Do you know that nagging pain in your neck? The one you keep telling yourself you’ll get around to treating someday? We all know that neck pain is no fun. It can keep you from enjoying activities you love, and make everyday tasks a challenge. But what happens to neck pain when left untreated? Doesn’t it just go away on its own? Unfortunately, left untreated, neck pain can become a big problem.
In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the consequences of not treating neck pain, and how to get relief from the discomfort.
Why Our Necks Are So Important
Before we get into the effects of untreated neck pain, let’s take a quick look at why our necks are so important. The neck is made up of bones, muscles, and other tissues that support the head and allow us to move it from side to side and up and down. The neck also houses the spinal cord, which carries messages between the brain and the rest of the body.
The neck muscles provide support and structure to our heads and connect the cervical spinal cord to our brains. It provides a home for essential blood vessels to circulate throughout our body.
What Causes Neck Pain?
Neck pain is a common problem that can be caused by many things, including bad posture, poor sleeping habits, and injuries. The neck muscles are very delicate, and a minor injury or sprain can lead to lasting effects.
When neck pain is left untreated, it can lead to more serious problems, such as headaches, pinched nerves, and even degenerative disc disease. Other common causes of neck pain include:
– Poor posture
– Sleeping in an awkward position
– Straining your neck during activity
– Wearing a heavy backpack or carrying a heavy purse
– An injury or accident (i.e. car accident)
– Mental Stress
– Poor ergonomics at work
How Does Neck Pain Get Worse?
If you suffer from neck pain, you’re not alone. In fact, neck pain is one of the most common complaints people have. It’s not surprising, considering how much we use our necks every day.
From checking our phones to driving in traffic, our necks are constantly in motion. This constant use and repetitive motion can lead to muscle strain and other problems.
Temporary neck pain, like pain on the left side, can point to other issues like fatigue, improper sleeping, or irritating daily activities.
Neck pain can also be caused by age-related changes in the spine, such as degenerative disc disease or herniated discs. These problems can get worse over time if they’re not treated, leading to more pain and disability.
Even simple things like bad posture can cause can be a culprit. When you sit or stand with your head tilted forward, it puts extra strain on the muscles and ligaments in your neck. Over time, this can lead to pain and neck stiffness.
Sometimes this pain is caused by things that aren’t part of everyday life, for example, a car accident. One of the most common injuries in a car accident is whiplash. It can be identified as neck pain accompanied by stiffness, swelling, and reduced range of motion. Untreated whiplash can lead to chronic pain. To learn more about car accident injuries, like a whiplash injury – check out this blog.
Left untreated, pain in your neck can have a major impact on your quality of life. It can make it hard to work, play sports, and even sleep. The pain can also lead to headaches, depression, and anxiety.
If you’re suffering from chronic pain, don’t wait to get treatment. There are many effective treatments available that can help relieve your pain and improve your quality of life.
What Happens to Neck Pain When Left Untreated?
Neck pain can also cause you to miss work or school, and it can make it difficult to participate in activities you love. Here are some of the consequences of leaving neck pain untreated:
Neck Pain Can Become Chronic
Chronic neck pain is defined as pain in your neck that lasts for more than three months. If you suffer from chronic pain, you may experience symptoms such as stiffness, aching, and difficulty moving your head. Chronic neck pain can make it difficult to work, drive, and even take care of your basic needs.
Neck Pain Can Lead to Headaches or Migraines
If you suffer from neck pain, you may also experience headaches. In fact, neck pain is one of the most common causes of headaches. Headaches caused by neck pain are often called tension headaches or cervicogenic headaches. These headaches can be mild, moderate, or severe, and they can make it difficult to concentrate, work, or even enjoy your free time.
Neck Pain Can Lead to Depression or Anxiety
The pain of neck pain can also lead to depression and anxiety. When you’re in pain, it’s hard to focus on anything else. This can make it difficult to enjoy your life and can lead to feelings of hopelessness.
Additionally, mental stress makes your neck muscles tighten and this can lead to additional pain and stiffness. There are many effective treatments available that can help improve your quality of life.
Neck Pain Can Worsen Arthritis
If you have arthritis, pain in your neck can make it worse. The pain can make it difficult to move your neck, which can lead to more stiffness and pain. In addition, the inflammation from arthritis can damage the cartilage in your neck, leading to more pain and disability. If you have arthritis and neck pain, it’s important to get treatment to help relieve your pain and improve your quality of life.
Neck Pain Can Lead to Pinched Nerves
A pinched nerve occurs when there is pressure on a nerve, which can cause pain, numbness, or tingling. Pinched nerves can be caused by things like herniated discs, bone spurs, and poor posture. If you suffer from a pinched nerve, you may experience symptoms such as pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness. Pinched nerves can make it difficult to work, drive, or even sleep.
Neck Pain Can Lead to Degenerative Disc Disease
Degenerative disc disease is a condition that occurs when the discs in your spine begin to break down. This can cause pain, stiffness, and difficulty moving. Degenerative disc disease can make it difficult to work, drive, or even take care of your basic needs.
Neck Pain Can Make it Difficult to Participate in Activities You Love
If you suffer from neck pain, you may find it difficult to participate in activities you love. This is because neck pain can cause stiffness, aching, and difficulty moving your head.
Don’t wait to get treatment. Contact a qualified healthcare professional today to discuss your treatment options.
Treatments For Neck Pain
There are many ways to treat this pain at home, including stretching exercises, over-the-counter medication, and hot or cold packs. If the pain in your neck is severe, you may need to see a doctor or other healthcare provider for treatment. Here are some of the most common treatments you can do at home for neck pain:
One of the best things you can do for neck pain is to stretch the muscles in your neck and shoulders. Stretching exercises can help to improve range of motion, increase flexibility, and reduce pain.
Over-the-counter medication can help to relieve pain and inflammation. Common over-the-counter medications for neck pain include ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen.
If you are experiencing severe neck pain, a doctor might prescribe muscle relaxants or prescription pain medication to provide relief.
Hot or Cold Packs
Applying hot or cold packs to your neck can help to reduce pain and inflammation. Hot packs can be applied for up to 20 minutes at a time to relax the muscles, and cold packs can be applied for up to 30 minutes at a time to reduce inflammation. Hot or cold packs should never be applied directly to your skin.
Resting your neck and shoulders can help to reduce pain and inflammation. Try to avoid activities that aggravate your neck pain, and take breaks often if you must participate in these activities.
Massage can help to relax the muscles in your neck and shoulders, which can reduce pain. Massage can also improve range of motion and flexibility.
Wearing a Neck Brace or Collar
Wearing a neck brace or collar can help to immobilize the spine and reduce pain. Neck braces and collars are usually only worn for a short period of time, until the pain has subsided.
When It’s Time To See a Doctor
If your neck pain does not improve with home treatment, or if it’s severe, you should see a doctor or other healthcare provider. They can help figure out the cause of your neck pain and recommend more specific treatment. Treatment for neck pain may include:
Chiropractic adjustments can help to improve your range of motion and reduce pain. Chiropractors use a variety of techniques to adjust the spine, including manual adjustments, instrument-assisted adjustments, and soft tissue manipulation.
Physical therapy can help to improve range of motion, increase flexibility, and reduce pain. Physical therapists use a variety of techniques, including stretching exercises, massage, heat and cold therapy, and electrical stimulation.
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves inserting thin needles into the skin to stimulate the body’s natural healing process. Acupuncture can help to reduce pain, improve range of motion, and increase flexibility.
In some cases, surgery may be necessary to treat chronic pain. Surgery is usually only recommended for severe cases of neck pain that have not responded to other treatment options.
It’s important to seek treatment for your neck as soon as possible to avoid further problems. If you don’t know the cause of your pain, a healthcare provider can help diagnose the problem and recommend treatment.
Talk to Thrive! Wellness Center Today
At Thrive! Wellness Center, we treat the patient, not just the symptoms. If you are experiencing pain in your neck, don’t wait to seek treatment. The longer you wait, the worse the pain may become.
For more information call (727) 381-3456 or by contacting us here