FAQs on Neck Pain

Posted by : Dr. Abhay Nene, 20 Mar 2013 10:58 AM
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1. Who gets postural neck pain?

-Persons who are involved in jobs needing prolonged sittingpostures, especially looking into a laptop screen, bending over papers ordriving, are most likely to suffer from poor posture related neck pains.

2. Are all neck pains 'muscular'?

-Muscle spasm is usually a manifestation of an underlyinginjury and not the problem itself.

3. What are the 'red flags' for neck pain?

-Any pain travelling down the arm, and tingling / pins andneedles / numbness in the hand, and any neck pain not responding to routinetreatment over a week should be shown to a specialist.


4. Can I free my neck with 'release maneuvers' when I have aneck spasm?

-No, the neck spasm is usually a protective reaction of thebody to keep nerve compression at bay, and any release maneuvers usually worsenthe problem.


5. What sort of a pillow should I use?

-If sleeping on the back- a thin / soft pillow and if on thesides- a tall pillow that fills up the space between the head and the bedshould be used, so that the head does not tilt.


6. Acute neck spasm! Hot packs or ice?

-Unlike most areas, in acute neck spasm, hot packs help best.


7. My X-ray shows 'cervical spondylosis'. Should I beworried?

-Cervical spondylosis is wear and tear of the discs, jointsand bones of the neck and need not always be symptomatic. X-rays of mostpatients after 45 would report 'cervical spondylosis' and is not a worrisomefinding if not accompanied by neck pain / red flags.


8. Should I do physiotherapy or take traction in acute pain?

-Both exercises and traction or manipulation should beavoided at the height of pain. While traction has no scientific role intreatment, exercises remain the cornerstone of treatment once acute pain isover.


9. Should I wear a collar in acute pain?

-Yes, if comfortable. However, at times a collar can worsenpain because it is oversized, so wear only if comfortable one.


10. Do I need to undergo an X-ray or MRI?

-Xray is a cursory investigation that shows bone changeswhich are usually unrelated to acute pain (unless in accidents). MRI shows theexact cause of acute pain, but is expensive and need not be done when pain isof a few days duration and there are no red flags.

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