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Cervical pain or neck pain: how to relieve them

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Neck pain affects 30 to 50% of the adult population . This is explained by the aging of the population, but also by the more sedentary way of life, the prolonged maintenance of sitting positions in front of computer screens.

Women are more prone to neck pain than men. Certain categories of workers are more exposed than others, for example painters or jointers who must keep their necks in a position of flexion or prolonged extension. The same applies to people working with a microscope or a computer.

Cervical pain has effects that are more or less inhibiting , depending on the case. This ranges from discomfort in the rotation of the neck (sometimes on one side more than the other), to pain in the top of the neck, in the upper back and even in the shoulders. Some feel headaches, others experience dizziness. There are even people who show feelings of numbness, even tingling in the arms or in the hands. Cervical pain is sometimes accompanied by fever and can cause sleep disturbances.

Most of the time, neck pain dissipates within a few days or weeks, unless the vertebrae in the neck are affected by a rheumatic disease called osteoarthritis, and more specifically cervical spondylosis .

Multiple origins: what are the causes of neck pain?

Neck pain, known as cervicalgia , has multiple origins:

They can occur because of a shock: it is the traumatic neck pain caused by the “neck of the rabbit” during an accident or by a fall.

Neck pain can be visceral , ie caused by an infection or other problems in the larynx-pharynx or esophagus. Severe angina can for example trigger pain in the neck.

There is also mechanical neck pain that affects the joint. This is the case of cervical osteoarthritis, for example. Osteoarthritis gradually destroys the discs that separate the cervical vertebrae. And the spinal cord, present in the vertebral column, is compressed. This causes tingling in the extremities.

And then, very often, neck pain is of postural origin . It is caused by a bad position, at home or at work. Poor postures repeated daily lead to neck pain in the long run. It is the muscles but also the joints that can be affected.

Without forgetting a new ailment that affects mobile phone users: it is the text-neck syndrome , neck pain due to bad head positions when using smartphones.

Text-Neck Syndrome and Neck Pain

Neck pain comes in many forms

If the origins of neck pain are numerous, the forms they can take are just as many:

Cervical sprain , also called “whiplash” can occur during a car accident, when the head is thrown forwards and then backwards. But it can also result from a violent impact during the practice of a sport.

Torticollis results from an involuntary muscle contraction, a form of spasm, that occurs on the side of the neck, or at the back of the neck. The head gets stuck in certain positions. Any movement of the neck becomes painful, if not impossible. Most often torticollis occurs suddenly, sometimes in a period of high stress.

Meningitis sometimes causes severe neck stiffness that can be mistaken for torticollis. But it is then accompanied by fever, vomiting and / or severe headaches which invite you to consult a doctor as soon as possible.

Cervical tension and muscle stiffness come from prolonged bad postures or repetitive movements that cause muscle contractions in the shoulders and neck. These tensions eventually become painful and can escalate into chronic illness.

Cervical osteoarthritis ( or cervicarthrosis ) is one of the forms of “rheumatism” that affects the vertebrae at the top of the column. It is more common in women who sometimes suffer from it from the age of 35, while it occurs most often only in the fifties in men. It primarily affects people who have already suffered minor neck incidents. It can cause headaches, dizziness when changing position or ringing in the ears, and even vision problems.

Cervical osteoarthritis or cervicarthrosis: discarthrosis of the spine

Prevention is better than cure: how to prevent and cure neck pain?

There are preventive measures that help avoid musculoskeletal problems in the neck. It is a series of daily gestures that can have a beneficial effect in the short and long term.

Avoid bad posture

You should never sit still for too long without changing position. Moving and correcting your attitude consciously helps to avoid neck stiffness.

You have to adapt your workstation to your size: adjust your chair and especially the height of the screen if you work on a computer. The center of the screen should be located at eye level, so that the head does not lean forward or backward.

Avoid talking too long on the phone by pinching the cell phone between the shoulder and the neck, or keeping your head down for too long, to avoid text-neck pain.

In the standing station, adopt a very straight posture by advancing the pelvis a little. The back will be less strained and the spine will keep its natural curvature.

The three simple exercises shown in this video can also be very effective in relieving neck pain and working on your posture.

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