness starting from the neck and radiating down the arms can happen in or around the neck and radiate down the arms. This can be caused by pinched nerves in the neck or may be indicating a more serious condition, such as heart attack.
Tingling in the Arm and Hands
Again, pinched neck nerves may be the reason if you feel like someone is nipping you with needles and pins in the hands, fingers and arms.
Hurting in the back is another symptom telling you about a neck injury or neck muscle strain
Head and Neck Pain Diagnosis
Head and neck pain can be diagnosed through conducting the following measures:
- Identifying the pain symptoms
- Looking for family history or any previous medical condition
- Complete Medical checkup by the Pain Doctor
- X-rays, MRI and complete CT Scan
Head and Neck Pain Treatment
Head and neck pain treatment basically depends upon the gravity of the situation. Acute pain may involve temporary medications and bed rest, while chronic pain may involve a more long term plan including pain relieving therapies and exercises. If you consider treating this condition from a physical therapist, the pain treatment should include the following: The first step would be to know your entire medical history, when did the condition first appear, what makes it worse or better, what is your lifestyle etc. Next, a physical but manual exam is conducted. Therapist will judge your head and neck soreness by making you stand in certain positions and through your different body movements. If you really are suffering from discomfort, the head and neck pain treatment may include the use of hot and cold pads, massages, various exercises.
Procedures for Head and Neck Pain
These are typical procedure performed by a pain specialist for head and neck pain depending on the cause.
- Cervical Epidural Steroid Injections
- Cervical Facet Joint Injections
- Medial Branch Blocks for Cervical Facets
- Radio Frequency Ablation of Medial Branch Nerves
- Greater Occipital Nerve Blocks, Pulsed Radio Frequency
- Third Occipital Nerve Blocks, Radiofrequency of TON
- Trigger point injections
- Botox injections of trigger points
- Spenopalatine, Gasserian, Trigeminal ganglion blocks and neurolysis Occipital Nerve Peripheral Stimulation- Trial and Implant of stimulator.
- Intraarticular Temporomandibular joint injections, Botox Rx of Masseter muscles.