- Muscle pain
- Tingling sensation
- Burning pain
- Other types of abnormal sensations in the arms, hands, or fingers.
- Same symptoms as cervical radiculopathy
- Balance problems
- Coordination problems
- Loss of fine motor skills
- Bowel and bladder incontinence
Axial neck painAxial neck pain is a quite common type of neck pain. It affects around 10% of the population. However, the majority of these cases do not involve severe symptoms that limit daily activity.
SymptomsPain in the back of the neck is the primary and most common symptom. Sometimes the pain travels to the base of the skull, shoulder, or shoulder blade. Other symptoms include:
- Neck stiffness
- Localized muscle pain
Developmental Risk factorsPoor posture, lack of ergonomics, and muscle weakness increase the chances of developing axial neck pain. Risk factors for development include:
- Trauma – Auto accident, sports, personal, work injury
- Chronic neck pain
- Sleep problems
DiagnosisBased on symptoms and physical exam findings are how a diagnosis is usually achieved. A doctor will typically order an x-ray, CT, or MRI of the cervical spine. There could be severe symptoms that could indicate something more dangerous causing pain like infection, cancer, or fracture. This calls for an immediate visit to a hospital/clinic for evaluation. These symptoms include:
- Prior trauma/injury from a fall, automobile accident, sports, work injury
- Weight loss
- Night sweats
- Constant night pain
TreatmentThere is a wide range of treatment options. Surgery is rarely required except for severe cases. Returning to normal activities almost right away is one of the most important things to do to prevent the pain from becoming chronic. First-line treatments typically begin with:
- Physical therapy
- Stretching routine
- Strengthening exercises
- Anti-inflammatory medication/s
- Muscle relaxants are sometimes prescribed
- TENS – transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation
- Electromagnetic therapy
- Low-level laser therapy
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
CausesA variety of the neck’s anatomical structures can contribute to the pain. Common causes include:
- Poor posture
- Injury to muscles or ligaments
PrognosisSymptoms are usually alleviated within 4-6 weeks from when the pain started. Pain that continues beyond this should encourage a visit to a chiropractic physician.
- Keep neck muscles strong with exercise.
- Stretch the neck regularly.
- A healthy diet specifically for bone support.
- Proper sleep posture for example sleeping on the back or side with a pillow that supports the natural curve of the neck.
- If on a computer for work or a long period align the eyes with the top third of the screen.
- Avoid looking down when on the phone, reading, etc for a long time by keeping the arms supported on an armrest.
- Glasses should be pushed up on the bridge of the nose, if they slide down there is a tendency for the head to follow.
- Don’t forget to look up frequently.