How To Tell If Your Neck Pain Is Serious
Should you be worried about that nagging neck pain that’s been bothering you for the previous couple of days? If you wait until it goes away or do you call a doctor and/or chiropractor?
It Could Be A Muscle Strain
Did you lift something heavy recently? Or maybe you slept wrong on your neck last night? If that’s the case, your neck muscles may have been hyperextended (you stretched them past normal range), which may be causing stiffness. Muscle strains on your neck usually are not severe, but that isn’t always true. Watch your symptoms over the next few days.Â If they get worse, call your doctor or chiropractor.
It Could Be Whiplash
Whiplash can cause acute neck pain, which means your pain and soreness lasts a few days or weeks. It usually goes away by itself. If you notice that your pain is getting worse or develop other symptoms, i.e. weakness, numbness, and tingling, call your doctor right away.If you have been in an auto accident, it’s important to get checked out. Sometimes ligaments can stretch and lead to spine problems.
It Could Be Poor Posture
If you’re sitting hunched over a desk all day, tight neck muscles may be causing your neck pain. Chronically tense muscles never get a break, so work with a chiropractor, physical therapist or personal trainer who will teach you easy neck exercises in addition to how to keep good posture. Also, take frequent stretch breaks throughout the afternoon, and elevate your monitor so you don’t need to hunch over it.
It Could Be A Herniated Or Bulging Disc
For those who have neck pain that does not go away even with rest, it might be a herniated or bulging disc. This usually means an intervertebral disc in your cervical spine (neck) may be pressing on a nerve, which could be causing pain. Or it may lead to pain down your arm and into your hand. Let your physician or chiropractor know if you experience these symptoms.
When To Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor immediately if your neck pain becomes worse and you develop other symptoms, including tingling, weakness, dizziness, or loss of bowel or bladder control. It’s far better to be safe when it comes to your neck health. The bottom line is that you never really know whether that neck pain is severe or not, so don’t be afraid to talk about your health.
The information herein on "Serious Neck Pain Or Not?" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
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