Neck pain, otherwise known as cervical pain, is one of the commonest presenting medical conditions in daily practice. The neck has multiple functions, and one of the functions of the neck is to hold the head while static or in motion. The neck is one of the crucial parts of the body as a network of several blood vessels, nerves, joints, and muscles traverse it. It includes bones, ligaments, muscles, and the intervertebral disk. So any injury, inflammation, or disease associated with these structures can cause pain in the neck.
Most people feel neck pain occasionally as stiffness or numbness. Only individuals who have severe pain in the neck for long-duration reach a physician to seek medical assistance. And most of the time, neck pain will be associated with the postural defect.
What Are the Common Causes of Neck Pain?
Muscle strain due to postural defect or long duration of work without changing the posture.
Trauma, fall, or road accidents are also known as whiplash injury (injury due to severe and abrupt jerk to the head).
Degenerative diseases like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
What Symptoms Does Neck Pain Cause?
Neck pain usually will be presented as stiffness or dull pain, which mainly gets worse with movements, prolonged and continued work, and soon after waking up in the morning. Such neck pain may be associated with a dull headache, shoulder pain, dizziness, and sometimes radiating to the upper arm as numbness and loss of strength. Neck pain can limit the range of motion of the neck such that affected people find it hard to touch their chest with their chin.
Neck pain due to nerve problems presents with sharp, intense pain, tingling sensation, and radiating towards the shoulder or arm.
Even a heart attack can cause radiating pain in the neck on the left side.
How Is Neck Pain Diagnosed?
In order to diagnose the cause of neck pain, the standard tests done include blood examination, X-ray, CT (computed tomography) scan, and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).
Based on the extent of days the neck pain persists, it can be classified as,
Acute neck pain (lasts less than four weeks).
Subacute neck pain (lasts for 4 to 12 weeks).
Chronic neck pain (persists for more than three months).
How to Get Rid of Neck Pain?
General Management of Neck Pain:
The following are the general measures to manage neck pain.
Avoid working in the same posture for an extended duration. Try taking a break for at least 10 minutes in between the work.
To prevent or avoid the worsening of existing neck pain, pay attention to your sleeping position and correct the position of sleep. Avoid very thick and high pillows. Use a pillow that supports your head and shoulder such that both lie in the same plane. You can also use cervical pillows with your doctor's consent, and pillows should not be too hard or soft.
One can do yogic practices like Bhujangasana, Tadasana, Makarasana, Katichakrasana, etc., under the supervision of a yoga trainer.
Also, the person can follow simple exercises like rotating the head once clockwise and then anti-clockwise, placing a hand on the shoulder, then rotating, etc.
Ice or heat therapy will help. Also, strictly should avoid heavy lifting.
What Homeopathic Treatments Help Treat Neck Pain?
Apart from allopathy, neck pain can be easily managed through homeopathy with lifestyle modification and yoga practices. Homeopathy approaches neck pain through individualization, meaning it considers all factors like lifestyle, causation, symptoms, and the worsening and relieving component of the disease.
Every patient needs different homeopathic medicine. But still, a few common medications are frequently used like Conium, Kalmia, Lachesis, Belladonna, Gelsemium, Silicea, Calc Phos (Calcarea phosphorica), Paris Quadrifolia, Hypericum, Causticum, etc., under the strict indications of disease and prescription by the homeopathic physician. Never use these medicines as self-medication.
1. Gelsemium - For neck pain due to sprain, soreness, and headache, Gelsemium is used. It is prepared from a plant called yellow jasmine. Its bark is being used for the preparation.
2. Rhus Tox - This is one of the effective homeopathic remedies to treat neck pain due to overuse of neck muscles, neck muscle strain, prolonged and repetitive stress on the neck, whiplash injury, and carrying heavy weights inappropriately over the shoulders. Rhus Tox relieves neck pain in those people whose neck pain worsens with rest and improves with movement.
3. Causticum - For stiff neck muscles and neck spasms, Causticum is preferred.
4. Chelidonium - For neck pain that radiates to one arm and shoulder with heaviness in the affected hand, Chelidonium is suggested.
5. Guaiacum - This homeopathic formulation is indicated for people with a stiff neck that affects a large part of the neck, including both sides of the neck, head, and from the nape of the neck to the shoulders extending till the lower back.
6. Bryonia Alba - For neck pain due to cervical spondylosis, Bryonia is used, and this medicine is prepared from a plant called wild hops. It is prepared from the tincture of roots of this plant and belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family.
7. Cimicifuga Racemosa - For electric shock-like neck pain that radiates to one arm, Cimicifuga is prescribed. It is prepared from a plant called black cohosh. Its root is used for the preparation. Cimicifuga is indicated in those people whose neck pain worsens with movements, the neck feels contracted, and skin over the neck is sore.
8. Hypericum - This homeopathic medicine for neck pain best treats neck stiffness due to whiplash injury. It is prepared from a plant called St. John's Wort. People with neck pain extending to the arms and feeling intense neck pain with neck or arm movements can get benefitted from Hypericum.
9. Lachnanthes - This medicine is said to be effective in treating wry neck or torticollis where the head is positioned to one side. It is obtained from a plant called spirit weed. It also treats stiff neck and is indicated in people with neck pain that intensifies when the head is moved backward.
Ignoring neck pain while they are minimal might worsen the condition if caused due to underlying conditions such as cervical spondylitis, spondylosis, fracture, etc. They might result in a reduced range of motion of the neck and hand. Consistently practicing correct postures and exercises helps prevent neck pain.