What is Cervicalgia?

neck-1211231_960_720Cervicalgia is a term used to describe the feeling of pain and discomfort in the back and/or sides of the neck. It is more clearly defined as a clinical syndrome usually associated with limited mobility of the neck, and/or radiating pain in one or both arms accompanied by a sensation of pins and needles in fingers.

Neck pain represents symptom that causes millions of people to visit a doctor every year. Most often this neck pain is diagnosed as a cervicalgia. While diagnosing cervicalgia may not represent a problem, real struggle comes with treatment.

Causes Of Cervicalgia

There are many causes associated to cervicalgia. One developmental factor behind it is certainly gravity. As human beings stood up on two legs, our posture changed the weight of the human head (10 pounds) which is balanced by the neck. Neck muscles suffer enormous stress while keeping head straight almost entire day.

The overall resiliency of the neck is greatly impacted by its flexibility. Sudden movements can cause muscle injury that heals slowly due to a constant strain. These sudden movements are very common during an injury, especially car accidents, making it an urgent indication for seeing a doctor.

Microscopic injuries in the neck muscles during sports activity or accidents often result in tightness and swelling of the muscles. Muscles most often affected are trapezius muscle (covering the back of your neck, shoulders and thorax) or the levator scapulae muscle (covering the back and side of your neck). These tears, with appropriate rest,  heal on their own. Otherwise, it can get worse.

In stressful situations, many people unconsciously clench neck and shoulder muscles. Over the time, this leads to exhausted, overworked muscles.

Ergonomically proper setup at a workplace is extremely important in the age where people spend most of their work time sitting in front of a computer. Posture and the chair people sit in are very important in preventing the neck pain.

Cervical posture syndrome, kyphosis, affects athletes as much as cyclists, baseball catchers, and bodybuilders. Their posture is typical, they stand with their shoulders rounded forward, their chin’s poking forward while their shoulder blades poke out away from their spines. This condition is caused either by a repetitive movement that promotes this posture, as in the case of cyclists and catchers or by an uneven bodybuilding regimen that makes chest muscles stronger than back muscles, pulling the body forward.

Tigh neck muscles  prohibit necessary blood circulation, leading to muscle lacking on nutrients which further makes them weak and tight. Kyphosis, poor ergonomics in the workplace, scoliosis, and bad posture can all lead to this condition.  Poor or incomplete stretching after training sessions can be a factor as well.

Symptoms Of Cervicalgia

Pain in cervicalgia is typically centralized and localized to a specific area, it rarely radiates outward. The range of pain felt is pretty weird. Some describe it as a stiff neck while at the others it is so severe they are unable to move their neck due to a heavy pain of the tight muscle. Some refer to it as a “crick in the neck”.

Sharp pain in the neck during a sudden movement is often described. Naturally, the pain dissipates during relaxation. It may not return on a regular basis, but it may occur every time individual turn or band neck.

Muscle stiffness could be something person complains about, instead of pain. In severe cases, the neck can be hypersensitive so the pain appears even on the most sensitive touch.

Symptoms above all conform to the profile of classic cervicalgia. Other symptoms that may occur include a headache, burning and aching sensation in the neck and upper back as well as neck stiffness.

Cervicalgia Treatment

Different procedures of treatment are applied depending on suspected cause and present symptoms.

Prevention of cervicalgia is crucial, especially when spending a lot of time sitting at work or at home. The chair should support lower back, feet should rest flat on the floor, with the knees bent at a right angle. Armrest should be properly adjusted so that elbows and forearms rest on it. Forearms should rest on the desktop if the keyboard is on top of the desk. If the desk is too high, the footrest may be needed in order to sit comfortably and safely.

When the neck pain is caused by a stress, a person can take measures at home to ease it. The over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drug, such as Ibuprofen, can help reduce the swelling, additionally leading to muscle. This all result in pain releasing.

If injuries happened, a person should apply ice and  see a doctor immediately. Painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs could be prescribed initially. Sometimes temporary cervical collar will be indicated in order to support person’s head . This collar helps neck muscles in resting and healing.

Stretching and massage can helo people with kyphosis to relax the muscles in the neck and upper chest. Strengthening the upper back muscles can help re-balance the body. The pain caused by kyphosis typically get worse when a person stands or sit in the same position for a long time, which is why the movement is very important.

If you have any information regardless symptoms or treatment of cervicalgia, please feel  free to share in the comments below!