Many people suffer from neck pain, with the severity ranging from mild to debilitating. Sometimes you can be in a lot of pain from having slept wrong or from using the wrong pillow, but often the pain is just a sign that there is another more serious problem. It is important to get an evaluation if you are experiencing neck pain, especially if you have recently been in an auto accident.
Signs and Symptoms of Severe Neck Pain
Neck pain is often tied to and associated with other problems. Headaches, often called tension headaches, can be a result of muscle tension. The muscles at the base of the skull can turn into knots, and can be caused by poor posture, stress, or other physical factors. Dealing with the neck problems can help alleviate your headaches.
Pain around your neck may get worse if you have to hold your head in one place for a long time, which can make driving and working difficult when you’re stuck in the same seated position for long periods of time. You may be also experience decreased mobility of your head and neck if you suffer from continued stiffness and neck pain. When you feel too stiff to move, you may find yourself turning your entire body around to look behind you, instead of simply turning your head. This can make it difficult to drive and keep track of all the areas you need to see.
You might find yourself avoiding activities you enjoy because you are simply too uncomfortable to enjoy yourself in a social situation. Standing around at a party or other social gathering starts to feel like work instead of fun.
What Causes Neck Pain?
The most common causes of neck pain are injuries, muscle strains, and diseases like arthritis. Any injury involving a fall or jolting movement can lead to neck pain, including sports injuries and auto accidents. Neck pain from muscle strains are most often caused by reading in one position too long or having poor posture—both of which may happen during the many hours you sit at your desk and stare at your computer for work.
Whiplash & Neck Pain After Car Accidents
Whiplash is one of the most common conditions treated by neck injury doctors. It is a neck strain caused by a sudden force, and is often associated with being rear-ended in an auto accident. That being said, even professional athletes may find themselves victims of whiplash.
Someone with whiplash will probably have a variety of symptoms, including:
- Neck pain and stiffness, accompanied by limited motion
- Pain when moving their head, especially side to side
- Tenderness around their neck and bottom of their head
- Headaches that feel like they start at the base of the skull, and spread out and upward towards their forehead
Many people don’t realize they have whiplash because they do not feel the symptoms immediately. Several days may pass after an accident before the victim starts feeling pain or discomfort in their neck. That is why it is best to consult a neck injury doctor quickly, so you can try to minimize pain before it starts and take advantage of your PIP insurance.
Treatment for Neck Pain
Especially in the beginning, you may try to treat your symptoms on your own. Ice is a simple way to reduce swelling and minimize pain, but you should not use it for more than 2 or 3 days. Moist heat after using ice for a few days may provide additional comfort. If you have tried ice and heat for several days and are still in pain, it may be time for a neck evaluation from an experienced chiropractor.
Painkillers, especially anti-inflammatory drugs, can also help with temporary relief from pain and swelling. However, these should be taken in moderation and are not the right option for everyone. Prolonged reliability on painkillers for neck pain is a sign that you should seek medical treatment for an underlying issue.
Depending on your situation, your doctor may recommend a neck brace for support. Chiropractic neck adjustments, or cervical manipulation, can give you the relief you need by loosening up the joints around the neck vertebrae. Especially for neck pain after a car accident, bringing the neck back into alignment can provide quick and lasting pain relief.
When to See a Neck Injury Doctor
It doesn’t make sense to call a doctor for every little ache and pain, but many people hesitate to ask for help until they have suffered far longer than they should. You won’t just feel better if you get help for your neck pain; you will be a better employee and more loving family member when you find the relief you need.
If you have severe neck pain that lasts for several days without getting better, or if the pain seems to be spreading up and down your arms and/or legs, consult a neck injury doctor as soon as possible. You should especially seek help right away if you are experiencing numbness or loss of strength in your arms, or if you have shooting pain in your should or going up and down your arm. You should also seek help if you notice anything unusual, like if you get a headache when bending over.
A neck injury doctor can help you figure out why your are having trouble, and put you on a course of treatment that will get you back to normal. If you’re experiencing neck pain after an auto accident, it’s important to seek medical treatment within 14 days of your accident so your treatment can be covered by your PIP insurance. Schedule an appointment with a compassionate and professional neck injury doctor who can treat your pain and injuries today.